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The Mail

No Comprendo

Posted 6/30/2010

I would like to respond to the letter in City Paper which asks the question, should we make Spanish our second language ("Immigrate Legally, and Don't Make Us Learn Spanish," The Mail, June 9).

I feel that Spanish has been our second language for the last 20 years. Every time you make a phone call you're asked to press 1 for English or 2 for Español or stay on the line. When you purchase any type of electronic equipment, the directions are always in English as well as Spanish. When you refill a prescription at the pharmacy, the directions are always in English and Spanish.

Many government documents or directions are in Spanish and English. There are a variety of Spanish web sites, television stations, and radio stations. I wouldn't mind learning more Spanish but it would be a waste of time, because all of my Spanish-speaking friends laugh at the way we Americans (black or white), try to speak to them in their native language.

There are many Spanish contractors and sponsors which only hire Latinos and not Americans. Some of them speak no English at all. (I experienced this when I applied for a job 5 years ago, and they wouldn't hire me because I could not speak Spanish fluently; 90 per cent of the labor force was Hispanic and there were only two or three Caucasians and no blacks.)

There are a lot of car dealerships, insurance companies, and real estate companies which proudly display a huge sign which says se hablo español. I wouldn't mind learning "advanced Spanish," but with everything already in Spanish, this might discourage those Hispanics who do speak very little or no English at all to keep on speaking Spanish and not to worry about speaking English.

Charles Washington

Corrections: Last week's feature, "Cleaning Up" (June 23), erroneously reported that the state's Primary Adult Care insurance program does not cover buprenorphine treatment, when in fact it does.

And last week's Mobtown Beat story on last-minute City Council budget wrangling ("Here's That Rainy Day," June 23) misreported lobbyist Bruce Bereano's paymaster in the bottle-tax fight. He is a lobbyist for Safeway Food and Drug, the Maryland Liquor Distributors Association, and the Maryland Tobacco and Candy Distributors Association, not a local Coca-Cola bottler. City Paper regrets the error.

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