When you are in America, you hear hundreds of complains, “Why can’t that person speak any English? Don’t they know they are in America?! LEARN SOME ENGLISH BEFORE YOU COME HERE!”
I used to have that annoyance, too. Until I became the minority. Do you know how hard it is to learn another language? Did you know that English is the hardest language to learn? American-English is my first language and I don’t even know all the words, dialects, and proper forms of grammer. How can we expect someone else to so easily?
Just because people come into a country different from their’s does not mean they have to be fluent. They try the best that they can, even when they have lived in America for over three years. They will always hold ground to their original language and we should never be so arrogant to expect that to change. We have made the minorities feel uncomfortable and wrong for being in this country and being different. Have those who have complained ever traveled somewhere else? Do they know what it’s like to be on the other end of the pond?
It is totally different. It sucks. It sucks to be pushed to the back of line because I am white and don’t know the Chinese language. It sucks to be pointed and laughed at and not have a clue what they are saying to me. I don’t know whether they think I am interesting or pure stupid. It sucks to try so hard to speak slowly with a cashier or store employ and explain to them what I want through simple words and hand gestures.
I am sure they think the same thing. “Why can’t this person speak Chinese??” But I, just like the people in America, am trying the best I can to communicate!!! I am trying to learn the language and give the respect of communicating in their language, because yes, it is their country. I should not expect them to know what I am saying.
I am not saying people who come to America shouldn’t have to know our language, but we need to be patient. People move to new places all the time. It can take years to become fluent in the language. Why should we take that right away from people who wish to come into our country? They are giving us a compliment alone, saying, “Hey! I think America is awesome. I want to live there and do there what I cannot in my country.” Let them learn on their own time.
The next time you are having a difficult time with Spanish speaking customer or a Frenchman or a German guard or whoever it is, HAVE SOME PATIENCE. They are still human and you are not God. You still do not hold the right to get mad at someone for being a little different than you.
You may not have to worry in your home country, but the minute you travel elsewhere, you become the minority. Remember that.