Have you seen any fishing shows on LinkedIn?
One person posts an idea or comment as bait. Someone else takes offense and responds harshly. The bait has been taken. The authors become aggressive as they battle. Inevitably one side makes fun of the other’s set of obtuse initials next to their name (Tom Jones, TSIHIRT) and then it’s over. Each side goes home that evening and tells their spouse an annoying story.
Especially the spouses.
For a “professional” forum, it’s all very unprofessional.
But amusing too.
Well, I got baited recently. It came in the form of the common question: “Why Don’t They Learn English?”
This question comes up frequently at Red Angle. So much so that I’ve given it an acronym WDTLE – pronounced (WAHT-lee) like dentist Dr. Tim Whatley from Seinfeld, now better known as that crazy bald guy on Breaking Bad.
Upon learning the basics of what Red Angle does, this LinkedInner asked publicly, “Why would I ever want to do this (this = learn Construction Spanish)?”
I love this question. I gave a short reply referencing the millions of Hispanics on our jobsites, their disproportionate propensity for injuries, and the opportunity to improve Productivity, limit Rework, and make his construction life easier.
His reply insinuated if Hispanics don’t learn English, they must not be appreciative. They lack gratitude.
“Then wouldn’t the best training be to teach them English?”
I believe the construction industry that built New York City throughout the first part of the 20th Century had a huge Polish, Italian, and German population.
English was the only language used in our country because those immigrants respected the opportunity America offered.”
This reply reminded me of the Dillingham Commission. The Dillingham Commission was a special congressional committee (but really… aren’t they all special?) formed to study the consequences of the massive waves of immigration entering the country.
The commission determined immigration posed a serious threat to American society. They recommended the human spigot of immigration be turned off. They proposed a reading and writing test to reduce the “undesirable immigration.”
Isn’t that written on the Statue of Liberty? “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… and fill out this Iowa Basics test. You have 60 minutes. Your time begins… now.”
The Dillingham Commission data dumped 41 volumes on the American public. Few people read it. Here is an excerpt:
“The new immigration as a class is far less intelligent as the old.… Generally speaking they are actuated in coming by different ideals, for the old immigration came to be part of a country, while the new, in a large measure, comes with the intention of profiting, in a pecuniary way, by the superior advantages of the new world….”
The Dillingham Commission faulted the new immigrants for their failure to assimilate and their inability to speak English.
This seemed to match the opinion of my LinkedIn friend. The immigrants that marched off the boat and began speaking English fluently (and immediately as they respected the opportunity…) en route to building New York City, in the early 1900’s.
When did the Dillingham Commission release its findings?
Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry. Hartmann did not refer to the Dillingham Commission in his reply to the LinkedIn Fisherman. He thanked him for his thoughts. And did not tell his wife about the experience later….
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