The Bay Area, with its large number of immigrants, has about the same proportion of limited English speakers as the state overall, the census figures show. For some experts, that is cause for concern. For others, it is a source of regional strength.Not to put too fine a point on it, but America was a predominantly Protestant country with a European-descended population until very recently; explosive immigration has changed that demographic.
"It's very disturbing when 1 in 5 people is not communicating in the common language," said Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
"Culturally, it creates a sort of tribalism. This country doesn't have a predominant race or religion; it just has values. That's a very thin bond. We have shared values and a shared Constitution; we also have to have a shared culture and language."
When immigrants congregate in enclaves, they have a harder time learning English and becoming fully American, said Hanson, author of the book "Mexifornia: A State of Becoming."
"It's time to go back to the melting pot, control the borders and let assimilation, integration and intermarriage work," he said.[43% in state speak other than English at home, By Tyche Hendricks, San Francisco Chronicle, September 23, 2008 ]
As recently as 1970, two-thirds of Americans were Protestants and now the proportion has shrunk to about half, while the Catholic church has promoted extreme levels of immigration, because most of the newcomers are Catholic — and Spanish speaking. The Catholic church needs new members because so many of its American parishioners have left.
Language diversity is really the point of the spear tearing society apart. If I am around a couple of gangsterish Spanish-speakers, I don't know whether they are discussing where to go for pizza or whether they should try to rob and kill me.