The Devil of Multi-culti — a blast from the past post from Jan 24 2008

I will continue my series on writing later, but today I came down with some nasty bug which I think I’ve actually been “hatching” for about a week, thereby accounting for my total lack of concentration while working and how long this book is taking to get ready.

Anyway — being dehydrated and not wanting to spend more time outside the house than needed, when I went to pick up Number One Son, I swung by the grocery store. Bananas, three things of diet coke and a can of shoe polish…

I go to the express lane and while we’re going through, the cashier out of the blue asks Robert, “Do you speak your mother’s language?”

Now I think I have told you people how my son feels about this sort of thing. And how I feel too. So he said “Yes.”

At which point she compounds the offense by saying “Good,” in that self-satisfied lecturing way…

And then, verily, brothers and sisters, the devil got into me. You could more easily prevent a river from flowing downhill than prevent what happened.

I said, cheerfully, “As you see, he speaks English passably.”

At which point this woman failed to take the hint… and jumped in with “No, no, you have an accent.”

(Really? Astound me.  This is the equivalent of someone telling me — and people do — “you’re overweight.”  I always want to go “Oh no.  How did that happen?”.)

And, then, brothers and sisters, the devil being at its worst, I drew myself up in terrible offense and said sneeringly “That is NOT an accent. I have mid range hearing loss.”  (which is actually true and responsible for part of the “accent”)

Let me qualify it right here…

If she had said “Do you speak your mother’s native language?” I’d have answered truthfully. “No, we thought to teach it to him, and actually started, but I was the only one speaking Portuguese around him and he just tuned it out. I guess he thought I was babbling. Also, speaking Portuguese too much interferes with my English fluency. I thought he’d pick it up as an adult, but it turns out he has the ability of your average hen for any foreign language.”

It would still be none of her business and it would be still rude as hell of her to stick her nose in it, or to pass approval/disapproval judgements on how I raise my kids. HOWEVER I’m ill, and I’d have let it go.

BUT that “Your mother’s language” put the devil in me. I cannot and will not abet any belief that language or culture are established at birth. MUCH less will I abide the idea they are transmitted — or should be transmitted — immutably to our kids. If that were true, then we’d all still be Greeks, Etruscans, Babylonians, or perhaps whatever flavor of cavemen our ancestors were. No WONDER these people have so many issues with the idea of encouraging immigrants to assimilate.

So, let me shout my philosophy from the rooftops — human beings are free. They’re free to speak what language they wish to as their “main” language. They’re free to pass it on to their kids or not. They’re free to reinvent themselves and leave one culture for another.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This means ALL men were created equal and they’re not born with genetic culture attached to them. And they will not be deprived of the liberty of learning new languages, nor yet of not passing the old ones to their kids. Oh, yeah, and if they so choose, they will pick a culture that makes them happy.

And anyone believing otherwise will put the devil in me. Which self-evidently no sane person should want to do.

158 thoughts on “The Devil of Multi-culti — a blast from the past post from Jan 24 2008

      1. An interesting inverse of this conundrum is seen when a native English speaker goes to live and raise children in another country. Do you speak flawed Hebrew/Turkish/… at home to your children — or do you speak with them your mother tongue which also happens to be the international *lingua franca* of science, technology, and commerce? They will have to master it anyhow if they are to get anywhere in life, so they may as well get a head start at home….

  1. Keep it up, Sarah, whether new or blast from past, you are feeding excellent fodder for my discussions in my “intercultural and international communications” class. How Fortuitous.

  2. So I’m in the hospital one day and a nursing student says to me “where yo fom?” .”Detroit.” “No really fom.?” (Me being polite since I’m at work.) “Taiwan originally.” “Oh., Cuz you speak English real good.” (Me only in my head since I don’t have time to fight the administrators that day.) “Better than you,honey.”

    1. I worked with a guy at the airport who was obviously from Africa somewhere that spoke French, but he would only ever admit to being from France having lived for a time near Paris. Once when he replied that to someone I asked him “Where’d your conehead go?” He grinned.

      I also used to go the a store where when asked, the proprietors would answer Canada. They immigrated from Syria then to the USA. but they had Syrian money under the glass counter protector, but I think their being christian threw folks, and it was N.O. so the locals didn’t have enough education to suss out the time of day, let alone clues left all over the place

      1. We’ve got a family here that are from Lebanon originally. They speak better english than I do. Not sure what their background or religion is I just like eating at their restaurants (which serve Kosher/Halal meals upon request, so that doesn’t narrow it down at all). I just go there for the excellent food, couldn’t care less about anything else as long as they are open when I arrive (plus it seems rather rude).

    2. I dunno, I get a lottle annoyed at this one forum I’m on that has a lot of Asians of a left-leaning sort. They always bitch about the “Where are you from?” question, and trade their smart-ass answers, but then turn around and bitch about their cultures not being respected.

      They need a slogan “Azn Pride! Proud of our culture, just don’t as us about it.”

      1. I don’t bitch about my culture not being respected… Well, I do. Usaian culture needs more credit.
        I don’t even mind being asked where I’m from. I MIND the implication that culture is inherited.

        1. ‘What do they know of genre fiction?’

          ‘I read Bob.’ (Heinlein)

          ‘He read Bob.’ (Howard)

          ‘He read Ed.’ (Poe)

      2. If Leftism is merely a Marxism derivative, and Marxism a heresy of Christianity, it could be argued that they are in fact appropriating the culture they claim as their own.

      1. I seem to recall that Shaw was big into Spelling Reform, one of the odder intellectual passions of his era. I understand the impulse (I can’t spell for beans), but doubt it would be good in practice.

          1. It would give the academics a leash on the English language, and its great strength is that it’s a mongrel.

            Every time I run into some hannger worrying about the number of hispanics in the country, and how supposedly Spanish is taking over, I have to laugh. Spanish has a vocabulary of, what, 80,000 words? The last OED i knew about 450,000 entries. English will swallowSpanish whole, belch, and move on.

            1. English was doing that– the kids went to school, were taught English, imported the the useful words from their home-language, and were able to be successful. I know because a notable number of the folks that are my folks’ contemporaries went this route– you can’t tell the ones with immigrant parents from anybody else, barring stuff like “they smashed their hand bad enough to let out some curses.”

              So, about thirty years ago, the “English as a second language” education came in– which means you grab all the kids who you think might speak any flavor of Spanish, put them in a room with books that have a flavor of Spanish their parents almost assuredly didn’t speak, a teacher that was probably taught classical Spanish, refuse to teach them anything in English, and then act shocked when they graduate and are largely incoherent in both languages. (It’s even worse if they went to a school big enough to have multiple Spanish language instructors– my high school’s Spanish teachers had a nasty screaming fight over grammar, because the lady learned… I want to say Argentinean, and he had Spain? Or maybe Argentina was the only south American country that shared the grammar thing with Spain….)

              Your reaction would be right, if there wasn’t some major, ah, market interference going on.

              1. A lot of US schools (and Spanish-speaking countries) no longer teach the vosotros (2nd person plural) pronouns and verb tense, just going with Ustedes (which is a 3rd person plural that you can use as a 2nd person plural). The reasoning is that the vosotros form is only used in old-fashioned parts of Spain, and in Argentina.

                And along comes Pope Francis, speaking that vosotros form all over the place…. 🙂

                1. *wry* And then we get into the “way it is actually spoken” problem– supposedly, Mexico alone has a dozen different versions of Spanish that are going to get you in trouble. We’re talking “thick Texas accent in LA with jerks that have hearing loss and none of you don’t know how to enunciate” stuff with people who are really nice and well-traveled. (Not counting the areas that don’t speak Spanish at home.)

                  *throws hands in air* But heaven forbid that we teach EVERYONE the language that the founding documents are in, they might actually be able to achieve something without being so freaking amazing that they’d be owing a company by 25 if they didn’t have to teach themselves everything the main stream got taught right away……

                  1. The “experts” agree that the best way to teach your child another language is total immersion. But when it comes to teaching that kid who tans better than average the language of Shakespeare (not coincidentally, the language that will get him out of the barrio) total immersion is racist.

                    1. Not to say that total immersion will deprive a lot of Specially Trained ESL teachers of their extra pay, and might even render them redundant.

                      Mustn’t do anything, ever, that might deprive a Union Teacher of her rice bowl.

                    2. It depends on whether the teacher is required to teach English to speakers of other languages, or required to teach other subjects in a foreign language to speakers of that language.

                      Here, the job has devolved to the later. On the other hand, my younger son with his ESL certification has spent the last year in Japan teaching middle school equivalent kids to speak English, and is hoping to shift to Taiwan to do the same.

                    3. It rubs off on their siblings, too.

                      One of my favorite memories of Japan is when I happened to walk past a line of probably kindergarten aged kids and attempted a polite greeting in Japanese…which resulted in some 50-ish kids lighting up and cheerfully murdering “good morning!” to me, one after the other, while their teachers tried not to die of cute.

              2. My impression, from reading REASON mind (so there a point of view), is that Hispanic parents are fighting this in a lot of places, and the ESL teachers are losing. But REASON does tend to take a rosy view of the effectiveness of local action.

                1. I’m not sure if they’re extrapolating from one or two situations where it made a difference, or mistaking cause– as Sarah has pointed out, there was a drop in fresh illegals, and that provided the excuse in a lot of areas.

        1. In countries where it’s been tried, it’s made it impossible for people to read old books.

          Shaw would have LOVED it.

          1. Better keep that quiet, otherwise the Big Six will start pushing it as a way to boost sales.

          2. Computer coding has also caused spelling changes. Apparently the old ß in German borks some codes, so German is going to more of the “ss” unless there is no choice (like when you would have sss.) Supposedlu some Germans are trying to get rid of the formal and have everyone “du” eachother. I don’t see that happening.

            1. One of my coworkers followed a long discussion of this fact in a programming discussion several months ago. (I believe you told me before that it doesn’t have a uppercase/lowercase distinction?) Anyway, the computer-based rules allow for it to be lowercased, but it turns into the “ss” form when that is done, and if the text is then uppercased, it doesn’t go back to the ß character, which causes text matching code to fail when doing case-insensitive matching.

          3. Bad enough reading Chaucer without further improvements of the language.

            I was going to say that teaching phonetics would help, but the problem isn’t just with writing, it’s that, even with writing supposedly “fixing” how we say words, pronunciation shifts, and what was “correct” spelling phonetically earlier, becomes incorrect later.

            And then there are lovely things such as contractions, slang, and now internet “spelling.”

            It’s a cause lost before it began. There is no such thing as a truly permanent record. All is relative, Even drawings, paintings, photographs, videos, sculptures in stone and whatever is the next visual record are too culturally dependent to act as a real “hard record” of history.

            If you doubt that, sit through a few modern “studies” classes. Change context and the transmission of information is degraded.

    1. I posted today about a woman I knew who used to be Portuguese and got snark about her becoming Swiss or Estonian.

  3. If I spend any time with you, I’ll pick up your accent lol. I did this with my Baton Rouge roommate, my Jamaican roommate, South African roommate… etc. etc. I don’t have the patience to go for the full language (I picked some German after two years of college work and used it in the hospital). I started out with a Canadian accent (was three when we left there and had been talking for over a year). The best thing that happened to my accent was when I was in the military for six years… it smoothed out all the irregularities.

      1. My eldest started his (another) new school in junior year. First day of class the English teacher said “I can tell where anyone is from just by listening to them talk!” My son stood up and started speaking extemporaneously. After 2-3 minutes, the exasperated teacher asks: “Where the hell are you from, son?” We had just moved to the NY capitol region after a year in Maine, and before that he had lived in VA, IL, CA, vacationed in WV, MD and NJ with family, and was born in SC, after being made in CA.

    1. ‘Tis a curse. When the local public schools dropped two years of Latin as a requirement, I found myself bundled off to boarding school.

      Came home one summer and they couldn’t understand a word I said. Bostonian with a Georgia drawl…

      (FYI – I never did have any formal instruction in Latin…)

    2. I have that problem, too. Once, after spending a hour with customer support in India, I had to consciously not speak with that accent. The guy was truly helpful, and didn’t want him to think I was mocking him.

          1. SuPo?

            (Well, possible, since I visit. That’s Suojelupoliisi, or Finnish Security Intelligence Service. So besides your friends it’s possible we have somebody with a name like Mika – a man’s name here, comes from Mikael – or maybe Jari or Jenni coming for a look at times too.)

      1. C4C means “Comment for Comments” so that they can receive other comments via email. [Smile]

      2. comment for comments — comment just to subscribe to the comment stream. Also the proper query string is C4C LGBT WTF BBQ. Please use proper syntax to access the computer.

  4. In the left-wing propaganda sessions, I mean classes, that I take online, they would call this a microagression. A microagression is something that White heterosexual men do, not out of malice, but rather out of ignorance of their own privilege that crushes the souls of helpless women, minorities, and LGBT people. The best book that will help you understand the microagression concept is Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who. In this story all the animals in the jungle sans Horton the Elephant with his big ears can’t hear the little Whos of Whoville who have a thriving civilization on a clover, but it is naturally ever vulnerable to being crushed by a casual mis-step of one of those normal sized animals.

    Allegedly, the cure for microagressions is propaganda, I mean education. If a privileged White Man only earns enough degrees, he too can grow big ears like Horton and thus avoid crushing the Lilliputian women and minorities with his thoughtless words.

    Now Ms. Hoyt, let’s look at what’s so disconcerting about your story. It seems to me that this huge jungle beast who stomped on your soul, while not having very many degrees being a cashier and all, seemed to have some knowledge of the multicultural zeitgeist and was attempting to honor your heritage as a Person of Color. Is it possible that White male privilege is truly too great a stain on our souls to ever wipe away. Will we pale-faced penis people continue to crush your souls with our power that we can neither fully fathom or control until the end of days? Is there any hope?


    1. “Will we pale-faced penis people continue to crush your souls with our power that we can neither fully fathom or control until the end of days? Is there any hope?”

      Yes. No.

  5. How would they classify… let’s see, we have Somali immigrants now. This is recent, but there are already first generation born here kids who speak fluent and accent free Finnish, and some mixed marriages. So let’s take this a few decades into future: a woman of mixed ancestry who does not speak the language her Somali grandparents spoke, with an ethnic Finn mother, moves to USA, marries an American man… what would these people assume is that mother language she should teach her kids?

    I’d guess that forgotten Somali one (okay, I don’t even know what language or languages ours speak, my bad) because even a bit African looks probably trump the Finnish contribution. Unless the Finland derived ethnic part is actually Sami, so more truly indigenous than us southerners… might complicate things a bit, especially if she also speaks the language.

    This is getting quite complicated.

    Well, with luck by then this idea of genetically inherited culture is just a funny anecdote in history books. One can hope.

    1. It bothers me that people still ask that stupid question in my hometown, one of the most integrated cities in the nation. IOW, it’s entirely possible to have someone of Japanese-Italian descent crossed with Filipino-Finnish descent, with several generations back in the US. I mean, we have a whole community of Vietnamese boat people here, and their kids are full-on American (and lots of them are dentists.) Their “mother tongue” is very often English. (Technically, my father was first-generation American, and he certainly didn’t learn Polish beyond a few words, mostly food.)

      1. Y’all are being too logical, here.

        It’s not a matter of what folks’ actual heritage is, it’s a matter of them acting in accordance with What The Liberal Talking Thinks.

        Look this way, then ACT this way; look that way, then ACT that way…even if it means they insult the Samoan/Italian by insisting he act like a “First Nation/Native American.”
        (I’m more Indian than he is, but the guy looks like… well, that Italian guy who did the “Crying Indian” commercial, basically. I only know his ancestry because his parents got to the same church.)

        1. But if people don’t act in accordance with their appearance, how can the microencephalic busybodies who make up the Left understand a person? Do you expect them to actually talk to an individual and get to know them? But if they did that they might come across facts, and facts are anathema to the Leftist worldview.

        2. Ha! My family name is from the son of Italian immigrants who moved to East Central Illinois after getting off the boat. He married the daughter of Irish immigrants who basically did the same thing after they got off the boat. So, my Dad ended up in California just before WWII and ended up building B-24s for Consolidated Vultee(later Convair.. Later Boeing). There he met my mother, offspring of Scottish English who have been in the US since the 17th Century. My poor daughter is the result of my marriage to Korean. She is so American that my Ex-wife acts like the comedian Cho’s mom too often.

      2. My dad was first generation American. I have right of return to Finland (and can I just say that’s a really, really weird law?). Neither one of us speak more than a couple of foods (maksilaatikko, pulla) and some mythological names (Kalevela, kantele, Vainamoinen, Ilmarin), and a couple relationship names I can’t even try to spell (mumma and poppa), and even my dad thinks my accent is lousy.

        1. Lots of immigrants FROM Finland. The law is an attempt to draw at least some people back this way, if I remember right what I have read of the reasons… If there had been none there might be close to twice as many Finns in Finland (if they all had procreated) than there are now.

    2. I take some sad satisfaction that when the lid blows off the terrorist war, and Americam loses her temper, the consequent Imperium is going to be very comfortable for male WASPs of non-liberal bent.

      For about fifty years, but that’s all I can realistically hope for anyway.

      And in the meanwhile all the statist claptrap the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressives have been pushing (while complaining about “the man”) is gonna land on them like a ton of rectangular building material.

      The Imperium will not be, on the whole, a good thing in the long run. Not unless we, as a people, manage to emulate tye British Raj a great deal better tyen I expect us too. But the fate of,the LIRPs will be a,richly deserved one.

      They will have “Nursed the pinion that impelled the steel” and “Naturally they (will) not approve”


  6. And anyone believing otherwise will put the devil in me. Which self-evidently no sane person should want to do.

    When that happens, does it look like this:



  7. “I swung by the grocery store. Bananas, three things of diet coke and a can of shoe polish…” I flashed on American Graffiti and added “and a pint of whiskey” to your list.

  8. What’s sad is that Poul Anderson had a short story published in 1974 on this silliness of “inherited culture”.

    It was “How to be Ethnic in One Easy Lesson”.

    In it a young man was “requested” by his college counselor to create a project reflecting his ethnic heritage which according to his counselor was Chinese.

    Unfortunately, the only thing Chinese about the young man was his last name.

    Fortunately, the young man was a friend of a Wodenite named Adzel. [Very Big Grin]

      1. Now now. Adzel isn’t a dinosaur even if he resembles a Dragon. [Smile]

    1. We got into that years ago when the eldest came in with an assignment “What is your culture?” The assumption was, of course, that culture is handed down from your immigrant past. Problem is that we were here before there was a US, and some may have griped about those newcomers arriving in those great big canoes, and our culture isn’t even exactly the same as their g-g-g grandparents. So they put down where we might be from, but our culture was the region were we lived, since we’ve been in this neck of the woods for a couple of centuries, but no more than the last fifty really counted.

      There must have been similar complaints, as that assignment never came up again.

      1. I’m from Tennessee. I’ve been waiting for people to ask me to clarify what country my family was from before that so I can say “Virginia”. (Of course it was a country.) But I live in Texas now, and people here don’t tend to ask silly questions like that. Being from Tennessee turns out to be a very traditional Texas custom, in fact.

        1. Ayup. Davy Crockett famously left the House of Representatives for Texas (with one of the most memorable farewell statements evah!*) and Sam Houston, born in Virginia, adopted into the Cherokee nation, mentored by Andrew Jackson (must have been awkward) and one-time governor of Tennessee has a few places in Texas bearing his name, the most famous probably being Sam Hill.

          *”He was elected as a representative from Tennessee to the US Congress. Crockett spent his entire career fighting and defending real individual liberty and the abuses of the US Congress violating the Constitution. In a fury of anger, David Crockett rose on the Congress floor, in 1835, when Congress again was violating the Constitution, and cried out: ‘Ya’ll can go to hell, I’m goin’ to Texas!’ ”

      2. I tended to confuse people because my folks grew up in Korea… so when doing ‘cultural’ things I tended to pull out Korean stuff, because it interested me. The red head showing up in a traditional Korean outfit for one of the random ‘cultures of the world’ days got some interesting looks. (It was a tribute to my teachers that none of THEM batted an eye and encouraged others to pick cultures they were interested in not necessarily that they hailed from. We also got real history and consistent suggestions we go look into anything that interested us.)

        1. Y’know — given that these dolts demand we recognize the “gender identification” of even the most @#!$ twits, surely it is meet and just that we accept people according to the culture(s) with which they identify.

          Heck, we even have Senator High Cheekbones as precedent.

          It is a form of micro-aggression for them to deny your identification with any culture which “calls out” to you — even (especially?) if that culture is a wholly imaginary one, such as Jedi Knight or Middle Earthian. Who knows where you soul was developed before insertion into the present envelope?

          1. For those preparing to ask, before it was inserted in its present envelope my soul was in a pickle jar.

          2. It’s funny. Star Trek Next Generation paid a visit to Dr. Crusher’s home planet which was a “Scottish” planet. There was an alien there who had decided that he was “Scottish”. [Very Big Grin]

  9. All this sensible talk is offensive to my heritage of being a lawless savage howling in the dark.

    I have ancestors beyond the knowledge of history and archeology.

    If this is in any way heritable, I might do anything.

    ‘We know, Bob. Your behavior makes that clear. We’ve no obligation to tolerate you if you won’t grow up.’

  10. So this is a derail, but I found it fascinating to note that Borderlands Books in San Francisco is closing… mostly because of the reason why.

    “In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018. Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal [sic] and we believe that it’s possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage. Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st.”

    And San Francisco, the most unaffordable city in the U.S., creeps up another notch…

    1. When they stick this line in there: Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal [sic]… and follow it with this: Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage I can only say: Buh-bye!

      If they are unwilling to connect the dots even as they close the doors — well, other things are deserving of my sympathy. I understand somebody stubbed a toe somewhere.


      Maybe SanFran wants to be sure they stay ahead of New Yawk?

        1. There does seem to be a unique and special attractive field in place out there.

          I’d be much happier if we could move the field generator to a random spot, maybe in Nevada on some of that fed land, and free up that pretty piece of coastline.

        2. Despite his delusions, Norton actually had a great deal of common sense. Unlike the current voting public, alas.

          1. I’ve heard speculation that the Emperor Norton was crazy as a fox. [Wink]

    2. I’m laying down a marker right now: Some time in the 2018 and/or 2020 election cycle some Democrat is going to point to a study by some liberal “economist” of San Francisco and nearby areas that didn’t raise the Minimum Employable Productivity and conclude that, because SanFran unemployment didn’t go up in 2018 relative to the immediate area, raising the MEP has no effect on unemployment.

      When this happens someone owes me a beer. Preferably served in the skull of whatever “economist” authors the study.

      1. It’s already happened in Seattle. Because if it doesn’t happen instantaneously, there’s no effect. And if it *does* happen instantaneously, it’s the other guy’s fault.

        1. If it does happen instantaneously there must be other confounding factors, because the economy is too large to react quickly like that*.

          *Note that this effect only applies to bad effects in close temporal proximity to policies I support. When the effects can be used to bash the other guy or praise my guy, the bloody economy can turn on a dime.

      1. I dunno, i personally eagerly await burger-flipping robots. (Btw, Orange County McDonalds are already testing ‘kiosk’ ordering)

        1. Personally, I’ll believe them when I see them. The fast food companies have being putting money into this since the eighties. So far, nothing fieldable.

          1. the kiosk ordering is already in place in San Diego and Orange County. The bots to cook it? considering mdconalds burgers are cooked by a timer anyway… and these days, cooked by a timer then warmed up in a microwave…

            1. Yet. You also make it more viable as you increase the number and size of markets subject to wildly overpriced labor.

              The technology for it has gotten a lot better and cheaper since the eighties. Enough so? I dunno, I don’t have enough experience in that area. Japan apparently has been doing a lot of this sort of thing.

              If I go by my history, I’ll believe it when I see it for myself.

            2. Maybe not for cooking/food prep, but there is for order taking. The convenience store chains WaWa and Sheetz both put in touchscreens for ordering fresh sandwiches, hot food, etc. Some of the Chili’s restaurants I’ve been to have touchscreens for ordering and bill paying, though they still have humans making the food, delivering it, clearing tables, etc.

  11. Hey, like, you know, I’m multi-culti. I mean, Dude, I grew up in California, and when I was 24 I, like, moved to Texas. In 1978 when the blue laws were still in effect. Y’all can blame the culture shock of the first couple of months for my general weirdness.

    1. Dyess AFB, TX – 1979 – you could buy bacon in a store in Abilene on Sunday morning – but you couldn’t buy a frying pan until after noon.

      That never made sense to me…

  12. Okay, let’s see….
    My family is typically American–we’ve got some German (refugees from 1600s religious wars), some Scots-Irish (Scotland to Ireland then back to Scotland over 4 generations, and then to America) from the 1700s, some English and even an obscure Welsh twig on that Branch of the family, and finally the Johnny-Come-Lately Norwegian bunch in the 1840s, which is where my last name comes from.
    Which languages should I speak?
    Well, my English is passable (and as a native Northwesterner my English is pretty free of any dialect/pronunciation markers that a lot of US English has). I’ve got German under my belt, but not Norwegian yet.
    Perhaps my mother tongue should be Early Modern English (hello Shakespeare!) or Middle English (hello Chauce!) or Old English (Hwaet, Beowulf!). I’m rusty at those last two.
    I have learned Korean and Welsh, and I’m studying Italian at the moment (because I never learned any of the Romance languages, and I want to study the one that produces the food I like the best).
    This would be my answer to the question. I pity the poor shopkeeper who does ask me this… 🙂

  13. OK, I’m going to take the other side of the argument here. Studies repeatedly show that children raised bilingually benefit in many ways (this page mentions a few of them ––Separating-Fact-fr.aspx) If the cashier had recently read a headline about “being raised bilingual helps protect one from dementia,” she might have been interested in whether you passed on Portugese in order to compliment you on providing your children with a second language. Also, she might have run into one of the many Americans out there who express regret that their parents didn’t teach them their language in addition to English.
    While random cashiers’ stamps of approval on our parenting are seldom expected or even wished for, she might have been asking a question that she thought would lead to her giving you a compliment. Annoying, I guess. But not necessarily an attack on English supremacy in the USA.

      1. Hehe, I do have to field questions every year from the ESL specialist at the school because my children hear a second language spoken in the home. So I get what you’re saying as far as the schools go. Still, the cashier isn’t an educator and might not share your neighborhood’s culture. My husband (native-born Minnesotan) speaks only German (which he learned in school) to our kids so that they’ll be bilingual, and people in stores who hear him are constantly complimenting him and saying how “cool” it is that he is doing that. (We live in Co Springs.)

        1. seriously, there is the “look” of when they’re improving you. She had it. My guess is she’d absorbed that speaking your “native culture’s language” was good… I get this from cashiers and all in my neighborhood including “Oh, your culture is so old and wise, enlighten us.” GRRRRR.
          The school, argh. They tried to attribute #2 son’s speech impediment (now gone) to his hearing Portuguese in the home. Once a week, when I call my mom.

    1. I think you misunderstood the problem with the question. It’s not that it’s an attack on the supremacy of English in the US. It’s that the mind-set of these idiots is that you are the culture of your parents, no matter where you are, or what the local culture is.

      It’s as if they believe either A) All cultures that ever existed have existed forever, and that they are inherited from the land of your ancestors, or B) Cultures stopped developing 500 years ago, and wherever your ancestors were then is where YOU are supposed to act like you’re from now.

      1. Unless your bum is a bit pale ’cause then you’re White. And as we all know, that’s a single, homogeneous culture with oodles of power over every other everything ever.

            1. If your bum is pale and you publicly display it to the masses the possibility must be considered that you are an other-sexual and this also a victim of oppressive culture.

  14. What’s my culture? None, since I cleaned out the fridge this weekend. All cultures, fungi, and products of wild fermentation have been sent to the final repository of culinary disasters . . . AKA the dumpster.

  15. One (of many) thing(s) I like about Governor Jindal is the knowledge of the pain progtards experience because of the dissonance between his accent and appearance.

    I strongly protest the attempt by all too many to reduce individual Americans to a single stereotyped culture derived from superficial observation.

    OTOH, this could have been simply one more example of the sort of general ignorance manifested in the belief that New Mexico is a foreign nation but California nor Washington DC is not.

    1. I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but there’s a great old western singer named Charley Pride, who happens to be black. My mom still gets the giggles over an interview she heard when she was much younger, where he was actually taking calls.

      A lady with an incredibly thick southern accent called in and demanded why he “was talkin’ funny; you ain’t talkin’ right.”

      Poor Mr Pride found some polite way to say that he was just talking in his normal voice….

      I think it was for the Grand Ole Opry, but that’s probably just because it would be so cool if he got to do an interview related to the show he grew up loving.

  16. Perhaps my “culture” should be Viking Berserker… Yes, by golly, that WILL be fun.
    Perhaps you too would like to be a berserker, and frighten the little girl panties off the SJWs. Just a thought. YMMV, Slightly higher west of the Rockies, especially more so in Colorado and Washington.

  17. Just to point out that with regards to recent terrorist/criminal activity in France, liberal MSM people couldn’t quite figure out what to call the miscreants, and at least one referred to them as “African-Americans”. In France…

  18. I went to high school in SoCal, (a bit of a ghetto school). I had fellow students, who spoke perfectly good, unaccented English, tell me that they couldn’t read in English because they were in ESL.
    What? If you can read in spanish, and speak perfectly good english, then you can read in english! The letters are the same you dingbats!
    It made me wonder if they could read in spanish.
    The failures of our education system.

    1. Spanish is more phonetic, but yeah, it’s not difficult. if you know one you can back engineer the other. However, I suggest they learned WHOLE WORD Spanish, which means they CAN’T back engineer it.

      1. That seems like something that should have been addressed in ESL class.
        But then, that’s me stupidly assuming that our education system will put reasonable thought into their work.
        I just have to hope that teachers are exasperated about this as much as the rest of us.

        1. But thank you for your comment. I hadn’t thought about it that way. It sure cooled my anger right quick.
          Thank you, Sarah!

          1. It will probably reheat your anger right back up to be reminded that the purpose of modern pedagogy is entirely indifferent to actual education of children. Indoctrination is soooo much easier and helps protect the Teachers’ Unions’ sinecures.

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