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    Cannot Speak The Language Of Respect

    | USA | Bigotry, Geography, Language & Words, Theme Of The Month, Top

    (I am out to eat with a friend, and we are waiting for our table. There is an older Spanish-speaking couple nearby also waiting, and two boys of about high-school age. I don’t speak Spanish, but I picked up a handful of words from an old job.)

    Spanish-Speaking Woman: *asks me a question in Spanish*

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. I only know a few words in Spanish. What was that?”

    Spanish-Speaking Woman: *smiles, and repeats herself*

    (I realize she needs to know where the bathroom is.)

    Me: “Oh! See the stairs? Go to the hallway next to the stairs; it’s right there.”

    (She thanks me, and hurries off to the bathroom. The high school boys make faces at me, and chime in.)

    Boy #1: “Damn, b****, why are you helping them? You should’ve made them ask in English first!”

    Me: “I’m not going to dignify that with a response.”

    Boy #2: “Hey! You show me and my friend some respect, old lady! Do you know who we are?”

    Me: “I don’t care who you are, my dear child. Why don’t you go bother somebody else?”

    Boy #1: “Oh, hell naw! You ain’t talkin’ to me like that! You show me some respect, right now!”

    (He stamps his foot. My friend and I burst out laughing.)

    Me: “Oh, this is going to be an entertaining evening.”

    Boy #1: “You ain’t allowed to laugh at me; I’m a man!”

    Me: “No, dear. What you are is a minor child throwing a temper tantrum because you happen to be a racist. Now, shoo, adults are talking.”

    Boy #2: “Naw! All you gotta do is show them d*** immigrants who’s boss! They gotta speak our language if they want to be here! I went to Mexico and none of them f****** spoke English! Ain’t got no respect!”

    Me: “You do realize that Mexico is a different country, don’t you?”

    Boy #2: “Duh!”

    Me: “And their official language is Spanish.”

    Boy #2: “So?”

    Me: “So… you think that people who move here should have to speak English because most people here do, in some form or another. But when you visit other countries, where official language is not English, they should have to learn to make your life easier?”

    Boy #2: “Yes!”

    Me: “I… have a headache.”

    (The older Spanish-speaking couple are seated a few tables away from us. The teens are there to apply for jobs, but because they’d put on their little display in full view of the hostess, they were not-so-kindly shown the door.)