language

Waiting in line to handover my voting ballot. The visually Latina woman collecting ballots went to hand the Asian woman voter her “I voted” sticker. She hesitated and said to the voter, “We have Chinese ones too.” The voter’s body language and facial expression showed frustration but she just replied clearly in English, “No thanks, I’m fine,” and took her ‘I voted’ sticker written in English. The woman collecting ballots was so oblivious and caught up, she had no clue of how offensive that was. I was offended.

Professor: Where did you go to school to write like this?

Me: In New Jersey.

Professor: No, was it a private school?

Me: No, is something wrong?

Professor: Well you say “ask” versus “ax” and your writing is impeccable.

Me: Okaaaaayyyyyyyy.

I always get asked to be an interpreter for patients who are not native English speakers, specifically for those of Asian background. Because I am of Asian background as well, there is this assumption that I speak every language in Asia or that there is only one language/country in Asia. Unbelievable.

I mispronounce a lot of words because my parents moved to America 30 years ago but still speak with an accent, so I picked it up from them. My friends always make fun of me and say I’m a bad American.

I am age 20, born in America but raised in South Florida in a multicultural city. My parents are from Peru. It made me feel unaccepted and like I didn’t truly belong in either country.

I hear these Spanish and Oriental kids speaking and I think they must speak English because they go to school and have to communicate with their teachers.

At work in a call center.

You are alienating me because you’re not speaking in English.

Said to me by a U.S. born acquaintance after a friend and I were having a personal conversion in our native language.

You can’t play with them – they don’t speak English.

A mother to her approximately 4 year-old son at the playground when he attempted to play with some other children who were speaking Spanish. As the parent of a biracial/bilingual child, this made me feel sad and angry.

Look at the color of your skin! You should know Spanish!

My coworker after a patient came in speaking Spanish.

You speak English really well for someone that’s an immigrant. You don’t even sound Hispanic.

A lot of people on various occasions. Makes me feel disrespected and confused as to what what exactly is expected of me.

Every time someone questions my ability to speak Spanish because I’m “too light” or because I’ve lived in the U.S. all my life. I was born to Mexican immigrants and Spanish was the first language I learned.

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