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View Diary: Right-wing bigots up in arms over Super Bowl commercial. No, another one. (454 comments)

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  •  I guess they should love it or leave it n/t (19+ / 0-)

    "If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, a hatchet, and a chisel to make a boat...go make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven't." T.Roosevelt on politics.

    by NCJan on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 11:39:14 AM PST

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    •  One of my facebook friends posted an (16+ / 0-)

      anti-Coke ad post. One of her friends had a hyphenated, distinctly Italian name. "People in this country should speak/sing in English or get out!", she posted.

      I answered, "(her full name here), I think it's a good thing for you that no one told your ancestors that when they came to America."

      Haven't heard back yet.

      "Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 01:00:40 PM PST

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      •  Give her a little helpful nudge? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gentle Giant, Back In Blue

        "But I do apologize, JVolvo, for you are arbiter of all that can and cannot be discussed and I bow down to your supremacy when it comes to what can be written on this website." WinSmith 1/22/2014 - "OK" JVolvo 1/23/2014 (sorry, Clive)

        by JVolvo on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 01:26:09 PM PST

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      •  Gentle Giant (14+ / 0-)

        A similar thing happened to me, and I am an Italian American, as is my silly cousin who posted the rant.

        When I called her on it in precisely the way you did, she came back with another rant talking about how OUR grandparents learned how to speak and write English and didn't expect any special treatment.

        We are from the same small town where most first generation people spoke both Italian and English -- in the stores and even in the schools. Their parents--the immigrants--never really mastered the English language. Italian was the language spoken in the homes of my grandparents when my parents were growing up.

        My own grandmother got special treatment from the immigration judge--who granted her citizenship in spite of her illiteracy and her difficulties with the language.  He said that she was a good wife and mother, a hard worker, and would make a good American.

        These people have selective amnesia.  They are stupid.  Thank goodness they are a minority.

        "If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, a hatchet, and a chisel to make a boat...go make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven't." T.Roosevelt on politics.

        by NCJan on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 01:57:54 PM PST

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        •  Same with my Grandmother who (6+ / 0-)

          never spoke English, only Portuguese.  My father spoke heavily accented English and he was born in Massachusetts.  No, it was not a Massachusetts accent. ;-)

          The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

          by MufsMom on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 04:45:43 PM PST

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          •  My mother's mother, my maternal grandma, (8+ / 0-)

            came to the U.S. between the world wars at the age of 14. There was already a German community in Rochester, NY, established before WWI, so she "had people" here.

            Still, in the stress of WWII, those not of her community might give her a rough time. She couldn't travel too far.

            My paternal grandmother was born in PA coal country, her older brothers born in Germany and traveling here with her parents before the first WW.
            While cleaning out her basement one day in the 90s, I found a wooden box with my uncle's WWII stuff. He charged Omaha Beach on D-Day, and when the war ended, he was a guard at a POW camp for the German soldiers.

            I said to my Grandma, "Uncle Walt could have been fighting against some of his own relatives!" For the one and only time in my life, she fixed me with a killer look and said, "So what's your point?"

            Half a century did not cool the sensitivities around that time, exacerbated by their heritage. I had hit a particularly raw nerve.

            When two of Uncle Walt's buddies who were with him on D-Day saw "Saving Private Ryan", they told him, "Walt, you gotta see this movie! It's so real, only you can't get shot!"
            "No thanks," he answered. "Once was more than enough for me."
            My kids wanted him to speak in their history class about the war. He kindly declined. He won't utter a word about it. We just celebrated his 94th birthday. In my card, I told him he is my hero. He was profoundly touched by that, and doesn't really understand why he should be.
            He is a good argument for the title of "Greatest Generation".

            "Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

            by Gentle Giant on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 07:17:29 PM PST

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            •  Thanks for the story Gentle Giant (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JuliathePoet, SilentBrook, Gary Owen

              My people settled in Rochester, NY too.

              I'm sure that Italian-Americans did not have the same problems as Germans during WWI and WWII.  My grandfather "fought" in WWI--was in the "Cavalry" of all places, stationed out in CA.

              My father "fought" in WWII--taking pictures of planes in Arizona.

              And back on the "home front" in Rochester? There was apparently a POW camp nearby, with a number of Italian war prisoners. My grandmother and mother and aunt took pasta to them regularly.

              I love that story!

              "If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, a hatchet, and a chisel to make a boat...go make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven't." T.Roosevelt on politics.

              by NCJan on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 09:05:08 AM PST

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              •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Gary Owen

                The government gave serious discussion and consideration on placing German-Americans and Italian-Americans into concentration camps like was done with the Japanese-Americans.
                It was decided that it wasn't a good idea, there would be too many to be able to be housed in any such camps and the mafia was keeping the docks safe from sabotage.

            •  Ironically, so could our President-to-be (0+ / 0-)

              The Eisenhower family immigrated to Kansas sometime in the 19th century, so young Dwight may have heard some German growing up.  I imagine there were some of his relatives on the other side ... and if military talent has any inherited basis, possibly higher ranking officers.

              Interesting how our government at that time did not automatically assume that German-Americans and Italian-Americans would be disloyal, but they DID assume that Japanese-Americans would be, if not imprisoned.  And those who did volunteer to fight for America were sent to Europe to fight Germans, NOT to the Pacific to fight Japanese.

        •  Same with my grandparends (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NCJan

          Both pure Sicilian.

        •  My grandfather came from Canada (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NCJan

          And steadfastly refused to learn American. He insisted on speaking Canadian English!

          ;-)

          •  Eh? n/t (0+ / 0-)

            "If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, a hatchet, and a chisel to make a boat...go make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven't." T.Roosevelt on politics.

            by NCJan on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 10:01:16 AM PST

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        •  minorities/coke (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NCJan

          It is very difficult to learn another language, especially when older and poor, working to support families. When I lived in RI it was not just Spanish people who had difficulty learning english . I lived near a wonderful old Italian man who could not speak english, but shared from his garden and fruit trees.  He spoke the language of kindness.  There were many older people of different nationalities who had difficulty with english as did many immigrants in the early 20th century but their descendants had a much better opportunity to learn . Furthermore, not all people have a gift for language.  The rich hire many people who are immigrants who will do the jobs that spoiled USA citizens will not.  I was an immigrant, but initially I got into the Laborers Union by working 10 hours a day in a 3 foot pipe under the Providence River, a job refused by all locals, and eventually became an MD.  I have known many physicians who were poor immigrants who worked hard and eventually learned English.  They became MD's because of the merits of hard work and family sacrifice.

          •  Learning English (0+ / 0-)

            It is very hard for most adults to learn a new language.  Immigrants by and large come to this country to seek a better life for their children, and are willing to work long and hard in menial jobs to achieve that goal. That was true in my family and in most families that I knew growing up in a majority Italian-American community.

            Achieving that goal in this country means that the children of immigrants will need to speak English.  That's just a fact. And that's what happens.

            Is it a terrible thing to try to ease the transition for those who will be, after all, helping to pay our Social Security?

             I don't think so but apparently many are just that sadly blind and unkind.

            "If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, a hatchet, and a chisel to make a boat...go make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven't." T.Roosevelt on politics.

            by NCJan on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 10:08:29 AM PST

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      •  The problem is they probably did tell her ancestor (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JuliathePoet, SilentBrook, Gary Owen

        to go home. My Irish ancestors were told to go home. They couldn't get work (no dogs or Irish need apply). They were treated like the dregs of society - until another group came in and the attention was focused. By that time, the Irish were well ingrained. Italians were treated the same until they decided to fight back.

        Every group that comes here faces discrimination of one form or another unless your physical appearance masks your origins. It is shameful and we should know better by now. Conservatives are terrified that we'll move away from speaking English and with the currently/long terms population shift they might be right. So they build walls and fences and believe that will stop what they believe will turn them into fossils.

        Nowadays conservatives audiences don't need help getting fired up. They've been trained to automatically respond. It's a trigger and it works every time. Very sad indeed.

        •  We'd be better off as a nation in a competitive (4+ / 0-)

          world if every immigrant family passed on the language and English to their descendents. Then we would have people that could, as many Europeans, be fluently multilingual and do business around the world. I'm language dumb, courses and even living with another language as an adult don't take (in fact I hated English courses). I'm glad my kids are multilingual and hope grandkids continue. Learn one extra during the language sponge days and it is a boost to more.

          It was fine and is fine to push English competency on immigrants, but that should go hand in hand with "for our national sake please pass your native one along too" because it is a national advantage.

          It was downright embarrassing to me to sit in some bar on the Continent and find the bartenders spoke fluently four or five languages. I remember asking a young lady with barely accented English how many she spoke, five fluently and could communicate well in two more, Russian and Polish. Yeah, felt like a really dumb idiot!

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 09:25:00 AM PST

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          •  My standing joke (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pelagicray, a gilas girl

            Is quite accurate.

            I can curse fluently in seven languages.
            I can have a high quality conversation in American English and real English.
            The rest, I muddle my way through in a few languages.

            •  Personally I find it both amusing and amazing at (0+ / 0-)

              the number of people I have known with real difficulty understanding English as spoken in the U.K., particularly those other than Received Pronunciation. Several times I've mentioned some program seen on our PBS and had a person mention that they cannot understand what is being said so they do not watch.

              Even with my "dead ear" to language, the one thing I just cannot pick up easily, I have little to no problem with those accents even when you get out to Wales and the Western Isles. Perhaps that comes from early reading of novels from across the pond because when I began traveling there both pronunciation and usage came pretty easily. And oh that usage! The cute words here or there that become "bad" words across the water!

              The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

              by pelagicray on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 03:49:53 AM PST

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        •  English not going to disappear (3+ / 0-)

          I have lived in Hawaii for 15 years.  Hawaii is 50 or 52% Asian, depending on your source and you rarely her any other language other than English.  If you do it is usually a tourist.  Other languages are spoken in the home but English is our common language.  Conservatives should not fear diversity for it insures that we will need a common language, and English is that language.

        •  The human memory is a deeply flawed (0+ / 0-)

          instrument. Two generations removed from the immigrant experience and no one in contemporary US can empathize any more.

          Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 07:46:05 AM PST

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        •  There are still traces of that prejudice. (0+ / 0-)

          The term "Paddy wagon" for a police bus used to transport prisoners (originally entire wagonloads of brawling saloon customers, who could be of any ethnicity, but the Irish or "Paddys" after the frequency of the name Patrick, were stereotyped as the biggest drunks and brawlers -- while in some cities most of the POLICE were Irish, not to mention Catholic priests).

          We still talk of "getting your Irish up" when getting angry.

          We (Americans) celebrate St. Patrick's Day, a solemn holy day for Irish Catholics (always in the middle of Lent, by the way), AS IF WE were the stereotyped 19th century "Paddys" -- by holding drunken parties, even those of us who only claim to be "Irish for a day."

          An "Irish" restaurant and pub in Clearwater, Florida has a "joke" item on its menu along with the real dishes: an Irish seven-course dinner, defined as a potato and six beers.

          And of course, the mascot and logo of Notre Dame University in Indiana, the "fighting Irish" with the cartoon drawing of a "leprechaun" with fists upraised.

          At least "Erin go bragh" has replaced "Erin go home."

      •  I'd have said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Owen

        "Puttana su mama" to her.

        We'll suffice it to say, it's extremely impolite Italian.
        A phrase that is guaranteed to get a knife in your ribs.

        But then, I'm Sicilian-American. We can be quite disagreeable at times.

      •  Probably because (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Owen

        they had to speak some english as a PREREQUISITE to entering Ellis Island.

      •  My family has lived continuously in what is now (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a gilas girl

        northern New Mexico (yes, that's in the good ol' USofA) since before 1600. My generation is the first to speak English as our first language.

        •  people tend to forget this, (0+ / 0-)

          don't they?

          I have a friend whose family still owns land in Texas that was part of a land grant from the King of Spain in the 17th century.

          Human memory = deeply flawed instrument.  Doesn't carry well over the generations at all.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 08:58:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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