As I’ve mentioned several times before on this here back porch of mine, there are few topics that can compare with multi-language societies. This one guarantees a rant of epic proportions, every single time.
You see, nothing divides a society more quickly than being unable to communicate with each other. It’s cute when you’re a tourist; it’s hell when you’re at home and are forced to deal with someone who can’t (or won’t) speak your language.
Trust me: I know whereof I speak, having grown up in a nominally-bilingual country where speakers of either language hated or despised the others, all set in a multilingual society of no fewer than six other languages (English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Sotho, Ndebele, Xhosa, Venda, Tsonga, Tswana, Swazi). And then let’s add Portuguese, Greek and Italian, with a few others such as Hindi and related Indian languages.
And everyone hated everyone else, most often because they simply couldn’t communicate with each other. The Black tribes were remarkably multilingual, in that each tribe had at least a passing / conversational knowledge of about four other African languages, and of necessity most spoke English. (Understandably enough, they refused to speak Afrikaans because they — rightly — regarded the Dutch derivative as the language of the Oppressor.) As for the Whites… well, they were mostly hopeless. (My father, born an Afrikaner, was way out of the norm because he spoke English, German, Zulu and Sotho fluently. Most Afrikaners spoke English begrudgingly and badly, and hardly any other than farmers spoke an African language. This was also true of most English-speaking South Africans, who likewise spoke Afrikaans begrudgingly and badly, and no Black languages.)
I won’t even go near the topic of Yiddish and the Jews.
So you can imagine my response when I came across this priceless little piece of fuckery:
The Denver school district is among the first in the country to adopt a “language justice” policy as a “long term goal.”
The district would encourage non-English speaking students to be able to use their native language to learn as opposed to being educated in English, which advocates say is oppressive and rooted in racism.
Denver schools had about 90,250 students in 2022 with 35,000 multilingual learners with home languages other than English. The district has 200 languages spoken across the district, with Spanish as the home language for the majority of those.
The district included a draft of an equity document that includes a policy statement on “language justice.” It was included in the Nov. 16 school board agenda. The document includes this definition for “language justice”: “The notion of respecting every individual’s fundamental language rights – to be able to communicate, understand, and be understood in the language in which they prefer and feel most articulate and powerful.”
This is not going to end well. As with all idiotic nonsense of this type, it starts off with the noblest of intentions (albeit wrong-headed), but the end result is going to be a population of alienated people refusing to speak to each other in anything but their home language. And hating each other in consequence.
You heard it here first.