ERIC Number: ED383183
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
"English Only": The Attack on Minority Language Speakers in the United States.
The Fund for Free Expression: A Committee of Human Rights Watch, v4 n1 Mar 1992
The aim of the "English-Only" movement is to make English the official national language. The Constitution of the United States does not mention the English language, and therefore the country has no official language. The legacy of the nation's founders is one of linguistic tolerance. The increase in immigrants from Asia and Latin America has generated a nativist backlash. Within the "English-Only" movement, U.S. English (USE) is more sophisticated and successful than groups like "English First" that are overtly much more nativist and virulently anti-immigrant. Eighteen states and numerous cities and towns have official English laws. These laws can be attacked on First, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. The "English-Only" movement's rhetorical focus on the laudable goals of national unity and English proficiency has brought considerable financial and political success. Yet the movement is driven by cultural insecurity and prejudice against minorities. English-only laws fail to advance English proficiency or foster national unity. Instead, they promote harmful divisiveness while infringing on important minority rights. (CK)
Descriptors: Anglo Americans, Asian Americans, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Law, English, Ethnic Bias, Hispanic Americans, Immigrants, Language Proficiency, Minority Groups, Official Languages, Second Languages, Social Attitudes
Human Rights Watch, Publications Department, 485 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017-6104.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Fund for Free Expression, New York, NY.