I don't usually discuss political or social issues, but when I was on vacation, I had an opportunity to ponder something that I wanted to share.
I was told that "everyone speaks English in Puerto Rico!"
Maybe in San Juan and the more metropolitan areas, but not where we were. We had two waitresses who didn't speak much English; one even told us to learn Spanish!
Everywhere we went, we tried to communicate en Espanol, but it was obvious that we didn't speak the language. I felt very out of place. It was awkward. I started to get paranoid. Any time I heard a Puerto Rican laugh, I thought they were laughing at the stupid gringos. For the first time in my life, I----a white "middle class" woman--- understood what it felt like to be a minority.
It made me think of how many times I've heard people here, on the Mainland (as they say in Puerto Rico) say, "You're in America! Speak English!"
In defense of the non-English speaking person, I can say that it is more comfortable to speak your native language when you're with someone from your country. Even if the Hubster and I spoke fluent Spanish, we would most likely speak to one another in English. It's comforting to speak your own language. And we were trying, really we were!
Yes, America is an English speaking country, and if you're going to work here and pay taxes and all that, then yes, you need to learn English.
On the other hand, maybe we ought to just lighten up a bit when we hear Spanish being spoken on the subway, or in the supermarket or park. Because it IS Spanish we're talking about. I've never heard anyone say, "You're in America. Speak English!" when they hear Russian or French or Polish.
It's when they hear the "illegals" speaking to one another, assuming that the people in question are not in the country legally. Whether they are or they aren't, they are people, just like you and I. And they deserve the same respect that you and I desire. We are all trying to make a better world for ourselves and our family.
The next time you're tempted to say that, think about a time when you were uncomfortable because you didn't know how to do something. Maybe it was a language barrier in another country. Maybe it was tying your shoes or trying out a new recipe that failed.
Or maybe it was learning the ropes in your new job. Would it have made you try harder if someone yelled in your face, "For heavens sake, learn to tie your shoes/cook a decent meal/how to do your job, would you!"
I am, by the way, making a serious attempt at learning Spanish.
Blessings Along the Path,
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Friday, March 6, 2015
I'm a person of creativity. I've always loved to entertain people, and especially, to make them laugh. I don't mind being the guinea pig, the one who is singled out to break the ice. I write what you think but don't want to admit. I'm a word nerd and a grammar geek. I love musical theatre, hiking, and worshipping my Lord, my King-the King of Glory. It's my desire to bring hope and healing to hurting individuals-or perhaps just to provoke thought, to give an encouraging word to get you through the day-through everyday situations and insights into God's Word.