Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 18, 2004

Many languages would generate much confusion

The Sun's editorial criticizing Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s remarks on the language issue was the perfect explanation of why multiculturalism run amok is not good for America ("No bunk," May 13).

Can you imagine if every street sign was written in four or five different languages? It would be utter chaos.

My grandparents were immigrants to this country, and they quickly learned English and assimilated. At home, they kept their ethnicity intact.

There is a stark difference between ethnic pride and multiculturalism. The former simply celebrates heritage; the latter creates divisions and ill will because it seeks to create privileges and rewards based on ethnicity or race.

Do we really want another Bosnia on our hands?

David Blair

Towson

I agree with The Sun's comments that "Maryland is a society of many cultures" and "Maryland needs more people of all talents, no matter their country of origin" ("No bunk," editorial, May 13). However, its criticism of the remarks by our comptroller and governor misses the point.

For a society of many cultures to work, it must have a common ground for communication. The host nation's language has always been the most efficient means of accomplishing that objective.

Otherwise, all the talent in the world won't produce a functioning society.

S. M. Schmidt

Baltimore

What alternative to multiculturalism?

Concerning Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s statements about multiculturalism being "bunk" ("Ehrlich has no apology as immigrants protest," May 13), I think maybe he might want to explain what he means exactly by multiculturalism. I always considered multiculturalism to be the celebration of what makes us unique and gives us strength as a nation.

We derive our unique standing in the world both from our heritage of being the first democracy in the Western world and from the energy and drive of immigrants who are inspired to sacrifice to join us. Does Mr. Ehrlich believe this should no longer be the case?

The opposite of multiculturalism would be monoculturalism. In the effort to eliminate "crap" multiculturalism, would Mr. Ehrlich wish to discourage the sale of sauerkraut at Thanksgiving - as too German? Would we forgo pizza and spaghetti - too Italian? No longer listen to jazz and the blues - too African?

Would we send back the Statue of Liberty because she was born in France, or because we don't believe in what she says anymore? Or are we only going to single out the new immigrants - the Hispanics, the Asians, the Africans - because they aren't a part of where we have been?

More important, when we have eliminated all aspects of multiculturalism from our lives, what would we have left? And who would be deciding on our officially sanctioned "monoculture"?

Maybe I need to tell my (Scottish-Irish-German-Pakistani) American children that this is not a safe place to celebrate the diversity they embody.

Maybe my hardworking father, who spoke no English when he got here but still eventually earned a college degree, saw only a mirage of opportunity when he came here.

Or maybe Mr. Ehrlich needs to look at the motto on the humble penny: E Pluribus Unum - out of many, one.

Yasmin Cooper

Baltimore

Differences boost nation's strength

At a time when our national policy in Iraq is in crisis - a crisis made worse by a misunderstanding of and lack of sensitivity to cultures different from our own - it is especially ironic to hear multiculturalism referred to as "bunk," "crap" and "damaging to the society" ("Ehrlich has no apology as immigrants protest," May 13).

Multiculturalism does not denigrate the American culture, but enhances and strengthens it.

We in the United States need more multicultural experience and awareness, not less, if we are to be effective in the world community.

Pamela Zappardino

Westminster

Schaefer's courage prompts criticism

For having had the temerity to question the shibboleth of multiculturalism, Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer now finds himself being denounced by Sun icons Michael Olesker ("Schaefer's view flies in the face of the American way," May 7), Dan Rodricks ("Ehrlich comments translate into real bunk," May 13) and KAL (editorial cartoon, May 13).

But at least Mr. Schaefer has brightened my mornings recently.

James A. Genthner

Timonium

Ehrlich's language demeans his dignity

What has been glossed over in the uproar over Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s recent comments is what the use of the words "crap" and "bunk" to express an opinion tells us about the governor's maturity, dignity, temperament and character ("Ehrlich has no apology as immigrants protest," May 13).

Let us suppose that Mr. Ehrlich is truly opposed to "multiculturalism," however he defines that term. Fine. He should tell us why rather than cutting off any discussion from the start by name-calling anyone who believes differently.

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