I always wanted to be able to speak at least three different languages, fluently. Sure, like a lot of folks, I can get by with a little Spanish and a little French. But I can't honestly say that I can speak another language fluently. (Jamaican Patoi [p-a-t-w-a] doesn't count. I can chat di patoi with the best of them. But as exotic as it might sound, it's still just broken English.) Unfortunately, I am just not very adroit in the linguistic arena.
One of my pet peeves with folks on this side of the Atlantic is that we don't even want to communicate with other people in their own language. Others have to always adopt to the ugly A-merry-cans way of speaking. So far it's been just a minor inconvenience to people who visit our beautiful country. They always learn to speak English, eventually, because they want so much to live the A-merry-can dream or enjoy it while they are here. It's our way or the highway. A-merry-ca, "love it or leave it".
And that's all fine. But can it or should it cost someone their life because they can't speak English as well as we can? Let me answer that for you: Here in Killadelphia, it can.
"Temple University student and West African immigrant was shot in an attempted robbery this morning in a Southwest Philadelphia park because he did not understand the gunman's commands, police said.
Mamadou Makadji, 22, was pistol-whipped and shot once in the chest around 1:12 a.m. in Elmwood Park, said Philadelphia Homicide Capt. James Clark.
Makadji was declared dead a short time later at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania."
You see, here in Killadelphia it's like this: when a stick up kid wants to take your "jawn"( Your "jawn" could be your woman, your money, or your life. Actually, here in Philly, your "jawn" could be damn near anything.) you have to just give it up as quickly as possible. The only time you hesitate, is if the person holding the hammer is there to take your life. And if that's the case, you are pretty much up shit creek without a paddle or a boat. But if they only want money or drugs, having a language barrier can still be fatal to the poor victim staring down the barrel of a gun.
"Makadji and two friends were sitting on a bench in the park, at 71st and Buist Avenue, when a lone gunman approached and "announced a robbery," Clark said.
Because of the language barrier, Makadji did not understand what the gunman was saying. The robber pistol-whipped and shot Makadji when he did not comply fast enough with his commands, the captain said."
Maybe some of the things that they should start teaching in those immigration English classes, are words like: THIS IS A JACK! LAY DOWN BITCH!