Why America Should Never Make English Its Official Language

A movement to make English the official language of America is gaining ground. Steeped in racism, it masquerades as pro-immigrant.

TThis is America, speak English.”

America does not currently, and has never had, a legal designation of any one language as its official one.

They support English-only voting ballots, driving exams, and workplace policies, an end to bilingual education, and the repeal of a policy to provide translation assistance for government documents and services.

You don’t fool us: masking the racism

While the movement presents itself as pro-immigrant, its origins are steeped in racism.

The incentive to learn English is already there — what’s missing is the means.

‘Official English’ purports to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, with solutions that don’t work anyway — and, in the process, neglects real obstacles to English proficiency.

These problems existed well before Trump took office. But the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” border policies — and Trump’s opposition to due process for detainees — put limited-English speaking migrants at even greater risk.

Why we should care about this movement

While it’s tempting to dismiss ‘Official English’ as a fringe movement, they have scored real legislative wins — and the Trump administration only makes their vision more possible. Already notoriously hostile toward immigrants, the administration has shown an openness to Official English proposals; the Trump campaign even, ProEnglish giddily observes, polled on Official English.

The Establishment

The conversation is much more interesting when everyone has…

Samantha Yenger Cremean

Written by

Interested in public policy, sociolinguistics, stress-knitting, and alien/space aesthetics in the work of Britney Spears.

The Establishment

The conversation is much more interesting when everyone has a voice. Media funded and run by women; new content daily.

Samantha Yenger Cremean

Written by

Interested in public policy, sociolinguistics, stress-knitting, and alien/space aesthetics in the work of Britney Spears.

The Establishment

The conversation is much more interesting when everyone has a voice. Media funded and run by women; new content daily.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store