Battlepanda: Anthem


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, May 01, 2006


So there is a flap over the Spanish version of the Star-Spangled Banner, for reasons I fail to fathom. The primacy of the English version, or the use of English in general in America, for that matter, is not in question. Why are people so threatened a Spanish version?

Kevin Drum, good moderate soul that he is, predictably tut-tuts the recent demonstrations as "too risky". Indeed, there has been a huge and hysterical reaction from the right. So, how should the immigrant-friendly left react?

Certainly not with silence, I think. I think I agree with Kevin that the potential for a nasty backlash is there...there is alot of anti-hispanic nastiness in this country. The right wing crowd is certainly dominating the conversation in the blogisphere at the moment.

I think the key is to get back to what the original producers were trying to accomplish:
While critics sketch a nightmare scenario of a Canada-like land with an anthem sung in two languages, immigrant rights advocates say they agree learning English is essential. Studies of immigrant families suggest the process is inevitable: Eighty-two percent to 90 percent of the children of immigrants prefer English.

"The first step to understanding something is to understand it in the language you understand, and then you can understand it in another language," said Leo Chavez, director of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California at Irvine. "What this song represents at this moment is a communal shout, that the dream of America, which is represented by the song, is their dream, too."

Why stop at a spanish translation? I'd be glad to do a Chinese translation of the Star Spangled banner. Not because the Chinese want to take over America, but because America is a multi-cultural country and there should be nothing very controversial about having our anthem in different languages.