Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ohio Daily Blog

The English-only bill now before the General Assembly is pointless with respect to it's stated goal and pernicious as to Ohio's economy and reputation.

Purportedly intended to encourage the use of English language, the bill accomplishes nothing of significance on that front. It requires the use of English in certain official proceedings, but such proceedings are already conducted in English. It is like passing a statute that requires the serving of hot dogs at baseball stadiums - what is the need for such a law?

What the bill is truly about is expressing hostility to immigrants. It is a piece of red meat tossed by conservative legislators to xenophobic Ohioans. And because of this political message, the bill is harmful to Ohio's economy.

The fact is, Ohio needs immigrants. We are a state from which the work force is fleeing. Ohio should do everything possible to be a welcoming home to people who speak other languages. Experience shows that those persons will endeavor to improve their English language skills without the incentive of English-only statutes. When we pass such laws, which convey a provincial, hostile attitude toward people for whom English is not a first language, we harm only ourselves.

Ohio already suffers from a bad reputation as a provincial backwater, which is directly at odds with Ohio's goal of becoming a vibrant part of the global marketplace. Let's send a signal that Ohio understands the multi-lingual nature of the modern global community by rejecting this needless, harmful measure spurred by fear and ignorance.

Original post is here.

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