Oh, good gravy. State Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell, is making national news for suggesting Asian voters in Texas take new names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.” At a Texas House committee hearing on a voter identification bill Wednesday, Brown told a representative of OCA, an organization for Asian Pacific Americans (here’s a link to the Houston chapter):
Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here? … Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?
In that astonishingly silly statement, we hear echoes of Texas State Board of Education Chairman Don “Chow Mein” McLeroy’s beef with the Chinese language. From a San Antonio Express-News story last year about new language arts curriculum standards:
What good does it do to put a Chinese story in an English book? You learn all these Chinese words, OK. That’s not going to help you master … English. So you really don’t want Chinese books with a bunch of crazy Chinese words in them. Why should you take a child’s time trying to learn a word that they’ll never ever use again?
He then added that some words — such as chow mein — might be useful to know.
You just can’t make this stuff up.