By Taylor Boulia, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Image credit: http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2015/02/20/white-house-announces-president-obama-will-seek-emergency-court-order-to-restart-immigration-usurpation
Diversity is a term many of us have been taught at a young age, however we might not have fully understood it at the time. We would look around our classrooms and see that not every one looked like us, dressed like us, talked like us and we learned that those differences were normal and were okay. As we grew older we learned to accept and value those differences between ourselves and the people around us.
Community Psychologists have a huge respect for diversity in this country. They accept and understand as well as value the differences that are apparent between members of a community. Those differences can be many things such as gender, culture, socio- economicstatus and even language (Scott& Wolfe, 2015). They have been teaching the concepts of respecting diversity to many around them and are helping communities to become more aware of diversity and are helping those communities celebrate those diversities.
However with the spreading of diversity it seems as though in one area it has been lacking; the celebration of the different languages that are spoken in the United States. There has been more than one push for The United States to set the official language as English (Miller, 2015). The push for setting an official language seems to contradict all that is being taught about celebrating diversity. If we were celebrating diversity within the country why would we be pushing for a change that would leave out many communities of this country that do not speak English or do not celebrate English as their fluent language?
Maybe those who have been in favor of the push were sick of hearing “press one for English, press two for Spanish, et cetera…” or maybe it is those who are jumping on Donald Trump’s band wagon on immigration or just wanted the number of U.S. citizens who speak English at home to be 100% rather than the 79% that was recorded in a 2011 census (Miller, 2015). The candidate running for president, Trump, has very narrow views on language in the US, even calling out Florida Governor Jeb Bush when Bush insulted Trump in Spanish. Trump said “He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States” (Tani, 2015).
From growing as a child to seeing differences between myself and those around me to an educated student who is accepting and celebrates those differences, the words spoken by Trump and the push to set the official language of the United States to English would be a step back in time. I believe as a community and as a country we are growing everyday by giving out the respect that is needed. By setting an official language of the United States it would be as though we are taking away respect and acceptance of diversity of those around us. I for one do not support the push for a set language and rather I support the continuation of respect and celebration of everyone around me.
Taylor Boulia is a graduate student in the Community Social Psychology program at the University of Massachusetts.
Miller, E.C. (2015). A push for English to be the official language of the US has both a dark history and a regressive vision for the future. Retrieved from http://aeon.co/magazine/ society/does-america-need-to-make-english-its-official language/
Scott, V.C. & Wolfe, S.M. (2015). Community Psychology: Foundations for Practice. (pp. 47). Thousand Oaks,CA: Sage.
Tani, M. (2015).Donald Trump: Jeb Bush should be ‘speaking English while in the United
States’. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-jeb-bush-speak- english-2015-9#ixzz3l6DFeU3u