Spanish and English are equally American

As a Science Fair participant, my older son had to work on a project, (which, as many parents know, means we end up spending money.) This project was no different and soon enough my son told us he needed to print photos to make the display board look more interesting. Since our printer is horribly outdated, we headed to Wal-Mart’s photo center.

As we worked on one of the computers to upload and print the photos, our younger son played on another touch screen right next to us, clicking around to amuse himself. At one point he clicked on the language option and told me “Look! You can do it in Spanish!” — But the fact that there was a Spanish option available didn’t surprise me.

What surprised me was that above the English option was an American flag… And above the Spanish option was…

another American flag. Kind of symbolic don’t you think?

Posted on March 21, 2012, in Culture, Language and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Beautiful!!! Que viva Los Estados Unidos de America!!!! Ajuuuuaaaaa!!! :)

  2. I love it! Spanish is totally a language of the United States, and rightly so.

  3. Sorry Dinita, I don’t share your enthusiasm. Having just begun reading a thick book I’ve had on my To Be Read stack for over a year, I am somewhat offended by that (don’t like Wal-Mart to begin with) second US flag. The history of treatment of ALL ethnic groups by the US government — including mine, which is poor white!! — is appalling. And the US interactions with Mexico from Day One until about now (if one digs deep enough to see much of the chicanery that went on) is just as reprehensible. 2012 might finally be the Year of the Latino (Ricky Martin was WAY ahead of his time, and all the ‘token’ Latinos who preceeded and followed him made not a dent in the US mentality), but I’m not counting on it to prevail. I love the Mexican flag for its beauty and its patriotic meaning, even if the government behind it is just as full of fault as is that of the US. BTW, that book is The Life and Times of Mexico by Earl Shorris.

    • No one will deny the history of this country, which at times is not a proud one – but I think you’re digging way too deep on this.

      The Mexican flag is indeed beautiful – but it doesn’t represent native Spanish speakers in the US who have come here from other countries or Spanish speakers who were born right here. When my Salvadoran husband chooses the “Spanish” option on a menu like this, why should he have to click on a Mexican or Spanish (Spain) flag all the time?

      I think this is beautiful because it’s all inclusive and it shows people like my boys, who were born here, that whether they speak English or Spanish, they are just as American as anyone else.

      • Gracias Tracy…you took the words right out of my mouth!!! I don’t agree with how my country has treated other countries and other ethnicities living in this country but it’s still MY COUNTRY! And because of that, I celebrate anything that moves us forward and away from discrimination and ignorance. I dislike wal-mart and how it conducts business but in this I congratulate them.

  4. I like this!! Like you said Tracy, it includes all of these different spanish speaking communities in the US. Asimismo creo que los hispanohablantes en Estados Unidos tenemos un español similar. Claro que cada uno de nosotros habla el español que se no ha enseñado dentro de nuestra cultura, pero no hay que olvidar que al mismo tiempo estamos creando un español diferente, mezclando el spanglish por ejemplo. Me da mucho gusto que se este reconociendo este fenómeno cultural! aunque sea una simple bandera, por algo se empieza!

  5. In understanding minorities and injustice, not to mention politics, one can’t dig too deep. I was never political growing up, and the only history I read until recentlyl was just enough to write my novels. But to accept the US as the answer to the world’s problems is a recipe for disaster. Just because we have a born-in-America (what about the OTHER America?) contingent who loves the freedom, shopping, and glitzy US icons, doesn’t mean we all have to see nothing but voting on American Idol and such ilk as a way to prosperity. This country is morally, spiritually, and increasingly financially bankrupt, and if anyone here thinks differently, you’re watching too much tv. I’d bet if you actually read what Shorris says in his book, you wouldn’t be so ready to defend the US takeover of Latino thought processes and pocketbooks. Sorry to create a stir, but maybe it’s a good thing to prevent history repeating itself.

    • This really isn’t about Wal-Mart, in fact, I would bet that Wal-Mart had nothing to do with that machine showing an American flag for U.S. Spanish – it is probably programmed that way from the manufacturer.

      Whether Wal-Mart does business morally and should be supported is a whole other can of worms. I’m not even going there because I feel that takes us off topic.

      As for “to accept the US as the answer to the world’s problems is a recipe for disaster” – Who said the US is the answer to the world’s problems? … To me this is just an illogical argument which I can’t even respond to since this wasn’t even part of the discussion.

      I also don’t think it’s nice to insinuate people who don’t agree with your perspective “watch too much TV” and that they’d be more intelligent if they were reading the particular book you’re reading.

      Your comments today are kind of insulting, which surprises me since you’ve commented and E-mailed me in the past. I’d appreciate if you took it down a notch. While I always welcome debate and intelligent discussion in comments on my blog, I don’t like the negative vibe I’m getting here.

  6. The thing that got me so hot under the collar is the idea that Wal-mart makes a half-hearted concession to the Latino populace; why not put a generic flag, if they want to appeal to Mexicans, Salvadorans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, etc? I certainly understand why the national flag of Spain wasn’t used! LOL. I recently subscribed (and consequently unsubscribed for it became repetitious) to a newsletter for US advertisers who were in a tizzy about how to best appeal to Latinos in this country. Most of them had no clue, but all were aware of the rise in Latino numbers and spending power. They spent measureless bandwidth discussing what will work and what might not. Corporate greed is after you. That’s what riled me.

  7. “but I think you’re digging way too deep on this.” While I barely scratched the surface in my first post, I guess I struck a nerve. Or three. Wal-mart might not have produced or programmed their machine, but they made the choice to use it. IMO, that was relevant to the discussion. And in the flood of immigrants from many other countries to the US signifies that they see the US as the answer to their problems, without any thought of what problems are here, one of them being the Wal-mart mentality.

    Sorry if my ideas seem off topic and my opinion came across as insulting. It won’t happen again.

  8. Hello everyone . Hi Tracy. This is Ulysses ( Salvadorian ). And I am really agree with you. This country is really the best because The U. E. always tries to adapt to the new times. The U. S. always tries to give its technology easily so that everyone can manage or understand the progress. If this country discovers many people speaking spanish in some region into its boards, well the progress and the develope will not be stopped for those people. The best way is to try to close to these people and teach them to adapt . That is the American System. I am sorry about my writig because I am learnig English.

    • Hi Ulysses! Thanks for your comment. I agree that with the number of Spanish speakers in the United States it makes sense for there to be a Spanish option to help people adapt while they are still learning. Good for you working on your English. Being bilingual is a great asset!

    • Ulysses – I got your comment. Don’t worry! :) Sometimes, (especially if you comment as “Anonymous”), the comment won’t come through immediately. I will approve it and it will appear.

      Saludos!

  9. Amiga, I smiled HUGE when I got to the punchline on this post. My interpretation, here, is that speaking Spanish is as American as speaking English, and seeing as this is the United States, a U.S. flag over Spanish would make sense. That is the point for me. I think it’s great to be informed on history, especially that of which we’re the least proud (which there’s a lot!), but the fact remains — if we choose to live in the U.S., we are Americans, regardless of the language(s) we speak. Even imperfectly so. Awesome, awesome post!

  10. Love this!! Spanish has been present in the US longer than English has!

  11. great find! you are so good at noticing things that most of us might walk right past.

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