Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ignorance and drinking straws.

I was sitting in McDonald’s at work, having an ice cream cone. They’re only .50 cents and I was deserving it seeing as how short staffed we are and how I had to bust my ass that morning.

So, to paint the scene. I’m tired. It’s nice and quiet in there at the moment. (Despite the rest of the store being busy as all hell.) And it’s just me and the ice cream. Yay. Until…

Two people round the corner and take the booth across the aisle from me. The man sits down, and the woman, (middle aged) goes to the condiment counter for ketchup, napkins, and straws. She immediately throws a fit.

“They even have to label ‘STRAWS’ in Spanish? What! They don’t know what a STRAW is?”

I opened my mouth to say through thick sarcasm, “I know, you’re right, only English speaking Americans are so incompetent that they don’t know what a straw is.”

But I remembered that I was wearing my nametag, was technically still on the clock despite it being my break, and didn’t feel like getting fired for a battle that I clearly wasn’t going to convince her she was wrong about. I just swallowed the last bit of ice cream along with my disdain for her intolerance, and cut the break short.

Can I PLEASE plead with all whom are reading this?

I have heard MANY comments about “My ancestors learned to speak English.” “Why can’t they learn?” “Speak American…” (before I give you my actual arguments I would like to point out that we, to date, do not have a legally declared national language. We are a melting pot for a reason.) But onto my arguments.

One. I will guarantee you that your ancestors did not learn it in one day. It took time. And they more than likely had someone bilingual to HELP THEM. This attitude of “learn my language and learn it now or get out,” is hurting your own cause. If you want someone to learn your language, then be open minded enough to help them. Chances are they WANT to learn.

Two. Next time you say something to this affect, please remember that this area once belonged to the native Americans. The spoke Algonquin, Potawatomi, Fox, Dakota Sioux, and Ho Chunk. NOT English, or Spanish, or French, or German… Our Spanish speaking citizens are NOT here to conquer us and give us small pox. They are here to live with us. In HARMONY. RELAX!

Three. Look a little deeper. Is your real issue that you don’t like not knowing what they are saying around you? …Do you actually have reason to believe they are saying something negative? And seeing as you already have such a low opinion of them, do you really care what their opinion is of you? Haven’t you already deemed their opinion on anything beneath you? …But if it really does bother you, you have an option to not be lazy and learn to speak their language if it will bring you peace of mind.

AND DON’T tell me you shouldn’t have to learn their language since they are in YOUR home and should be learning yours. Because truth is, you DON’T have to. You do have the choice. But if you choose not to, then I’m going to say stop bitching, because you only have yourself to blame in not knowing what it is they are saying if you truly feel a need to know.

Moral and point is. Be compassionate. We are ALL humans. Race, gender, creed aside. Get over yourself. Your language is no better than anyone elses, and neither is your culture. They are simply “different” and unique in their own rights. Having “Straws” labeled is a courtesy. Not a necessity. I don’t see it hurting anyone to have small type resting on the shelf in both languages. In fact, I only see the benefit of a Spanish speaking patron being able to look at both words and it assisting them to learn the English one. …Your ignorance and inability to think about this perspective is hurting your own cause.

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