Friday, January 23, 2009

Nashville Rejects Hate

Yesterday, Nashville rejected a ballot measure that would have made English the official language of business in the city and outlawed the city paying for translation services. The proposal only won 43% of the vote.

This is a really big deal. It may mark the turning of the tide of anti-immigrant sentiment in this country. Nashville is far from the most progressive city in the nation, though if you included the suburbs, I wouldn't be surprised if it passed. The blatant hypocrisy of the measure's proponents certainly helped--they claimed this was about saving taxpayer money and then forced the city to spend $350,000 on the election. Nonetheless, it is a very good sign. Given the large proportion of Nashville that is African-American, it also suggests that the supposed tensions between Latinos and African-Americans is overrated.

Incidentally, reading about this measure taught me that Nashville has the largest Kurdish population in the United States. Who knew?