Sunday, January 23, 2011

Anglo-centric People are Stupid

The first time I started disliking Anglo-Centric people was about ten years ago.

Here is my story. About ten years ago I had a part time job teaching English as a second language. I was self-employed. During a break I went back to Washington State to visit my father. While having coffee with my father in his dining room, I told him all about my little business teaching English to immigrants. Then he turned around and asked me the strangest question.

"Naomi, maybe you should teach English as a primary language instead?"

Then that familiar angry little feeling started to bubble up in my stomach. It is a feeling I typically get when I find myself in a conversation with my father that I should have avoided. You see, I have a list of things in my head never to bring up when he is in the room. For most of my life, I never opened up with my father about anything because he can be judgmental, condescending and sarcastic. Anyone who does not think like him is an idiot as far as he is concerned.

" What do you mean?" I asked. I wished that I could have just ignored the question, but I was stuck.

He responded, " Instead of teaching it as a second language, maybe you should teach it as a primary language." Then he went on a tangent about how all the immigrants should not consider their native languages to be a primary form of communication in the United States - EVER.

So, this is how my father had everything all worked out in his head. I am suppose to waltz into the classroom and tell my students that English should be their primary language. You see, English is apparently more important and more valuable than their mother tongue. I was suppose to tell my students that even when their families visit, that they should insist on communicating with their relatives only in English. Do you know how quickly they would have fired me if I did something like that?

Then I responded to my father, ¨Oh, that is lovely, you want me to be unemployed do you?¨ Then an argument ensued. My father insisted that I TELL my students that they need to learn English as a primary language. I told my father that they learn English as...what ever he heck they want because they are paying me. That means they are the boss. How rude it would be of me to tell my employers what language should be primary in their lives? Who am I to tell them something like that?

Then my dad went on a long tangent about his linguistic ´philosophy.´ Actually, it is not a philosophy at all. Dad just regurgitates the verbal diarrhea that Rush Limbaugh vomits from time to time on his radio show. Many of you know him. That conservative drug using pig who whines about how gay marriage undermines the sanctity of marriage, yet he is upon his FORTH wife. The funny thing about my father, is he would always throw in a big, overly elaborate word to pretend that he is an educated person. ( FYI: the man is only a high school graduate)

My dad is not the only ethnocentric person out there. Nor is he the only Anglo-centric person I have met.  There are many Americans who have this attitude. One of my uncles once told me that the best places on earth to live are the United States, Australia, and Great Britain. He has never lived in two out of three of those countries. So how would he know that the UK and Australia are better places to live than say, a country like Norway? How would he know that Australia is a better place to live that Japan. Oh, thats right! They speak Japanese in Japan. Japan is full of Japanese people, that is why it would not be a better place to live. What about Finland? Oh, thats right, he has never been their either.

Anglo-Centrism. These people feel that any English speaking country is better than any country that does not speak English. It is very ignorant. The kind of people who have this attitude tend to be the same people who ... surprisingly...can only speak English fluently. Wow. Who would have seen that one coming a mile away?!

These dim-wits also thing that English is the hardest language to learn. One of my friends on YouTube brought up an excellent point. How is it people who can only speak English, never studied other languages, feel that they are in any position to say English is the hardest language to learn? He is absolutely right! It is as if these people are trying to send another message,  " Look at me, I speak English, one of the hardest languages to learn on planet earth! I must be so smart! "

As I said before, English speakers are not the only people on earth who are like this. Italians are notorious for not learning other languages. I have met French speakers who also think that French is the most difficult language to learn. The Franco-centric people I met also did not speak other languages, including English.

The Roman Empire was also a very ethnocentric empire. Roman people thought their civilization and language was above everyone else on earth. In fact, the Romans considered all non-Romans to be barbarians.

Ethnocentric Nations and people typically have the same pattern

1. They are an Empire ( Rome, Great Britain, United States, France, Portugal )
2. They  believe their country was blessed by god. Their holy books are meant to be read only in the original language.
3. They believe their language is superior to all others. For example, ¨English is the hardest language to learn!¨ ¨French is the richest language on earth!¨
4. Ethnocentric people usually have little education. 
5. Ethnocentric people speak only one language fluently. They do not have proficiency in any other language.
6. Ethnocentric assholes are usually Americans.

There, I said it. Most of these jerks are Americans. Many of them living happily in the State of Arizona. If a person wants to be a hick, it is their choice. But they are in no position to tell me, or any of us, that we are less valuable because of the language we chose to speak. On a final note, I would like to add that I am an American, living happily in Mexico. I am not looking forward to returning to The United States any time soon.

I am American. I am tri-lingual. With that, I bid you all adieu.

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