Friday, September 24, 2010

Politicians Speak in Code

"The Vietnamese and the Republicans are - with an intensity - trying to take away this seat..."

That was Loretta Sanchez on Univision, talking about her opponent Van Tran. It's relevant that this quote is translated from Spanish.

It's amazing how often even in 2010 people feel safe using the opacity of a language barrier to (publicly) say things to one community that they wouldn't dare say to a wider audience - and how often the press and the public lets them get away with it. It's the same with Spanish-language radio, which gets away with language that would bring the FCC down on any English-speaking radio host. But this controversy is cause for optimism. The time when public figures could talk out of both sides of their mouths in different languages is now ending.

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