Speak English Or You Can’t Play (Part 2)

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: April 18, 2009

LPGA CALIFORNIA — This writer wrote an article on the English-only proposal by the (LPGA) Ladies Professional Golf Association back on September 8, 2008. This issue has not been resolved by and a few states are considering taking legal action against the LPGA.

In fact, The State of California has already begun the legislative process.

The California Senate will proceed to act to bar the English-only policy in their state. This is a warning shot to the administrators of the LPGA.

The Senate voted to bar any event that requires that participants to speak English only. Last year, the LPGA pulled back on this request but they still want to institute some kind of English language protocol.

Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco criticized the organization for this discrimatory policy. Yee stated that this rule insulted women, minorities, and immigrates and would disqualify many of the current LPGA golfers. Many participants are from South Korea, Taiwan, Mainland China, and Japan

The Bill passed 21-14 in the Senate and will now move on to the California Assembly which will also pass the bill. That means either the LPGA has to officially drop this rule or not participate in any tournaments in the State of California.

If the California Bill passes next month in a landslide decision other states would soon follow suit. It is ironic that last week’s winner of the Masters, Angel Cabrera from Argentina conducted his interview completely in Spanish. Nobody at the press conference could complain because there was a translator.

The question is why the LPGA could not emulate this procedure.

The September 2008 ruling by the LPGA is surprising and very confusing. Upon inquiry into this issue a variety of different answers were given by LPGA officials.

One official stated that the English proficiency test was a world tour issue. Another official stated that it was not a world tour issue. A third official stated that she was not sure how this rule would work.

So, if the LPGA does not know, how will golfers and the American pubic know?

Speak English or your LPGA card will be taken and you will be suspended indefinitely.

This decision also conveys to the world that it is a mandate aimed at one segment of the LPGA membership. The obvious intent is to limit or eliminate these non-English speaking female golfers participation in future tournaments with this simple rule.

As a Disabled African American this is a sensitive subject, especially oppressive rules without consultation or representation. Forcing individuals to participate without conferring through communication channels first. This is not professional.

The LPGA is a professional organization so why impose a ruling like this?

This recent request from the LPGA seems heavy handed and thoughtless.

Taking away an international golfers playing cards or suspending them because that player does not meet the English standards. Whose standards? My standard, your standard, or the LPGA standard, each could be different.

That is the problem with rulings like this. They are always arbitrary and culturally bias. This is a troubling issue for any disabled American. 30, years ago many in the disabled community were forced to do things that they did not want to do.

These actions were rarely of any benefit to the disabled community but benefited the non-disabled community. These actions were also taken because it was a state mandate.

This writer still resents some of the issues that were forced on my family, my disabled friends, and the disabled community. This recent LPGA ruling is all for the sake of capitalism, profit, and big business (corporate sponsors).

This ruling specifically targets Asian players and it should be addressed by the LPGA. The Asian professional golfer probably feels the same way the disabled Americans felt 30 years ago.

Also players may fear the lose of their playing card or their being suspended if they voice their opposition. They are the new silent minority. Undoubtedly international players should learn English but the LPGA has no right to force this issue down their throats without an explanation.

If these golfers want to maintain their international standing, they are going to have to learn English anyway. So this point becomes void and mute. The LPGA needs to inform the public as well as the Asian professional golfer on how this rule came into existence and why or how it will be used in the future.

This recent ruling is pro white, pro-American, pro-British and anti Asian. This is not good for the world of international golf. This ruling helps sponsors obtain popular players. It is a known fact that English and American sponsors exploit these players in America and Great Britain.

The LPGA is trying to anglosize Asian female golfers and is trying to sexualize them just as the Western World has done in the past. The long standing feud between western female golfers and Asian female golfers continues with this ruling.

This is a world community organization and should start acting like a world organization. This ruling is self centered and selfish. This ruling is the current 8,000-pound elephant on the ladies golf course and is just another example of American-Western political weight being thrown around.

America and its corporate sponsors cannot continue with business as usual, getting its way despite the consequences, or whom it hurts. This kind of behavior is boorish and troubling.

The LPGA has a lot of explaining to do. Modified or eliminated this rule for the sake of world harmony and fair play. This ruling is not fair to the female international players of the great game of golf.