Mismanaging multiculturalism : The official English movement in the United States

Book chapter


Stevens, Rachel. (2011). Mismanaging multiculturalism : The official English movement in the United States. In In Lobo, Michelle, Marotta, Vince and Oke, Nicole (Ed.). Intercultural relations in a global world pp. 13-28 Common Ground Publishing LLC.
AuthorsStevens, Rachel
EditorsLobo, Michelle, Marotta, Vince and Oke, Nicole
Abstract

[Extract] This chapter will analyse political debates on recognising English as the official language during three early flashpoints of this movement: the congressional hearings on the ELA in 1984 and 1988, Californian hearings on Proposition 63 in 1986 and debates in the US House of Representatives on the English Language Empowerment Act in 1996. These debates are important because the designation of English as the official language and the rollback of linguistic-based entitlements represents a rejection of the principles of multiculturalism (that is, the notion that the government has an important role to play in maintaining and developing minority cultures, whether the minority groups are formed on the basis of language use, religion or ethnicity). Consequently, in the late twentieth century language policies were at the centre of debates on the meaning, and application, of multiculturalism in the US. The existence of large numbers of linguistic minorities – predominantly Spanish-speakers – in the United States arguably presents that country with potential opportunities for cross-cultural engagement within the nation and the advancement of diplomatic and trade objectives across Latin America. In this sense, then, legislators who supported the official English movement were mismanaging multiculturalism.

Page range13-28
Year2011
Book titleIntercultural relations in a global world
PublisherCommon Ground Publishing LLC
Place of publicationChampaign, IL
ISBN 9781863359047
Research or scholarlyResearch
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All rights reserved
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Output statusPublished
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Print2011
Publication process dates
Deposited25 Feb 2022
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