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Now Hiring: Must Be Fluent In Spanish

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Now Hiring: Must Be Fluent in Spanish

In the late 1400s, a very well known man named Christopher Columbus arrived into what was called “the new world.” He was on a voyage on behalf of Spain to find an easier way to get to India. Christopher and his men headed westward of the globe instead of the usual east. At that time, they did know that the world was round, but they were unaware that there was more land on the earth than what they had imagined. After months of suffering on the ships, the men finally reached land. This was not the land that they presumed it to be, but it was still land. Once they arrived on shore, they were overjoyed of the fact that they had somehow found another route to India, and therefore began calling the residences of this area, “Indians.” To their knowledge, the Caribbean was India. They soon sought out to conquer gold and other jewels, but to their despair, there was no gold, no jewels, and most of all, no India. They soon realized that they had landed in a whole different hemisphere. Though, there is much controversy on who arrived to the western hemisphere first, it is somewhat apparent that these were the first of Spaniards to get there. Due to misguidance and misconception, Spaniards were sent to find treasure, but found our very own America. While in the “new world,” the Spanish did try their best to convert the so called “Indians” to change the way they lived, what they believed and even what they spoke.

After losing much land to the British, the Spanish were still residing in smaller parts of this land such as present day Texas and Florida. Soon, these territories were seized as well, leading the Spanish affluence to permanently reside in present day Central and South America. Since the beginning of Texan History, the Spanish have made many contributions. These include: monuments, street names, educational buildings, government buildings, residential buildings, food, and most importantly, language. Though, the Spanish were conquered by the English, many Spanish-speakers still remained. The national “melting pot,” therefore, was spiced up with a zest of Spanish along with all the other tastes of the world. America welcomed people from all around the world to help populate the beautiful land, such Germans, Russians, Japanese, Chinese, and the list goes on. If one were to look at just Texas, they will come to see that it is a very well “melted” or diverse state in which hundreds of different cultures collide.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau of 2000, “27.1 million…Hispanics lived in the seven states with Hispanic populations of 1.0 million or more (California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Arizona, and New Jersey)” (U.S Census Bureau 2000). And in the 2005 Texas Census Bureau, Hispanic and Latin Originators populated the state of Texas by 35.1 percent (Texas Census Bureau 2005). The population of Spanish speakers has been increasing at an overwhelming rate which can potentially pull this minority into the realm of majority, as far as state population is considered. With these facts in mind, it becomes a question of whether to learn the Spanish language as more and more individuals fill our neighborhoods. Just recently, Texas faced a border patrol problem with immigrants arriving in groups from Mexico. That issue was mainly about immigration and human rights, but we must look deeper into the situation. The increasing conflict of migrants being able to live a normal life in America is the lack of communication skills in English. Though, many that arrive go to schools and institutes, one cannot conclude that they all learn the English language. Especially the elderly, who come here, but are never obliged to learn the language. It should be a concern of Texans, especially Houstonians to help bridge the gap by learning their language. Its about time we take a taste of our own medicine. If all the migrants learn English to live peacefully in this state, then it should be a resolution for people of Texas to learn Spanish. If thirty-five percent of the population is not reason enough, then I do not know what is.

Also according to the Texas Census Bureau of 2005, 31.2 percent of the population in Texas spoke another language at home besides English. And of the 31.2 percent, 27 percent spoke Spanish, which means 5,195,182 residence of Texas speak only Spanish at home (Texas Census Bureau, 2005). Due to these facts, many jobs have started to require applicants to be “bilingual,” in other words, be fluent in Spanish, to better assist the consumers. Even before this data, according to Debra Chanil and Don Longo, authors of Progressive Grocer, “In 2004, Hispanics had $686 billion in spending power, and that number is estimated to grow to $992 billion by 2009” (Chanil and Longo, 2004). However, a retail store may not be the only place where it may be considered important to be fluent in Spanish. Other areas such as banks, business offices, lawyer offices, clinics and hospitals also seek those that can suffice for both the English and Spanish language. Not too long ago when I was looking for a job at a nearby clinic, I handed my resume to the kind lady at the window who knew my parents. As she looked at my resume, she asked me: “Do you speak Spanish as well?” I told her that I was not fluent in Spanish, and that I only knew a few phrases. She told me that they were seeking someone who was



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