The Elderly In Need Of Education On The Dark Side Of Light Racism

, , , , | Related | November 11, 2018

My grandmother worked in Guatemala for a number of years, and is still very fluent in Spanish. Partly, this is because whenever she meets a native Spanish-speaker, she switches to Spanish, both to help them understand her and to help her keep her fluency.

We had some contractors building an addition onto our house. My grandmother was visiting for a few days, and noticed that one of the trucks said something about “Native American Concrete Mixers.” She mentioned to the two guys walking past the truck that she usually speaks Spanish to people with darker skin, “…but I guess I should speak English to you guys.”

It turned out that they were doing a different part of the construction, and actually were Hispanic, so she had a lovely Spanish conversation with them. But I was cringing a bit the whole time because of how she’d started the conversation.

My grandmother is a wonderful woman. But as she’s gotten older, she seems to have forgotten that you can’t just say things like, “I usually speak Spanish to people with darker skin,” no matter how well you mean.

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