Se Habla English!
Why I get approached by in Spanish? No, I don't mean on the streets by people that don't know the language of the United States of America, and have a question for me, are lost, or want to know the time. No. I mean people who are fully employed to serve the public, and who I know speak English. The fresh-faced medical assistant in colorful scrubs, the buttoned up bank teller, the perky denimed teacher's assistant, and even the badge-displaying government employee. "Buenos dias, puedo ayudarla?", they ask. My reply is always, "Good morning. Yes, you can help me." I, then proceed to present my case to them.
So, what is the problem? Well, as soon as I walk in, they are already prejudging me. Thinking that I might be a foreigner. I am an American citizen, born and raised. If I were a foreigner, they assume that I don't embrace my new home enough to learn the language. Or I could be a tourist who just happens to have brushed up on her English skills in excited anticipation to visiting the U.S. and I'm eager to put my linguistic skills to practice. No, they assume that I am at a disadvantage and that I am completely illiterate in English and therefore helpless, and only they can come to my rescue because they are bilingual. Thanks, but I speak English well. I also speak Spanish perfecto.
I know, they don't want to embarrass a person who will not understand them if spoken to in English. Let's insult the intelligence of the person who actually gives a darn. Let's profile him or her. After all, most Hispanics simply don't speak English, right? First, the non-English speaker should be embarrassed. Second, believe me, that person will let you know that he or she does not understand English. Now, dearie, you can show off your bilingual skills and feel good about helping someone with the complexities of life in these the United States of America.