The controversy over Ms. Ruiz’s rolled R’s can easily be framed in the context of a troubling strain of anti-immigrant sentiment, rooted in Arizona in this case, but much in evidence elsewhere. At issue is the contested coexistence not only of two languages, but of two cultures. In a public statement, Ms. Ruiz politely pointed out that her pronunciation honors Arizona’s original settlers, who were all Iberian.
But there is an even larger picture that deserves our attention: the miraculous malleability of language.
It will be conversations like this one, conversations that take simple binary arguments and turn them into something more nuanced and insightful, that allow us, as we always have, to progress forward as a society. I, for one, welcome the debate.