Posted by: sbilingual | November 15, 2009

Hotel owner makes Hispanic employees ’shorten’ Spanish names

October 12th, 2009
A hotel owner in Taos, Texas recently asked that all his Hispanic employees “shorten” their names to something a little more “American.” According to an article posted by Asylum, the new boss mandated the following upon his takeover:

1. No speaking Spanish in front of the boss.
2. Everyone’s fired and has to re-apply for their jobs.
3. It’s “strongly suggested” that employees shorten their long, silly Spanish names. (”Who has the time to say ‘Marcos?’ Why not Mark or Bill?” That’s actually a real example.)

Roberto Ruiz of the San Antonio Public Policy Examiner sees this as a strong case against America’s declaration as of late that we live in a “post-racial” society. He also points out that Hispanics make up the majority population in Taos.

It usually comes as a surprise to people when I mention that our republic does not have an “official language.” Wisely, this nation’s founders decided not to declare an official language, their reasons included “a belief in tolerance for linguistic diversity within the population, the economic and social value of foreign language knowledge and citizenry, and a desire not to restrict the linguistic and cultural freedom of those living in the new country.”

In a previous blog post, “What’s in a Hispanic name,” we’ve looked at the Hispanic naming system and how it is often confused in the United States, resulting in a loss of culture and identity for many Hispanic Americans (click here to go to the post).

Read Ruiz’s full column here.

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