Friday, March 24, 2006

la guerra

We are a fairly bilingual-resistant culture. The media rarely presents dual language messaging in spite of the significant and growing numbers Hispanic citizens. Predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods may see some billboards in Spanish, but mainstream newspaper, radio and television remain firmly segregated from their brown counterparts.

So, when I saw an advertisement in both languages on the front webpage of an online newspaper, I was pleased. Then I realized this well-designed, bilingual ad was for the US Army.

I understand that the way into the room is sometimes through a side door. Integrating the military almost 60 years ago gave Blacks one more bit of leverage in the fight for civil rights. But one of the most conservative branches of government has jumped onto the bilingual bandwagon because its numbers are down and, forgive the liberal cliché, because it needs fodder for its war machine.

We need to acknowledge and learn to be a better bilingual society. Some people think that the tactics of "los militares" is a first step, regardless of the motivation. Maybe. But I still think it stinks.

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