That's the question that Jose Baig and photographer Carlos Ceresole, [see photographs], two journalists for the British Broadcasting Corporation's "Spanish American section" (what's that?), asked throughout their recently-completed journey across the U.S.
The trip's objective, according to Baig, was to see if the United States could be crossed "without uttering a word of English."[BBC Team Makes US Spanish Journey," Jose Baig, BBC Mundo, July 28, 2008]
The BBC must be hard up for stories. In fact, Baig's story editor should have kicked him out of his office when he was approached with this plainly propagandistic proposal.
Why spend a whole bunch of money when everyone knows what the findings will be? You don't have to be a teacher of Spanish (like me).
Of course you can travel the breadth of the U.S. without speaking English! Has the BBC never heard of Reconquista? The variable isn't how much Spanish is spoken, but how long you want to go between conversations.
And Baig confirmed as much in his blog. He wrote that he could indeed speak only Spanish but that it depended on "las circunstancias y de los lugares a donde uno vaya" [the circumstances and the places that one goes to—my translations throughout].
Read the blog here. Sorry—it's in Spanish only!
To make sure the deck was stacked in his favor, Baig traveled east coast to west coast through "Occupied America"—St. Augustine and Tallahassee, FL., Mobile, AL., New Orleans, LA., Houston, San Antonio, Pecos and El Paso, TX., Nogales and Yuma, AZ., and finally Los Angeles, CA.
In Yuma, for example, the Hispanic population according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, is 52 percent, Pecos, 80 percent, El Paso, 77 percent, San Antonio, 59 percent, Houston, 37 percent and Los Angeles, 46 percent.
Stop the presses! Baig was able to communicate in El Paso and Los Angeles by speaking Spanish only!
The bigger challenge—why doesn't the BBC assign a reporter to this? — would be to try to get by in those cities with English only.
Baig admits in his blog that his conclusions based on interviews with five hundred people "would not presume to be scientific—much less than that. We wanted to stimulate people to tell their stories." ["no pretendía ser científico ni mucho menos, sino estimular que la gente nos contara sus historias."]
"¿Hablas español?" wasn't scientific or even academic—everyone agrees—but it was a heck of a hyping of Hispanic triumphalism, plus agitprop for more immigration.
A more complete title would have been: "¿Hablas español? Immigration Si!"
From Baig's trip summary come these gems:
Baig's erroneously assumes that "American owned and operated" is an exclusionary remark. But, in fact, it is instead a perfectly appropriate advertising slogan in this "Made in China" era that has angered many U.S. consumers.
(Anyway, on a motel, "American owned and operated" doesn't mean not Mexican, it means not Hindu—a large number of America's motels are operated by people named Patel, who've received loans from the Small Business Administration on account of being "minorities".)
The "¿Hablas español?" series is a puff piece worthy of People Magazine . It implies, based on a handful of interviews, that immigration is great.
I personally know dozens of immigration success stories. But I wouldn't create federal policy based on them—because I know a larger number of failures.
The equivalent to "¿Hablas español?" from the pro-American side would be if I traveled to the same eleven cities to interview Hispanic prisoners convicted of murder, rape, and armed robbery and concluded that all Hispanics are criminals.
On its website, the BBC claims that "Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest." And, "We take pride in delivering quality and value for money."
But "¿Hablas español?" was a highly partial anti-Americanism that the BBC should be—but probably is not—ashamed of.
Amazingly, the BBC plans a follow-up tour—or at least Baig hopes it does.
"On our second phase, we would like to go to Idaho, Oregon, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. On our first try, we wanted to go to more traditional Spanish-speaking places."[BBC Project Begins Here, By Kati Bexley, St. Augustine Record, July 30, 2007]As I wrote above, the BBC must have money to burn.
As if we don't have enough media bias on this side of the pond.
Joe Guzzardi [e-mail him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor. In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.