California threatens to ban “language discrimination”

This one is so out there I barely know where to start (that and I’m just tired).

The state senate in California has approved a bill that would prevent businesses from “discriminating” on the basis of language. From the LA Times:

“…the state Senate acted today to prohibit businesses in California from discriminating against customers, including refusing them service, based on the language they use.”

So a guy speaking Lithuanian tries to order at my restaurant, and I can’t serve him because I can’t understand him – would I be a criminal under the new law? Don’t know if they’ve fully worked that out yet…

This reminds me of a story I once heard about regulations on doctors offices. I don’t know the details or in which state this is the case, but it goes something like the following. A patient visits a doctor for a consultation, and whatever the diagnosis is, apparently the patient needs to come back for a series of visits, including surgery or some other procedure. The patient doesn’t speak English, although she does sign and has an interpreter.

According to this story – and I’m inclined to believe it – the doctor is responsible for paying for the interpreter. And he can’t make it up by charging the patient any more than he would anyone else for the same procedure. Equal access, you know.

Presumably you could see similar situations and worse across California should this new bill become law.

This legislation is a threat to the human and civil rights of all Californians. It violates their right to engage in the mutual, voluntary, peaceful exchange of goods and services between free individuals. And it risks enormous practical damage to the livelihoods of many if this becomes the reality.

Finally, this bill divides our nation by working against assimilation and a common language.  It is a direct assault on the notion “Out of Many, One.”

Let me be clear (this should go without saying, but, things that go without saying should often be said anyway): I am a staunch proponent of the freedom in this country that allows people to speak any language they want. I always seek civility among the inhabitants of this great nation, whether they be citizens or residents, whether they speak the English language or another tongue. And learning and speaking a foreign language is a good thing to do; my own modest knowledge of the Spanish language has enriched my life and I look forward to improving and possibly studying another language at some point.

However, the proposed law has nothing to do with any of that. Instead, it is very simply a forceful use of government to take away people’s freedoms, threaten their commerce, and divide us as a people.

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1 Comment

Filed under Culture, General & Miscellaneous, Immigration

One response to “California threatens to ban “language discrimination”

  1. Stacey

    I’ve been thinking about the Deaf person not needing to pay for their own interpreter at the doctor’s office…. I would campare that to people in wheelchairs never needing to pay for the wheelchair ramps requried by building codes for accessibility. Funny how we assume that a Deaf person should pay for their own interpreter, but we never assume that people in wheelchairs should pay for the construction of wheelchair ramps…. just a thought.

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