Friday, February 10, 2012

Candidate kicked off of ballot for not speaking English good.

Er, well. I mean well.

A Yuma County, Arizona judge has disqualified a City Council candidate from running because of her poor English skills. Alejandrina Cabrera admits that she speaks only a little English, but adds that she can understand and read it. She can understand and speak well enough to have an interview with The New York Times.

 San Luis, the town she was running in, is 90% Mexican-American. It is a Spanish speaking town. People go shopping, they speak Spanish. They go to the gas station, they speak Spanish. They see a doctor, they speak Spanish. And when town residents go to speak at council meetings, they speak Spanish.

Everybody speaks Spanish all the frigging time.

But Spanish with a bit of English speaking apparently isn't good enough to carry out the duties of the City Council.

The judge based his decision on the 1910 law that granted Arizona statehood. Part of the act was a requirement that all elected office holders must be able to speak English without the aid of a translator. That requirement was, and is, pure racism. The white Congress and the white powers that be didn't want any of the brown, Spanish speaking Mexicans, who still remembered when Arizona was still part of Mexico, to run for office. With an English only requirement, the Arizona statehouse had better chances of being white only. It was racism then, and it's racism now.

A causal glance at the current Republican primary race shows that intelligence, honor, morals, ethics, compassion, empathy, or common sense are not requirements for high office. So, I do not understand why English is necessary for a city council candidate in a town that is 90% Spanish speaking.

The only requirement is getting enough voters to elect her. That should be enough.

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