One of the tragedies of our age has been political correctness gone to extreme. This pernicious disease has particularly affected academia and, by example, the federal government.
All over the country examples of political correctness (PC) run-amuck are to be seen. One is the attack on America as the melting pot. For centuries,
people came to America to become Americans. They came by the millions and the first goal of immigrants was to learn English and then to become a full partner in the American dream. It was a process which not only made this nation great but also ennobled millions of immigrants.
Suddenly, in the last decades, the PC folks have attacked the melting pot with full fury. The melting pot was, they claim, controlled by white males,
i.e., Euro-centered. The melting pot was, according to the PC, unfair to the new immigrants who should have maintained their language and their culture.
There is a wholesale attack on Western culture and thought, including European and American literature, laws and customs. Now, Americans overwhelmingly believe in tolerance and the acceptance of diversity. They want their fellow human beings, whether white, black, yellow or whatever, to succeed and prosper. Our nation has made great progress in eliminating discrimination. For whites to be exclusionary is unacceptable. The PC folks on campuses, however, have gone a step further.
They have decided that for non-whites to be exclusionary is just fine. On many campuses throughout the nation blacks, for example, are not only permitted but are encouraged to set up segregated clubs, sororities,
organizations and dorms which exclude whites and other races.
A manifestation of this battle carried over into public education where, in places like California where there are lots of Spanish-speaking newcomers,
the PC folks insisted on teaching public schools in Spanish. The claim was that Spanish-speaking immigrants were disadvantaged by being taught in English. The PC mantra was that it was disrespectful to the Hispanic culture to be required to go to Anglo schools.
This is a direct assault on the melting pot. Of course, having respect for other cultures is both basic and desirable. But that is not at all the same as disuniting America by encouraging what would be, in fact, two different societies living side-by-side. If the history of the world teaches us anything, it teaches us that such societies are strife-riven, contentious and unhappy. Think of Fiji, Kosovo, some nations in Africa and Indonesia.
When Californians voted two years ago to ban bilingual classes in the public schools, the outcry from the PC crowd was deafening. Educators predicted catastrophe. It was, they claim, an assault on the newcomers that would set them back a decade in their education. Now, two years later, the results are in. The results overwhelmingly show that Spanish-speaking young people are progressing much more rapidly in schools taught in English than they did in bilingual classes! In other words, the melting pot does work and it works for everybody.
Under the new rules in California, Spanish-speaking students go to school both to learn English and to learn their subjects. Spanish-speaking students are prospering and learning as they never did in bilingual schools.
According to the New York Times, Ken Noonan likened the change in his position on bilingual education over the past two years to a “religious conversion.” Noonan had founded the California Association of Bilingual Educators more than 30 years ago. He is now a school superintendent in Oceanside, and he warned in 1998 that children “newly arrived from Mexico and Central America would stop coming to school if they were not gradually weaned off Spanish in traditional bilingual classes.”
Now he admits he was wrong, saying ‘The exact reverse occurred, totally unexpected by me. The kids began to learn, not to pick up, but to learn,
formal English, oral and written, far more quickly than I had ever thought they would. “The average kid in Oceanside who had been classified as possessing “limited English’jumped 19 percent over the last two years to the 32nd percentile from the 13th. The implications of this are very important.
A number of states are considering following California’s example. Now they probably will.
Most important of all, it is a victory for America and a victory for our new immigrants. All Americans will benefit by our new arrivals rapid integration into our society. All Americans will benefit because we will be one nation,
not two nations, and our newcomers will benefit because they will not be a separate society.
Charles D. Snelling is an Allentown-based entrepreneur and Republican Party activist. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org