The Social Effects of Democratic Engagement of Language Minority Communities: Developing Ownership, Accountability, and Stakeholders of Lingusitic Minorities in a Democracy
Using the United States political system as a case study, and drawing parallels from similar democracies in South Africa, Israel, Ireland, Canada, and Great Britain, the article will articulate a broad need for a democratic system to accommodate and embrace linguistic diversity. It will emphasize the tangible benefits of such accommodations, such as promoting ownership and accountability among members of disaffected communities, which leads to increased educational engagement and attainment, and a decrease in crime, dropout rates, and disaffected individuals. The proposed model for improving democratic accommodation will include the affirmative provision of assistance from certified translators, increased involvement of language minority community leaders and organizations in promoting engagement, and an increased role for courts in regulating and enforcing accommodations. It will also address issues of anti-immigrant backlash that may increase in the short term, and decrease in the long term, in response to the increased engagement of linguistic minority communities.
Keywords: Language, Diversity, Politics, Engagement, Linguistic Minorities, Democracy
Prof. Jocelyn Friedrichs Benson
Assistant Professor, Law School, Wayne State University Law School