Thursday, September 28, 2017

Prejudice and the Spanish Language


Black Peruvian women dancing to Festejo music


During my travels in Latin America, I not only met black folks, but I met Asians, Middle Easterners, Jews, and Caucasions who are more "Latino" than many U.S. Latinos. I am too often baffled when I meet Latinos who are so unaware.

Yesterday, I went for my first appointment at a dental office in Harlem, NYC where there was a light-skinned African-American lady waiting ahead of me to check in. She asked the receptionist in perfect English, may I check in please? The Latina receptionist responded to her in Spanish. The lady retorted, NO SPANISH; thus, the Latina continued in English.

My turn came up with my darker-skinned self, and I told her in Spanish that I would like to register. She responded to me in English. I retorted NO INGLÉS (no English)! She knew I was pulling her leg and continued to speak English.

My million-dollar question is when will Latinos, of all people, get a revelation that you cannot determine a Spanish speaker by skin color? This receptionist herself is Afro-Dominican. You would think that she knew better.

As I have often said in many of my blog posts, during my travels, I met whites, blacks, Asians, and even Middle Easterners who are more Latino than most U.S. Latinos.