“Bailando” is having a moment. The radio is quite fond of it, or at least it used to be a couple weeks ago. The first time I heard it play, I was riding in the car, surrounded by Enrique Iglesias’ laughter and choruses of “bailando, bailando.” I prepared to attack the song with my superior knowledge that can only come from studying Spanish for three years–namely, “¿Qué hora es?” and “¿Puedo ir al baño por favor?”
But to my surprise, my superior knowledge was not needed. The song Was. In. English. This was mind-boggling to me. How the background could be in Spanish, the song could be called “Bailando,” but the words could be in English made absolutely no sense. If America could worship “Gangnam Style,” a song in a language not even close to English, what is off-putting about a song in Spanish? The argument I have heard most frequently is that this is America, and “we speak English here.” Some melting pot. In many European countries, English is taught in schools, and most adults are close to fluent, though English is not their native language.
But, somehow, Americans still shrug off the idea of learning Spanish because “it’s hard” or “useless,” regardless of our shared border with Mexico and the startling number of Americans who speak Spanish. I don’t expect America to become fluent–not even close–but if we can sing along with “Oppa Gangnam Style” and “Ehhh, sexy lady,” then we can at least listen to a Spanish song.
C’mon ‘Murica–learn some Spanish.