Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Multikulti" has failed

So says Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, at a recent gathering of members of the ruling Christian Democratic Union, a conservative German political party. She said that immigrants needed to do more to integrate into their society, including learning German.

Clarifying, she did go on to say that "should not be a country either which gives the impression to the outside world that those who don't speak German immediately or who were not raised speaking German are not welcome here."

In Europe and America, immigrants have created separate cultures within the cultures of their host countries. Personally, I've seen whole neighborhoods in Los Angeles where I cannot read a single store sign or billboard -- Koreatown is one example, and Glendale and parts of Hollywood are nearly totally Armenian, and there are still other neighborhoods near Downtown L.A. where Spanish is the predominant language.

In America, I think more integration is necessary, including the learning of English. And it needs to come from the top, whether the federal or state government. I'm not a big supporter of bilingual education. If we want to teach immigrant kids English, then teach in English in an immersion-style program. I have two friends' kids who are in Spanish-immersion school programs, where they speak nothing in class but Spanish all day, and they can speak English when they get home with their parents or on their free time. The problem is that Spanish is only one of the many languages spoken here. But at some point, don't school administrators need to set priorities about which languages will get attention, and the other will have to make due?

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