Latinxs come in all shapes and colors. We don’t all fit the same mold.
So, stop assuming someone doesn’t speak Spanish just because they don’t fit a stereotypical look.
Redditor FastManner8680 encountered this very issue with her coworkers. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for not disclosing to my coworkers that I understand them?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“Hello, I will try to keep this brief.”
“I am not American, but have been in America for the past year and a half or so for schooling and picked up a part time job. At my job, there is a high population of Mexican coworkers, and they frequently speak Spanish to one another.”
“I am from Peru and also speak Spanish, although they are not really the same and so some of the slang falls off with me.”
“I have very light skin, and I am White passing with maybe a slight tan to most people that do not know me.”
“I do have an accent and don’t try to hide it, but I guess not many people in America know of the Peruvian accent and so they don’t ask where I am from.”
OP’s coworkers said some rude things about OP.
“My coworkers have been saying extremely nasty things about myself and other non-Spanish speaking workers, but I chose not to say anything because I do not care for their opinions.”
“The issues came up earlier this week when two coworkers were talking about their relationship. One was the manager of our store, and the other was just a worker.”
“They were talking about it so openly in Spanish that I thought everybody in the store knew. That is why when the owner visited and asked me how I was adjusting, I told him the truth.”
“I thought that it was an alright place, although some of the not-well hidden hostility and dirty comments they made to one another were inappropriate to me.”
“He got angry and confronted the manager, and she got angry at me.”
“I don’t know exactly what happened after, but I believe that she may be subject to firing because of it all.”
“I talked to my other supervisor and the owner had made a mistake and told the staff that I was from Brazil, not Peru, so they believed I did not know Spanish or what they were saying in detail.”
This has created a hostile environment.
“Since that most of my coworkers have come to me asking what the Mexican staff has said about them, and the Mexican staff have avoided me.”
“One in particular though has been insulting me by calling me puta gringa as well as other things. I called my family to tell them what happened and my mother told me I was disrespectful by eavesdropping on conversations not meant for me.”
“Am I in the wrong?”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors agreed there were no a**holes in this scenario.
“NTA. You weren’t sneaking up and listening around a corner. You wasn’t dropping no eaves.” ~ karskipellis
“Gotta love romance languages. Gave a LOT of native Spanish speaking men heart attacks when they’d come through my check stand at a grocery store years ago.”
“I took six years of Spanish in high school and college. I am the palest white girl you will ever meet, other than my daughter. Every single time I heard comments about my body in Spanish from men that thought I’d didn’t know what they were saying, I’d mention something about how I could understand what they were saying.”
“In Spanish, complete with accent. High school Spanish teacher was from Argentina. She made sure if we were going to curse, we pronounced it right.”
“Cue looks of shock and apologies. Any time they came through after that, they were on best behavior until they got out of the store.” ~ Waterbaby8182
Some people shared their own experiences.
“I did that in my only restaurant job (I bussed for a summer in college. They tried to get me to be a server but I drop plates, especially hot ones). I’m very much a white person. Kitchen crew all spoke Spanish. After a shift or two I told them, in Spanish, that they need to speak about me more respectfully.”
“It was like a switch flipped. They started calling me Teresita bc my real name is too hard to pronounce, and always had my back. Didn’t let me lift anything they thought was too heavy. Gave me the heads up if a server was going to cause trouble. I’d translate stuff if they needed me to. It was cool.” ~ phalseprofits
“I was brought in as kitchen management (part of a team, first white people on the line ever in this particular kitchen), spent 2 weeks learning the menu and how the stations worked while getting shit talked in Spanish. Proved myself, then started conversing in conversationally fluent Spanish because ‘I’m rusty and would love to practice.’ The looks were priceless. I also had my teams complete respect going forward.” ~ cptspeirs
“When my dad was working in a grocery store in college, a kid tried stealing a candy bar and running. When he grabbed the kid’s arm he said ‘Put it back.’ The kid feigned ignorance and said ‘lo siento, no hablo ingles.'”
“My dad responded in Spanish ‘Oh that’s okay, I speak Spanish too. Put it back.'”
“The kid replied back ‘…fine…'” ~ Nerdfins
“I work with a lot of native Punjabi speakers in Canada, and one of them got freaked out when she called out to another Punjabi speaker in Punjabi, asking him to do something specific, but based on the context of the situation I was able to piece it together and was like ‘don’t worry I got it.’”
“They both came up to me a few minutes later like ‘… have you been learning Punjabi?’” ~ BakedWizerd
“I have the whitest ass Philly accent but I’m fluent in Hindi, and Tamil is actually my first language. I had a couple Tamil guys talking about me, thinking I was just another ABCD, I turned around and responded in perfect Tamil ‘I understand Tamil. Do you care to repeat that?’” ~ HellhoundsAteMyBaby
Don’t be rude to people, in any language.