Title

Legislating language in the name of national unity: An Oklahoma story

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2013

Abstract

Concerns over demographic shifts continue to result in legislative disputes at all levels of government. These conflicts, whether challenging the creation of congressional districts that attempt to ''dilute minority votes'' or legislative attempts at defining and implementing ''official language'' laws, continue to arise in areas experiencing Latino population growth. Since the 2004 release of statistics by the United States Census Bureau, which indicated that Latinos are overtaking African Americans to become the largest and fastest growing ''minority group'' in the United States, much legislative attention has focused upon the socio-economic and political absorption of Latinos. Although proponents of the Oklahoma State Ballot Question 751, the English is the Official Language of Oklahoma Act, argued that the supposed policy necessity of an official language law was measured without attention to race, this essay argues otherwise. In what follows, I argue the existence of a forged rhetorical correlation between shifting racial demographics and the insisted demand for more official language policies. To illustrate this claim, the arguments sought in support of the United States most recent English-only measure, Oklahoma State Ballot Question 751, will be analyzed. © The Author(s) 2013.

Publication Name

International Journal of Discrimination and the Law

Volume Number

13

First Page

4

Last Page

17

Issue Number

1

DOI

10.1177/1358229113480431

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