North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


June 26, 2013

Danielle Cater: To gripe in English, please press "1"

COMMENTARY — You know it’s rough when you find yourself going through your restaurant gift cards to get the balances before going to lunch. It’s not really that tight around my house, I’m just that thrifty. But something struck me as odd while making the call to get my card balances — they all asked me to press “1” for English.

This may not mean anything to anyone else, but to me, that struck a nerve. Why am I living in America, calling a company based in my home country, and having to press “1” in order to speak with someone in my own native tongue?

I don’t agree with us making it practically impossible for foreigners to become American citizens, but it should definitely be required for them to be able to communicate in English before becoming a legal citizen. If that is the case, then there should be no point in time that I have to go through an extra step on a phone survey in order to get English representatives. They should all speak English and this should be the standard, not the exception.

English just so happens to be the official language of the United States, and as such, this should be the language that we use. I understand that many people speak different languages, but I wouldn’t go to India or Mexico and expect them all to cater to my English needs. I expect the Indians to speak Telugu (or one of the hundreds of languages of that country), the Mexicans to speak Spanish and the English to speak English.

Call me crazy, but I just happen to believe that we shouldn’t change all of the rules because people don’t want to abide by them. We shouldn’t all learn Chinese because there is an influx of Chinese immigrants and since they don’t want to learn English, the English speakers should learn Chinese.

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