Thursday, March 06, 2008

Learn to habla

Ran across this video just now. I looked up the actual rules:

The number of Hispanic crews in the Northwest has increased markedly in recent years. A count of Spanish surnames on crew rosters suggests that about 85 percent of current contract firefighters are of Hispanic descent. This rough estimate doesn’t indicate how many crew members speak English.

There is no contract requirement that supervisors on contract crews speak any language other than English. There is a requirement that supervisors be able to communicate with the workers for whom they are responsible.

Consequently, if private companies elect to hire crew members who do not speak English, those supervisors must be bilingual or multilingual.

It does look like the forest service is paying attention to this issue and they indicate that no supervisors have been fired for not speaking Spanish.

15 comments:

my view said...

It is just a matter of time. With the number of spanish speakers growing by the day in the United States, there should be requirements for people to be bilingual. It makes sense from, not only a business standpoint, but from a safety standpoint as well. We are requiring all our employees to learn Spanish. We pay for it, of course, and they get paid for attending the classes. In the long run, it will benifit their careers, as well as make them more competative in the job market. Look at it this way, those of you too stuborn to learn spanish are already obsolete to my employees now fluent in two languages.

another view said...

... there should be requirements for people to be bilingual.

I don't know that people should be required to be bilingual (and frankly, that FOX story is pretty suspicious ... no interviews with anyone, no names, etc.) but I think it highly likely that as globalisation continues to exert its force and the U.S becomes more and more integrated with Central America, more people simply will be bilingual. It will just be part of one's education, part of our cultural makeup, just as it's more common in Europe, where public education is taken more seriously than it is here, for a citizen to speak two or three languages.

The hostility some Americans have toward other languages boils down, I think, to ignorance about our own language. English isn't going to disappear, it's the most dominant, popular language in the world. It's not threatened in any way. If we have to have "Press 1" for English for a transitory period, so what? If you don't speak Spanish and want to talk to someone in English, press "1" and move on. What's the big deal? Why is this a problem? Is something wrong with your index finger? Is that extra key punch leaving you so spent you're useless for the rest of the day? Fifty years from now, all the hysterical provincialism about English v. Spanish is going to look pretty silly.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Anonymous said...

Remember how everyone freaked over having to master a computer in the 80s? People literally walked out on their jobs because they were to clenched to learn how to use a computer. Same dif.

Anonymous said...

Man, that is such a good example. I remember that. That had a pretty high sphincter factor, I remember a lot of talk about how we were leaving a generation behind. It wasn't end-of-the-world stuff, but it was close. Now, my dad know a hell of a lot more about computers than I do, and he's nearly 90.

Of course, gosh, I don't see why Daniel would even bring this up. I thought the issue was "illegal aliens," not people who speak Spanish, or having to adapt in a society where increasing numbers speak Spanish.

Gee, I wonder if bigotry and nativism has anything to do with it ...?

Anonymous said...

Ya think?

Lib Librarian said...

I worked as a fire season dispatcher for BLM from 1980 - 1990. There have always been a very high number of hispanics on our crews, even 28 years ago. To the man, they have been no different than any other part of the team, men and women who give their all, push themselves to the point of collapse to protect lives and property. I never knew of a single crew member who was here illegally, but I did know several who spoke little English, but were actively LEARNING IT. No one ever had a problem communicating with them in my ten years of experience. Ever.

Who gives TWO SHITS about what language they speak? This is the same shit you tried to pull a few months back about hispanics fighting in Iraq. Who the FUCK cares? If they're willing to put their lives on the line for America, I could care less if they speak Swahili, Farsi or Portugese. They are, just by the dangerous work they're WILLING to do, ten times the man and the citizen you and I will ever be.

Looks like Daniel needs to be reminded (frequently) that not all people who's primary language is Spanish are here illegally. English is a very difficult language to learn. It does take a little time. You think if you were suddenly living in Germany, you could learn German in just a couple of months? Get real.

In the meantime, they're here legally, they're working hard (you come and work with us for a season Daniel, lol), and they are protecting American lives and property.

It's never good enough for you is it?

I dare you to find a fire where a language barrier has caused a single incident where the fire crew or the public was put at risk.

You're just on a constant troll, looking for shit, aren't you? You throw anything out there to see if it will stick to the wall. Too bad it's at the loss of your credibility. You should think things through a little more Daniel.

Get a life.

Lib Librarian said...

Also, during a heavy fire season, competent and well trained crews are flown in from Mexico in cooperation with the Mexican government, and we were and are damn grateful for it.

Your such a moron Daniel.

Anonymous said...

lib - In Miglavia, we do not use competency and Mexcio in the same sentence. In Miglavia, all things Mexican are inferior, and a threat to the sovereignty of the United States. In Miglavia, the US of A is the best goddamn country in the world! (Rather than simply being the country preferred by those who inhabit it)

So don't come in here trying to convince Miglavians that anything good can come out of Mexico!

Anonymous said...

simple solution

ENGLISH as the national language!
( still would not be a bad idea to learn a sencond language , lets say german!)

Scottiebill said...

Anon 1117: I agree. But with the way things are going with the politicians love for the illegals, especially the Latinos, the next thing they will be demanding is for the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to be translated into Spanish.

It would seem that this country is about two generations away from Spanish to be the national language and English as the second language.

That surely would make all the Illegal Alien apologists, many of whom are listed as "anonymous" on this blog, very happy.

Lib Librarian said...

ScottiePot:

You are so bass-akwards on this one. In direct contradiction to your prediction of the demise of the English language: It's been well documented, in the past, and through a more recent exhaustive study, that by the second generation, an overwhelming number of Latino immigrants are speaking English almost exclusively, and that includes in their homes.

Oh, and by the way, Spanish translations of our nation's major historical documents have been available almost since their creation.

Is Scottiebill the name on your driver's license and social security card? If not, then you too are anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Scottiebill:

"It would seem that this country is about two generations away from Spanish to be the national language and English as the second language."

Sure. I guess it would to someone who chooses to remain ignorant on the issue by reading absolutely none of the voluminous literature on the topic. Bottom line: among the descendants of contemporary immigrants, the second generation is fluent in English and billingual; the 3rd generation is nearly 100% monolingual English.

English will be just fine. Don't worry. There's a reason that social scientists have referred to the United States as a "foreign-language graveyard".

Anonymous said...

Imagine this scenario: It's August. Hot. Wildfires breaking out everywhere. One's rushing toward the neighborhood Daniel lives in, and as it approaches his backyard, a team of firefighters races up, hoses in hand.

But -- horrors! -- half of them are Latino!

Would Daniel:

a) Stay out of their way and let them do their job -- i.e., save his house. (Or join them with a garden hose)

b) Demand to see proof of residency.

c) Whip out his camcorder and inquire when they last ate tacos for dinner.

d) Demand to know which employment agency they were hired through so he can "boycott" them.

e) Order the Latino firefighters off his property at gunpoint.

Why do I have a sick, sinking feeling that it wouldn't be "a"?

Anonymous said...

“In a few years, [Pennsylvania will] become a German colony; instead of their learning our language, we must learn theirs, or live as in a foreign country.”

-- Benjamin Franklin, 1751

It would seem that this country is about two generations away from Spanish to be the national language and English as the second language.

-- ScottieBill, 2008

And so it goes …

Anonymous said...

Hmm ... Franklin's assumption was that the demise of English was only a few years away. Jump to 2008, and we're ensured that we're two generations from the same cultural disaster.

By Miglavian standards, isn't that an improvement? A sign of progress? Just wondering.