Language Rules in the Workplace

The United States of America is a country that was founded on immigration. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol for America welcoming people in. Because of the immigration from around the world, the USA has become well known as a culturally diverse nation. For being a country that claims to be so big on diversity and acceptance, America has had a very turbulent history when it comes to diversity, acceptance, and equality. Many obstacles have already been overcome in these areas including the civil rights movement and affirmative action. There are still ongoing struggles with acceptance, such as gay rights. What I was really surprised to learn is that there is actually an ongoing problem when it comes to language in the work place.

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Companies such as Verizon, Whole Foods, and even the NYPD have some form of English Only policy that require their employees to only speak English while on the job unless it is necessary for them to speak another language(usually Spanish). Language is something that you grow up with. You learn it from your family, and whatever your cultural background is; you probably speak a language to go with it. Yes, English is the most commonly known language in America and it would make sense for employers to require the ability to speak it. But should English be the only language allowed in the workplace?englishonly

According to the Verizon article, the policy came about when two employees were speaking Spanish in front of another employee. This third employee did not know Spanish and filed a complaint with the company because they felt excluded. It wasn’t a business conversation, just a casual conversation between two friends.

It can be extremely frustrating when you are on the job and your coworkers begin to have a conversation in a foreign language. I have been in this situation in multiple jobs with multiple languages. It can really make you feel excluded from your group of coworkers, and you might want them to speak in English. Even though I might want that for my own convenience, I believe that to force employees to only speak English on the job is just ridiculous. Yes, if you are dealing with a customer who only speaks English, you should definitely speak English, just as you would speak Spanish, for example, to a Spanish speaking customer. There are no policies that I have ever heard of that prevent employees from coming up with code languages based in English, for example, giving coworkers secret nicknames and then talking about them. Using code words can make others feel very left out, yet still fits within the policy. Code words are a very private and exclusive way to communicate whereas a foreign language is public information. Anyone can take their time to learn a foreign language. If someone has not taken the time to learn a language, they are responsible for their own feeling of exclusion. It is completely nonsensical to punish others because a few people lack the desire to learn.

Television: a Staple in Today’s Culture

Sometimes new inventions come around that change our lives and our culture forever. An example of such an invention would be the home television. Many modern Americans would struggle to think of what their lives would be like without at least one television in their household. Some might even consider this to be a nightmare.

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The truth is, televisions haven’t always been around, and they certainly haven’t always been the large flat screens that we have grown so accustomed to. In the early twentieth century, TVs didn’t even exist yet. From the information I can find, the first televisions sold to the public were mechanical televisions in 1928. Electronic televisions were still in the works and began broadcasting in the United States in 1941. Even though this was a big breakthrough for the new exciting technology of television, the progress was halted due to the war. World War II caused a temporary stop to the manufacturing and sales of televisions. After the war, RCA began selling the first “post-war” TVs in 1946.

Hopefully we all know that TVs back then were way different than they are now. Originally, home television sets were bulky, but the screen was small. Something the size of a portable DVD player would have been considered a large screen television at the time. Another nightmare for modern Americans might be the fact that remote controls didn’t even exist! You actually had to get up and manually change the channel or the volume. The thousands of channels that we are used to is a huge difference from the original 12 or 13 that were available.

Televisions have obviously made numerous advancements over the years to become what they are now. Television isn’t the only thing that has changed during this time. We have changed as a society because of television. We went from television being a luxury to it being a norm. The availability of programming has increased significantly over time, and because of this we have immersed ourselves more and more over the years.

Originally, there were limited hours as to when programming was available. Over time, the hours increased until there was always something to watch on TV. We’ve even graduated the availability in recent years. Not that long ago, when I was a kid, you had to watch your favorite show when it first aired or you would miss it until a rerun came along. Unless, of course, you had a blank tape and set your VCR to record the show that you were going to miss. For the most part, you had to watch shows during their air time in order to see them. DVRs have made this no longer necessary. Thanks to DVR, you can now set multiple shows to record and watch them at your convenience.

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This huge availability has made television shows and stars a very prominent part of our culture. Pretty much everyone watches TV. If you don’t watch TV, it makes it harder to participate in society. I personally have not had cable (partly by choice, partly because of money) for three years. In this time, I have watched very few shows. I am able to watch my favorite show (How I Met Your Mother) that my parents record at their house and save to watch with me. When I have been in groups of people over the last few years, it is common for them to begin talking about the shows they watch and what happened on this week’s episode. I always chime in that I feel left out because I don’t watch shows and don’t have cable. This always receives a reaction of, “You don’t have cable?! How do you live without cable?” Frequently, they will also offer up suggestions of how I can start to watch this show that they love that they think my life is incomplete without.

A Brothel in Every City?

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Performing sexual acts for money: is this legal? Well, if you happen to be in the porn industry, yes it is legal. Yet, prostitution remains illegal in most parts of the county. Are these two things really that different? What makes one acceptable, but not the other?

Porn is such a common aspect in mainstream society. According to a poll in the October 2013 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, over 99% of the men surveyed admitted to watching porn. Porn stars are paid to perform sexual acts. Prostitutes are paid to perform sexual acts. Not only is prostitution illegal in most parts of the country, but it also carries a stigma. We look down upon women who work the streets for money while glorifying porn stars: aspiring to look more like them or learn tricks from watching them. They are almost the same thing, the biggest differences being the audience as well as who is paying. In the porn industry, men and women are both paid so that some stranger can watch their sexual acts. In prostitution, one person pays another to perform a sexual favor for them. This seems pretty backwards to me. It makes more sense for one person to pay another to directly provide a service than for people to pay complete strangers so that they can watch those people have sex with each other.

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I, personally, would have no interest in working in a brothel. I also would not approve of the idea of my significant other being a customer to such an establishment. I do, however, support the idea of legalizing prostitution throughout the country. A woman can make many decisions about her body that are arguably more immoral than prostitution. So a woman should also have the right to make money by servicing men with her body, and men should have the right to pay for such services. Grown adults can make several choices that are harmful to their body, such as smoking cigarettes or drinking liquor.

Because these other things (alcohol, tobacco, porn) are legal, the government is able to put regulations on them to protect the consumers as well as the people who work in these industries. If prostitution were to be legalized nationwide then these women would no longer have to deal with being abused by their pimps. Prostitutes would not have to worry about contracting STDs from their clients and vice versa. There would be rules that could be enforced to provide safety for everyone who participates in this business.

Prostitution has been in recorded history since as early as 2400 BC in the time of the Sumerians. This industry still thrives. It has been present in many societies, and over time, it has come to be criminalized in many parts of the world. In the 1970s, Prostitute Rights groups began to emerge in the United States. It seems as if prostitution is going to stick around for quite some time.

Just as Prohibition did not end the consumption of alcohol, prostitution being illegal will not keep it from being a profession.