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A Mexican-American Linguist Defends Julian Castro's Phony Spanish Accent
From: Selene Escalera [Email her]
I stumbled upon VDARE.com as I was looking for anti-Lena Dunham articles.[VDARE.com note: See The Subversive Realism Of Lena Dunham’s Whitopian Comedy GIRLS.] While I was on your website, I also read a couple of other articles. I don't agree with about 99% of what any of the articles say—it seems there's a lot of frivolous anti-immigrant sentiment floating around for the sake of being xenophobic—but the article you wrote on Julian Castro's accent was pointless, in my opinion.
Full disclosure: I'm a linguist and Mexican-American. I happen to live in Texas, but I'm from Wisconsin. It's true Julian Castro doesn't speak Spanish. A lot of Mexican Americans and other Latinos don't speak Spanish, or speak a variety of Spanish that doesn't meet the standards of language purists because it's come into (too) close contact with English. My first question is: who cares?
My second question is: what was the point of this post? Are you annoyed that Julian Castro is trying to fake a Spanish accent to appear more Latino? Because he doesn't need to fake it, he IS Latino. And Latino is just a term that means American of Latino American descent. Just like white Americans are Americans of European descent. Because you see, none of us have roots that go so deep that we have the innate right to claim this country as our own.
What bothers me about this snide jab at Julian Castro is that it's confused. He doesn't speak Spanish, and his contrived accent is offensive to you because it means he is identifying with something that is un-American. But what if it was a real accent? He would still be American born, speaking a language that is spoken by millions in America, but wouldn't it be even more un-American then?
It's true that we use language (lexicon, "accents", intonation) to display our identities to the world. And it's true Julian Castro is probably using Spanish phonology to identify with his constituents (San Antonio is like 80% Mexican-American!). But it's his HERITAGE. Just like Italian informs certain East Coast "accents" and Swedish informs certain Midwestern "accents" Mr. Castro is drawing upon his heritage to inform his accent.
In my humble opinion, your blog post displays intolerance and dialect prejudice, at best.
James Fulford writes: Intolerance and dialect prejudice is my job. The post is a humorous jab at Julian Castro's attempt to achieve Hispanic street cred, in spite of the drawback of a Harvard education. It's even funnier when the President of the United States (Punahou Prep School and Harvard Law)does the same thing.See Obama Does Dialect and Obama's Dialectal Skills. See also John Derbyshire's post here.
Ms. Escalera is correct that Castro would, in fact, be more un-American if he were an actual Mexican. But he isn't. He's an American citizen. And as such, he's disloyal to America.
And the point about "Un-American Activities" is that they're not just non-American, like baking baguettes or building the Eiffel Tower, they're anti-American.
Julian Castro supports the ongoing Mexican invasion because he's Hispanic. What could be more un-American than that?