Friday, June 17, 2011

Fail Quote: Sen. Harris “very insulted” that Spanish-speaking man testifies in Spanish

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From Texas Sen. Chris Harris (R) of the State Senate Committee on Transportation & Homeland Security, interrupting a Spanish-speaking man giving testimony through a translator against a proposed anti-immigration bill similar to Arizona’s notorious SB 1070:

My transcript:

[Antolin Aguirre, representative for the Austin Immigrants Rights Coalition and a naturalized US citizen since 2001, delivers his testimony in Spanish through a translator.]

SEN. HARRIS: Am I understanding correctly that he has been here since 1988?

TRANSLATOR: He came to this country in 1988, yes, sir.

SEN. HARRIS: Why aren’t you speaking in English, then?

AGUIRRE: Well, I speak English, but –

SEN. HARRIS: You’ve been here 23 years?

[mild confusion]

TRANSLATOR: [Aguirre explains in Spanish] Spanish is his first language, and since it’s his first time giving a testimony, he would rather do it in Spanish.

SEN. HARRIS: It’s insulting to us. [mild reaction] It’s very insulting. If he knows English, he needs to be speaking in English.

Yes, the offense! The sheer, wretched, outrageous gall! How dare a man give his official testimony before the State Senate in his own language to make sure that he’d be understood properly? Think of the poor jingoistic, racist assholes who just can’t stand to hear the guy defile their proud English-speaking heritage with his icky Spanish tongue! It’s just common decency. Or something.

Even more amusing, the poster behind the above video (“StandWithAZ”) actually declares that Aguirre’s act – you know, of speaking his native language – indicates the country and State of Arizona’s “problem” with “seperatism” [sic] and “sense of entitlement”. One could presumably drop an anvil of irony onto his head and he wouldn’t notice a damn thing.

(via ThinkProgress)