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LPGA English rule backlash

The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) is urging LPGA sponsors to withdraw support of the Tour until the English proficiency policy is retracted. As previously reported, LPGA will require all players to be proficient in English starting in 2009 and those who cannot pass an oral evaluation of English skills face suspension from the Tour. There are currently 121 international players from 26 countries on the LPGA Tour.

“This policy is tantamount to national origin discrimination, which is prohibited under Civil Rights Act,” said Vincent A. Eng, deputy director of AAJC. “The policy is an affront to our American principles of diversity and equality. It is even more unconscionable that the LPGA is devolving to past divisive and exclusionary practices of their sport following the successful closing of the unifying Olympic Games.”

“There is already a strong endorsement incentive for the players to learn English to increase their global marketability,” said Tuyet G. Duong, senior staff attorney at AAJC. “The new LPGA policy along with their actions to have a special meeting with the South Korean players, smacks of clear discriminatory targeting of those players.”

“The game of golf has a long history of exclusion of minorities and women and they have fought for years to be included in sport,” added Duong. “That is why it is shocking that the LPGA would issue this policy, which is completely contrary to the spirit of inclusion that drives LPGA pioneer women to continue breaking new ground in their sport. This will ultimately result in depriving the audience and fans of seeing the best golfers in the world.”

I don’t have a formal position on this subject, but I do have questions. Is being a member of the tour a bit like working for someone? It’s OK for employers to require English as part of their employment isn’t it? Tour players may be independent contractors, but maybe they have to meet certain ‘performance’ requirements. Very touchy subject and I don’t know the answer so I’ll just add a bit more.

Yes, we have a multitude of languages throughout our country. The last 20 years are not the same as the last 100 years. Immigrants of the past learned English and passed their language on to their children, becoming dual language families. But today’s families are not making the transition. They are not learning english. So now America produces drivers license tests, teaches school, and has entire communities with non-english signs. There is a problem with that. It divides communities. The immigrants today that don’t learn english also don’t consider america their home. They send their dollars back ‘home’ resulting in a tremendous outflow of American dollars instead of strenghtening our economy.