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Judith Jensen, Published January 15 2011

Malice, maybe; ignorance, surely

Jason McDonald’s letter on Sunday, Jan. 9, blasting a Somalian man because he couldn’t speak or read English, appeared to be written out of malice, but I suspect it was pure ignorance. I don’t know how many languages McDonald speaks or what he does to not be considered a “waste-of-life” person, but it is obvious he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Among other things, he assumes that this person does not have a job because he isn’t fluent in English.

I do not know the person he is speaking about, but I did know my grandfather, who immigrated from Croatia in the early 1900s. He was an intelligent man who married a poor widow with three children after he arrived. They had six more children, and he supported them by working in the iron mines in Minnesota – a difficult job that eventually took his life in an explosion.

His children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren are educated and contributing members of society. Some have well-known names and serve in positions of influence and power. He loved this country, but the one thing he never managed to do was learn to speak English fluently.

Most of our ancestors were immigrants, and this country is better for it. Perhaps when McDonald finishes his research on a cure for cancer, he will rethink his position.