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Sunday, February 19, 2006

No Hablo Trash in Lynchburg

In today's News & Advance, an article was printed regarding a supposed trash-tag violation problem in Lynchburg City. Apparantly, "Since Oct. 1, 445 residents put trash out without the proper tags." According to the article, three of those residents were brought to court. Two of them were fined $50. One of them was dismissed without penalty. The reason? "...She only spoke Spanish and could not read the violations, which were only printed in English." Furthermore, "...the violation notices are now printed in both English and Spanish."

I must admit, I was a bit taken aback by this. Two people who are educated at least well enough to read the notice were penalized for failing to comply to a city regulation. One person who isn't educated in the native language of the people amongst whom she lives is rewarded because she's uneducated. She can't read English? In Virginia? For a moment I had flashbacks to California before I regained my senses. They now print the violation notices in Spanish? In Virginia? Would they also be willing to excuse illiterate people, or do just the Spanish speaking get the privilege? What did she do, receive the notice in the mail and throw it away because she couldn't read it? Does she pay her electric bill? Her water bill?

The city may just gloss over the incident and chalk it up as an oversight on their part, which is evident by the fact that they now print the notice in Spanish. But this is no technicality. It seems from the article that the city has just wrongly discriminated against people who can read English. Is this not a problem? Is this the direction in which the city is headed? The waste management department doesn't seem to have a problem with it. I suppose next time you get that city bill in the mail, plead ignorance. They'll understand.


At 10:24 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Hi C.T. you present a compelling argument and I agree with you, that if you come to the United States to live one of the basic things that should be expected is that you learn English.

I could see making allowances for tourists, who do not know our laws, but if it is your intention to reside in the United States you ought to know the language.

At 3:33 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

About 5 years ago, I worked at a telemarketing/ call center where I had to make calls to people in Utah for a program called US English. We called people and urged them to vote in an upcoming referendum to make English the legal languqage of Utah. Yeas, tha's right...Utah. Mom, apple pie and...the Osmonds...that Utah. Most were appalled to find out that in America, unless the state has written into law the official language, a group of indiviuals who prefer, say ...Spanish for example, could band together and actually make the locality function in that language. This would take a referendum vote, but with enough voters, or lack of enough even, we could make any language the "Official" language.

I am voting for Klingon. Q'Pla!


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