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Are 'Press One for English' lyrics offensive? Judge for yourself

By BILL VARIAN
Published May 15, 2007


Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin White publicly objected to a song performed at the recent 45th annual East Hillsborough Law Enforcement Dinner. He characterized the lyrics of Press One for English, written and performed by the Rivoli Revue, a husband-and-wife team, as saying, "If you don't speak English, you're not welcome here."

Kay Rivoli disagrees, saying they got a standing ovation and sold several copies of the song afterward. "The song is not anti-immigration. It is very pro-American and pro-English, " Rivoli said.

Here are the lyrics: 

PRESS ONE FOR ENGLISH

Hey, I can't read that sign out there

Please tell me what's it say

We have to have subtitles

In five languages these days

Now we don't ask too much

To share this land of liberties

But if it's not too much to ask

Could you please speak English

 

(Chorus)

 

English is my language

It's the language of this land

And every sign that's posted here

I should understand

I do not live in China, Mexico

No foreign place

And English is the language

Of the United States

 

Now I'll speak very clear for you

So there'll be no mistake

My family fought and died

Protecting freedoms in these states

Now we all welcome those who come

But when you reach our shores

Folks you should speak our language

Not the one you spoke before

 

(Repeat chorus)

 

Now I'm proud of this country

And this great Democracy

And I believe an open door

Should be our policy

But for these opportunities

We'd simply ask you this

Hey you're the one who chose to come

Now choose to speak English

Now here's one thing I question

And try to understand

Hey why must I press one for English

When it's the language of this land

 

(Repeat chorus)

 

I do not live in China, Mexico,

No foreign place

And English is the language

Of these United States