Saturday, April 4, 2009

It takes time, but time is money that we don't have. Right?

I think that the right word is fuming. I was fuming yesterday morning. I just couldn't get a break yesterday!

I usually listen to Brad & Britt in the morning while I'm getting ready if I have the radio on. Yesterday's topic was about LEP persons (though they weren't called that in all that I heard) getting driver's licenses--or not--in Georgia. I have so much to say but don't even want to say it.

Look, I almost don't care what people really think or personally believe or whatever. I think it's valid to back something up with facts or with faith. But please, please, please, please, make a decent argument when sharing your thoughts, for goodness sake.

Ok, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I know it's a radio show and you have a few minutes at the most to say what you want to say, to give, I guess, your most important point. This world is too interconnected, there are a million factors in everything and all we do, so please refrain from using blanket statements that are a penny a piece and aren't worth your two cents.

Plus, I was quite disappointed with Brad and Britt's comments. Ok, maybe the first thing was that I thought that the two had the professions/services of interpretation and translation mixed up, but one of them made a slight attempt at pointing out that a translator (did he mean interpreter?) would be a such-and-such issue if he/she were at the actual appointment with an LEP person taking the driver's test. Anyhow, so these people call in the show who state that they are immigrants or born in another country, whatever, and they think that these non-English speaking people should learn English and that these tests shouldn't be offered translated in so many languages. So, whoopty-do, that was the hosts' big omgoodness, these people, immigrants themselves, are saying this!!! So either Brad or Britt was requesting a call from an immigrant that thought the opposite, that the tests should be available to LEP persons. I turned the radio off at that point.

Anyhow, before I turned the radio off, they brought up points about the LEP persons not being able to read road signs and such. So, along these lines, they also brought up illiterate persons driving...they can't read road signs, right? No, people, a sign is a sign for a reason. You see and arrow and "Raleigh" on a sign, not a sonnet about how sweet it is to merge left amongst the sparrows and the trees. So, illiteracy has gone down in NC but the immigrant and LEP population sure seems to be going up! So, hey, there are all of these new people here? Hmmm, so what do people do, these people, specifically? Ok, so they want to work, many raise families, buy groceries, oh, everything else that everyone else does, just about. {Sorry for my mega-use of commas, I'm sure}. Well, not only is this a country where everyone speaks English (not the official language, please don't distort the constitution) but be proud of the fact that it is a country of roads, highways, and all the signs pointing to everywhere we need to go. If you are going to insist on language as a way of life, why not the other addiction of ours, driving? I am not going to be naive, I would not be surprised if there were LEP persons out there who have no desire or are scared of speaking English; perhaps they think they can get by because of the neighborhood they live in or because they assume they'll always have the help of family and friends who do have more English-language capabilities. But other than that, learning English is not the issue here, right here right now. English is a life issue. Survival English is not enough, I think. But I love learning. I love languages. It's a hobby for me. I read elmundo.es for fun, get e-mail bulletins from MiGente, watched every episode of Julia--Wege zum Glueck and have a sanakirja in my Firefox bookmarks. But this is for fun, I guess, to exercise my brain and know a little more about something that I won't be a big part of. This is not survival. It takes time to learn a language no matter how you do it. Bringing your proof of Enlgish-language skills to the DMV before getting your license is not the same thing as bringing in your proof of residency.

If not driving was a real option not just in Georgia but in the U.S. as a whole--just look at Greensboro--than the story would be different. How would you go to work, or even find work, transport your children, go to the grocery store, anything without a car most of the time? I remember when I was the self-righteous urban planning student, living off of Cyburbia and refusing to get my driver's license, looking at downtown condos and relishing European high-density. Then I graduated from undergrad, started taking classes in Brown Summit, working downtown and living in an apartment...I got that license quick and put aside my holier-than-thou criticisms for reality.

Whew! What a rant. Tsk, tsk, Aden. Here's something to relieve the tension:

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