One of the clearest signs of how times have changed in this little Southern town is literally a sign. It’s the outline of a faded red, oblong Dairy Queen sign that towers over Buford Highway just a few miles from the city line.There's more:
It used to direct residents to a fast food franchise, a beacon of Americana, where a hamburger cost 79 cents. The building is gone now. Only the sign remains, and at its base is a Hispanic man with a machete, slicing open coconuts piled in the back of his trailer.
His English is shaky. His coconuts cost $4.
A generation ago, this Atlanta suburb was 95 percent white and rural with one little African-
American neighborhood that was known as “colored town.’’ But after a tidal wave of Hispanic and Asian immigrants who were attracted to Norcross by cheap housing and proximity to a booming job market, white people now make up less than 20 percent of the population in Norcross and surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a shift so rapid that many of the longtime residents feel utterly disconnected from the place where they raised their children.
“It’s not that much anger, but you don’t feel comfortable knowing that all this is around you,” said Billy Weathers, 79, who has lived in the area for his whole life and doesn’t speak a lick of Spanish.
The prevalence of Spanish signs and discourse can be a flashpoint for hostility between the longtime residents and the newer ones.What could be worse?
Pablo Casas moved to the town in November 1999 shortly after coming to the United States from Colombia on a student visa. “I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Hispanic culture, but we’re kind of loud,” he said.
When he gets together with friends, six or seven of them, the volume goes way up.
And white people will complain, he said, but not about the noise.
“They don’t say ‘Keep it down.’ They say ‘Speak English; this is America,’” he said.
“A lot of employers are wanting you to be bilingual, which I find offensive,” Canfield said. “This is America. Why do I need to speak a second language?”You'll want to read the entire article. Why is it that not assimilating to speaking English is acceptable?