To which I can only say “Surprise, surprise, surprise.” Of course. If this whole thing doesn’t have the stink of “The whole world must accomodate me, but I do not have to accomodate it, because I am THE WHITE MAN!!!!!” on it, I just don’t know what does.
I’m not the world’s most travellingist person and the only other language I even know more than four words in is spoken only by people who live in a place I will never, in my lifetime, get to (unless things rapidly change with Cuba, I guess, before all the old-schoolers have died off). But I’ve been to places where people spoke primarily French and Spanish and I have to tell you, I would have been up shit creek if there weren’t signs also in English.
But more importantly, I probably wouldn’t have gone to those places. And I went to those places on business. But I don’t believe the conferences I was attending would have occured if the people throwing the conferences couldn’t count on non-native speakers being able to navigate the way from the airport to the hotels and then to the conference centers.
And that’s a thousand or two people who descended on those cities during non-touristy times of the year bringing with them their expense accounts.
I know that one of those conferences will never come to Tennessee because of our perceived hostility to Hispanics (and I’m guessing that the other never will both because of that and our love of oppressing gay people). Now, you can argue that English-only is only a city-level thing and that individual businesses will still be able to do what they want. But I’m telling you that it’s perceived by people outside the state as being so hostile to non-English speakers that they do not want to come to our city AND SPEND MONEY.
So let’s talk about white nationalism just for a minute because I want to tell you as clearly as I can that this is how it works. White racists not only don’t mind if non-whites suffer, white racists expect most white people (and yes, including other racists) to sacrifice their own well-being for the cause.
Consider little Adolf Hitler Campbell. You think he signed up for a name that pretty much guarantees his options in life are severely limited? Oh well, tough shit, Dolphie, we’ve all got to sacrifice for the Great White Way. You think John Tanton gives two shits abou the jobs that might not come here–I mean, seriously, how are we going to say “Welcome, foreign investors” when we’re also so clearly saying “But fuck you and your funny-sounding friends”?
Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this. Why is the Nissan headquarters in Cool Springs and not Nashville? There’s no place in Davidson county to put an office campus? Or is it more likely that Williamson County has sold itself to the world as an affluent, understanding place where the right kinds of people (with the right kinds of money) can settle in easily?
The whole principal of white nationalism works under a two-fold belief. One is that white people are obviously better than everyone else (and thus, when we remove ourselves from the world and the world falls apart without our great leadership, we can have some great “I told you so” moment) and that we are so important and that the world cannot make do without us that the world can be forced to play by our rules–in this case, doing business with the city in only “our” language.
We are not so important that the world has to play by our rules. Nashville can go ahead and adopt English-only and, yes, it’s true that some people in the city will suffer as intended–because they don’t speak English–but the real suffering is going to be financially for all of us, because people who don’t want to be associated with a white nationalist agenda will not do business with us.
There is no great victory in that.