Advertisement

A Town Divided

May 07, 1985

Americans speak English. They also speak Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Armenian and dozens of other languages--a fact that the Fillmore City Council has chosen to ignore in passing a petty resolution that English is the city's official language.

Petty, as in small-minded. Half of Fillmore's population is Latino. Some Latinos who live in the Ventura County community fought for their country, the United States, before current town leaders arrived in Fillmore. They have endured and overcome segregation in the past; they should not have to endure this gratuitous insult today.

The resolution apparently stems from opposition among some Fillmore residents to bilingual-education programs in the schools, from the sense among others that they are strangers in their own land as signs and ballot information proliferate in languages other than English. Of course people need to know English to function and succeed in American society. But one of the virtues of that society has been the mixing of cultures, the understanding that everyone came from somewhere else originally. The Fillmore City Council would serve its entire community far better if it spoke words of unity rather than sounding chauvinistic chords of disharmony.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|