Argument: Official English driven by anti-immigrant and racist sentiments

Issue Report: English as US official language

Support “Who is Behind the English Only Movement?

The English Only movement is the organized effort to make English the official language of the United States. It’s led principally by a well-funded multi-million dollar right wing organization called U.S. English, which boasts a membership of over 570,000. U. S. English has successfully lobbied for the passage of English Only laws in 18 states (out of 22 total English Only states) since its founding in 1983.

Although U.S. English’s propaganda often suggests otherwise, the racism and anti-immigrant philosophies are readily evident when we examine some of U. S. English’s roots. Dr. John Tanton, principal founder and architect of U.S. English, is also the founder and former chairman of the anti-immigration organization, FAIR ( Federaton for American Immigration Reform). FAIR is the leading national agency promoting the current wave of legislation and policy restricting immigration and denying benefits for immigrants. FAIR and U.S. English are on a list of anti-immigration and population-control organizations supported by Dr. Tanton’s personal non-profit umbrella, U.S. Inc. Other organizations on that list include: the Center for Immigration Studies, Californians for Population Stabilization, and Americans for Border Control.

Dr. Tanton’s racist views on immigrants, particularly regarding Latinos, were reflected in a 1986 memo that was leaked out – warning about the specter of an Hispanic take-over of the United States: ” … in a society where the majority rules… Will the present majority peaceably hand over its political power to a group that is simply more fertile… As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night?” As the result of the negative publicity related to the memo, Dr. Tanton was forced to resign as Chairman of U. S. English. However, U.S. English’s propaganda machine has successfully deflected the Tanton controversy by reinventing some of its history. The late Senator S. I. Hayakawa of California, the former honorary chairman, is now described as the lone founder of U.S. English in all its literature.

Another questionable source of U.S. English’s earlier funding was the Pioneer Fund, which supports eugenics research for racial betterment. Pioneer Fund was created in 1937 to support what it called “applied genetics in present day Germany”, referring to Hitler’s program of forced sterilization. In the 1970’s, the Pioneer Fund also financed the research of William Shackle and Arthur Jenson on Blacks and lower IQ’s.

The third principal funding source for U.S. English was Mellon heiress Cordelia Scaife May, who poured at least $5.8 to U.S. English, FAIR and other affiliated organization over the 1980’s through her Laurel Foundation. May’s Laurel Foundation sponsored the publication of The Camp of the Saints, a futuristic novel about the destruction of European civilization by third world immigrants.”

Derek Bickerton. “The folly of English-only.” Psychology Today. May 20, 2010: “English-only is racism lite. It pits mostly whites against many who have darker skins. If America prides itself on treating everyone equally and being the land of the free, it should grant everyone who lives here the freedom to do their business, personal or official, in their own native language.”[1]