A letter from today’s edition of the Newsletter, a regional newspaper in Arizona:
“I have received a number of complaints from staff working for Maricopa County about a “Spanish language skills audit”.
Workers are being asked if they have a Spanish language qualification, how competent they are in Spanish, if they would be willing to deal with enquiries from the public in Spanish and if they would be willing to take a course in Spanish. Staff are even asked if they would like to take such a course during working hours!
The staff who have contacted me have expressed concern that their lack of either knowledge of Spanish or interest in learning Spanish could harm their promotion prospects.
It is clear to me that the implication of the audit is that having Spanish will be a distinct advantage when working for the county.
This is wrong and discriminatory against the White Protestant community.
It is unfair that members of the White Protestant community – who make up a relatively small minority of the county workforce – have been left feeling like this.
The audit has created a chill factor within the workforce and should be halted immediately.
I am have written to the Governor asking him to investigate these issues.
As the Governor himself has noted in the past “in Arizona the views of the White and Protestant and Latino communities on the use and promotion of the Spanish language are distinct” and he has cited research which shows that around one out of every two Latinos (52%) say Spanish is important to their personal identity compared with just one out of twenty White Protestants (5%).
It is my belief that the audit flies in the face of the county’s duty to promote equality of opportunity between members of the Latino and White Protestant races.
It is time for Maricopa County to scrap the audit.
Failing that, the Governor should demonstrate that he is interested in stopping things beyond ‘gay cakes’ and take a real stand for a minority which is being discriminated against in this case – the White Protestants in the Maricopa County workforce.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County.“
Substitute Ireland for the United States of America, Ulster for Arizona, Counties Fermanagh and Down for Maricopa County, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a member of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) party, and you’ll find the true source of this comparative fiction inspired by the recently expressed opinions of a hardline British unionist councillor. The only difference here is that the Irish language is indigenous to Ireland which is more than one can say of Spanish in the United States.
Or indeed, English in Ireland.
(With thanks to @MisneachNYC)