Tuesday, August 26, 2008

LPGA to Members- Speak English!

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has figured out a basic truth that seems to have eluded our elected leaders (and much if not most of the American media)- if you want to work in the United States, you need to be able to speak English. According to a story posted today on Fox Sports, the LPGA is requiring all members who have been on the tour for at least two years to pass an English proficiency examination. If they do not, their membership will be suspended.

According to the story,written by Beth Ann Baldry of Golfweek.com,
For the past several years, the LPGA has impressed upon its membership the importance of communicating effectively in English. As the game's dominance shifts to the East, the LPGA has strengthened its stance. Learning English no longer is a tour suggestion; it's a requirement.

At a mandatory South Korean player meeting Aug. 20 at the Safeway Classic, the tour informed its largest international contingent that beginning in 2009, all players who have been on tour for two years must pass an oral evaluation of their English skills. Failure would result in a suspended membership.

However, the best quote in the story comes toward the end, when the writer quotes Kate Peters, who is the executive director of the LPGA State Farm Classic tournament. She said upon hearing the news,
"This is an American tour. It is important for sponsors to be able to interact with players and have a positive experience."

Imagine that. If you want to participate in an American-hosted event, you need to be able to communicate in English. If the LPGA can understand that basic fact, why is it so difficult for our politicians and our media? The United States of America is a country built on the English language, and with a core of English- based institutions.

When I visit Japan (which I do on a fairly regular basis) I do not expect Japanese officials, or my Japanese friends to speak to me in English. When I go to the store, I certainly do not expect to ask for help from the clerks in English. And if I visit the local government offices, i don't expect to see English documents. I am in Japan- the language is Japanese.

The same is true of my visits to Mexico. While Mexico is not one of my favorite places to visit (the corrupt 'police' and government place it fairly low on my list of Places To See), I do not expect to speak English in Mexico, nor do I expect to be addressed in that language. They speak Spanish- a debased form of Spanish to be true, but still Spanish.

So why do we bend over backward in this county to allow foreigners to speak any language that suits them in their dealings with officialdom? Why do we offer ballots in languages other than English? why do i see signs in Spanish when i visit the Department of Motor Vehicles? This is absurd. If you are a foreigner to the United States, it behooves you to l;earn English if you want to get by in our society. If you cannot or will not learn the language, then do not expect much sympathy from me- you can always go back to your home country. No one is forcing you to be in this country.

My wife came from Japan. When we first met, her English was essentially non-existent. However, she has worked hard and now is working as a registered nurse in a US hospital- a position that requires a very high degree of English competency. The United States used to operate this way as a matter of course- foreigners needed to learn our language and culture. That is common sense.

The LPGA is to be commended for their courageous and entirely commonsensical stance on the matter of English competency. I can only hope that before the United States joins other cultures on the landfill of history that our elected leaders and our Press comes to the same realization as the leadership of the LPGA. If you wish to live/work/study in the United States of America, then you need to speak English. Period.

UPDATE: I actually scooped the awesome Michelle Malkin on this story? Cool!

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