Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 12, 2004

Ehrlich offends with remarks on multiculturalism

Apparently Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. thinks it is more important to kiss up to William Donald Schaefer by defending the state comptroller's inane remarks about our English-challenged citizens than to support the many newcomers to our state for whom he is also the governor ("Ehrlich calls multiculturalism `bunk,' `damaging to society,'" May 9).

But multiculturalism is a fact of life. And it is one of the things that daily enriches my life. I like rubbing shoulders with people who have come from other lands and cultures. On their behalf, I am deeply offended by the governor's remarks.

English is not an easy language to learn, and it has sounds that are very hard for foreigners to master. Understanding what is said is even more difficult than expressing oneself in a new language.

A little more consideration, a little humanity and a lot of common sense are needed by both the governor and the comptroller.

Bruce R. Eicher

Timonium

As a Democrat, I did not vote for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., but I held no rancor toward him. My opinion drastically changed when I heard his opinions on multiculturalism as "crap" and "bunk."

No one pays much attention to such talk from our "nothing to lose" former mayor and governor, but to hear it from Mr. Ehrlich is reprehensible.

He demeans himself by escalating a controversial subject that should have died with Mr. Schaefer's remarks.

Ellen Apple

Pikesville

Diversity enriches every one of us

As an educator in Baltimore, I was distressed to read that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., apparently in support of former Gov. William Donald Schaefer, disparaged the concept of multiculturalism on a radio talk show ("Ehrlich calls multiculturalism `bunk,' `damaging to society,'" May 9).

Educators work diligently teaching students to expand their horizons, to look at life beyond the provincial borders of city, county, state and country. History teaches us to understand, accept and respect the differences among us, not denigrate them. The varied gifts of each enrich the whole.

If we desire to live together peaceably, we must respect, not insult, our neighbors.

And I expect more leadership from our elected officials.

Jane Cayer

Baltimore

Immigrants created our powerful nation

The recent comments by state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. on multiculturalism serve to underscore an attitude of intolerance toward the rest of the world ("Ehrlich calls multiculturalism `bunk,' `damaging to society,'" May 9).

Mr. Ehrlich maintains that a nation cannot be sustained by multiculturalism. But the world's history for the last 400 years or so is also our history. We are a nation of immigrants, who have created the most powerful and influential country on the planet.

Our diversity has made us an innovative and productive nation.

The people now working in our fast-food restaurants will learn English and will have children who will learn English. These children will thrive in school, soaking up our culture like sponges and, in turn, contributing to the success of Mr. Ehrlich's and Mr. Schaefer's country.

Susan D. Little

Parkville

Cheap shot misses Schaefer's point

Would The Sun's editorial "Only in America" (May 7) have made the same points if Comptroller William Donald Schaefer had been critical of the manager of McDonald's who placed someone in a position to greet a customer, take an order, answer a question about the product or price, who apparently wasn't capable of doing so without an unreasonable effort on the part of the customer?

Isn't that the issue? I think that was Mr. Schaefer's point.

I read nothing in his comments that was an attack on immigrants. And I found the editorial's emphasis on his misspeak - "Americanized" - to be a cheap shot.

Fred Thompson

Baltimore

Ehrlich, Schaefer should try to teach

I strongly suggest that both the governor and the comptroller join classes in English as a second language as teachers ("Ehrlich calls multiculturalism `bunk,' `damaging to society,'" May 9).

That way, they can help to solve a problem rather than just complain about it.

Marie H. Storm

Towson

Enjoying our liberty, scorning language

Michael Olesker doesn't get it ("Schaefer's view flies in the face of the American way," May 7). When our country was young and people from other countries were coming here in droves, they took it as their task to learn English as quickly as they could to fit into their new world and get the jobs and opportunities they so wanted.

But that's not happening any longer. Instead, we have to post signs at businesses in foreign languages and repackage everything with instructions in multiple languages for those who obviously have no desire to learn our language while they languish in the freedoms and opportunities our country affords.

To live in this country, as in any other in the world, one must learn the language. Anything else is unacceptable, and I applaud state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer for making that point.

Dawn N. Bach

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