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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Language Stereotype of Blacks


black Latinos, Afro-Latinos
As a friend pointed out so eloquently, this video was funny as well as sad with an olive complexioned Latino making derogatory remarks about blacks in front of a black guy who just happened to be a native Spanish speaker. Well, it wasn't so funny when I got a taste of such ignorance when a Spanish-speaking client at the agency where I work assumed that I did not speak Spanish.

What frustrated me was the fact that the receptionist was unable to help her without an interpreter.

This morning, when I entered the lobby of my workplace heading for my office, I overheard a woman trying to get help from the receptionist. The problem was that she was Spanish-only and the receptionist was English-only. I stopped to help the receptionist as I have done so many times in the past by serving as an interpreter. It was obvious that this mono-lingual Spanish-speaking woman had more confidence communicating with the receptionist because she fits the stereotypical, physical profile of a Latina.

It was obvious the woman had more confidence communicating with the receptionist because she fits the stereotypical, physical profile of a Latina.

What frustrated me was the fact that the receptionist was unable to help her without an interpreter. I was the only one president. I felt as though I were being stereotyped because of my color. Thus, I insisted to her in Spanish that if she needed any help she needs to talk to me. She finally complied.

So, why would a Latin American come to this country and assume that blacks are limited to English and Ebonics?

As in every race and culture, you will find it's share ignorant people; the Latino community is no exception where so many are so quick to assume that if you are not of olive-skinned complexion with high cheekbones, you cannot possibly speak Spanish. You would think they'd know better because there are blacks, Asians, Middle Easterners, and Europeans in every Latin-American country from Mexico to Argentina who speak Spanish as their first language. So, why would a Latin American come to this country and assume that blacks are limited to English and Ebonics? How do you look at someone and determine what language one is capable of speaking?