Condescending bilingual signs

Not that this issue has been in the news lately, but in the area I work, many signs and forms are written in both English and Spanish.  I am not necessarily advocating for English as the official language here, although I would like to see it.

It seems that politicians have unwittingly insulted people whose primary language is Spanish.  Why are both languages available on forms and signs?  Presumably to aid Spanish speakers in an effort to make getting around a bit easier.  But this assumes that Spanish speakers could not figure out or learn English well enough to get what they need.  “We’ll write this is Spanish for you because we’re not sure you could figure any of this out on your own”.

Of course, continuing bilingual signs and forms perpetuates the lack of language assimilation.  Which further perpetuates the disdain among those whom it bothers that Spanish-only speaking people do not learn English.  Which will further stigmatize Spanish-only speaking immigrants — legal or illegal.

Unfortunately, bigots will be bigots.  But creating a system which fosters non-assimilation only serves to perpetuate the problems.  Why not do a service for everyone.  By converting to English-only, it encourages assimilation and removes one more thing for bigots to complain about.

Any Thoughts?

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