Case #990.1

Language and the Melting Pot: Florida's 1988 "Official English" Referendum (Sequel)

Publication Date: January 01, 1990
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This is a case which might inspire discussion both about political strategy and the relation of marginalized cultural groups to the mainstream. It tells the story of a 1988 attempt via referendum to declare English to be the official language of the state of Florida--an attempt, in part, inspired by tension and jealousy surrounding the arrival and relative affluence of the large Spanish-speaking population of South Florida.

Learning Objective:
The case calls on students not to ponder the merits of the issue so much as to assume the point of view of those Spanish-speaking groups organizing opposition. The alternative strategies which they conceive reflect both their views about the likely nature of the campaign and their views about how a minority relates to the majority.

Other Details

Case Author:
Pamela Varley
Faculty Lead:
Marc Roberts
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States
Funding Source:
Harvard University Program in Ethics and the Professions