As we go through life, we learn all sorts of information, and there’s no guarantee that the person next to us will learn the same things.
But sometimes people can be really bitter about what they don’t know, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor whitespanishhh enjoys learning different languages, specifically for practical purposes.
But when she was questioned about the languages she knows, the Original Poster (OP) was thoroughly confused.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for speaking Spanish as a white girl in front of my brother’s Hispanic fiancée who doesn’t speak Spanish?”
The OP was familiar with multiple languages.
“I’m a white woman (21 Female) who lives in the southern US.”
“I took an interest in foreign languages in high school because it seemed like something important. I speak Spanish and English fluently since those two are the most spoken languages in the US, and it seemed important to learn Spanish.”
“I also speak Chinese very well but not as well as a native speaker.”
The OP was having a typical conversation at her brother’s housewarming party.
“My brother has been dating this girl, Luisa, for several months. He’d mentioned her family is from Mexico.”
“They moved in together recently and threw a housewarming party.”
“It’s worth noting that my brother’s best friend is Hispanic, and his family is from Cuba.”
“My brother speaks a bit of Spanish, he can follow conversations decently and knows a fair amount of insults.”
“When I got to the party, I start chatting with my brother’s best friend, and we were talking in Spanish. It’s something we’ve just done for years. We primarily talk in Spanish because ‘use it or lose it’ and all that.”
Unfortunately, the OP didn’t make the best first impression with her brother’s girlfriend.
“My brother and his girlfriend came over, and I said, ‘It’s nice to meet you,’ and I included them in what we were talking about, all of which I said in Spanish.”
“His girlfriend is named Luisa, and her family is from Mexico, and I’d heard her speaking English with a bit of an accent when I came in, so I incorrectly assumed she spoke Spanish.”
“She kind of went off on me about how not everyone speaks Spanish, and that as a white girl, I don’t need to be speaking it.”
“I did try to apologize for assuming, but she kept yelling at me and then ran off to the other side of the room and went to sh*t talk me to her friends.”
“My brother later apologized and said it was a sore spot for her.”
“But it’s been on my mind, AITA for assuming she speaks Spanish when she doesn’t, and speaking Spanish in front of her?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some sound this sounded like a “her” problem for Luisa.
“Speaking Spanish is a skill. Anyone can learn it when they have the desire to. It’s not strictly only for Mexicans and non-whites.”
“She’s most likely ashamed that she didn’t learn to speak it and misplaced that anger on you with cheap shots that a white girl shouldn’t be speaking the language.”
“By the way, I’m Spanish/Central American descent and I’m also trilingual in English/Spanish/Spanglish and folks assume I’m white. Love it when folks assume I can’t speak the language and shock them when I can.” – stacity
“NTA, this sounds like a ‘her’ problem. It’s wrong to assume but based on the context, I would’ve assumed the same, assumption is human nature.”
“Her reaction does NOT fit the situation, you didn’t learn/speak Spanish just to ruin her party.”
“Personally, I wish it was mandatory to learn 2-3 languages, how can we ever connect if we don’t bother reaching out our hand?”
“Maybe offer to teach her? If it wouldn’t be condescending.” – HappyMelonGirl
“Then there are people who have to be the victim or are so insecure about what they CAN’T do that they vilify anyone who CAN.”
“It wouldn’t hurt to try talking to her again, but if she keeps shutting you out, then the failure is 110% on her and not you.” – Busymomintx
“There are a lot of white people in Mexico too!! So this is just weird…”
“Just a guess but what might have actually happened is she might be sensitive when people initiate Spanish conversations with her after hearing her accent.”
“She might take offense because in her mind you’re assuming that her English isn’t very good.”
“I was surprised once when my family member got angry with a cashier for this and turns out that was the reason why.” – pausa1
“It would be fair if she was a child, but they are both adults, and they both had a chance to learn. Luisa ignored it, OP learned two, one like native and the second ‘just’ fluently.”
“And Luisa just ignores any chance of improving. Instead of asking to go slow so she can join the conversation (I can present myself in Spanish, even though I never learned) she went off and started acting… it’s not racist, OP’s white, not even xenophobic since they’re both Americans… she started acting ignorant?” – Itlyellowcloud
Others agreed and also took issue with Luisa’s outlook on who should speak Spanish.
“NTA. That’s just a regular old social faux pas, and it’s not for her to gatekeep an entire language. Especially if her dumba** knew how many ‘white’ people in the world speak Spanish.” – realauthormattjanak
“I think one of the best parts of Spanish is that basically, the entire spectrum of skin color speaks it fluently at some point in the Americas, even if it’s not their first/native language. It’s incredibly diverse, and it’s awesome.” – Jesus_Christs_Balls
“I assume she meant that since OP doesn’t have Hispanic heritage, it’s pointless for her to learn the language.”
“Which is moronic, as if she’s never heard of people learning foreign languages.” – praleva
“She said to you, ‘That as a white girl I don’t need to be speaking it’?”
“This is one of the most stupid things I’ve ever heard. Should she go to Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, etc and she’ll be in shock seeing white people, even blondes and blue-eyed, all of them speaking Spanish.”
“And anyway, why a white, non-Spanish person couldn’t speak Spanish or any other language?”
“That’s rude and moronic as hell.” – FlaviuJosephus
“As a Cuban who is embarrassed about not speaking Spanish, my best friend is as white as it gets and he’s taken years of Spanish and is fluent in the language. I don’t get upset that he speaks the language.”
“Luisa was out of line.” – Blustasis
A few pointed out that maybe the OP shouldn’t have assumed Luisa could speak Spanish.
“To be fair, I would have assumed she speaks Spanish as well, given she’s Mexican, especially if her parents are born in Mexico.”
“Maybe there is a cultural difference, I’m not in the US and here most first-generation immigrants speak their native language. I know it’s different in the US because people are afraid of discrimination.”
“But if I meet Luisa, based on my previous experiences in my country I would assume she speaks Spanish.” – praleva
“Your assumption is the only thing I can fault you for. (Still NTA)”
“She may have seen it as you ‘rubbing your language skills in her face.’ It might also be more complex like her seeing it as you denying her right to be in America. That’s, of course, only two of many reasons I’ve seen for a negative reaction to polyglots making the same assumption.”
“Her ‘white girls don’t need to be speaking Spanish’ routine was pretty similar to your ‘her name is Luisa and her family is from Mexico, so she *must* speak Spanish’ routine.” – WaywardHistorian667
“NTA. ‘As a white girl, you don’t need to be speaking it (Spanish)’? That’s ignorant and racist AF.”
“Maybe apologize to her for not realizing she didn’t speak Spanish, but NTA at all.”
“She also owes you an apology for taking out her frustration on you.” – Busymomintx
“There’s something honestly real immature about this lady. The only thing I can assume that it’s a sore spot for her is because she’s a Hispanic and she doesn’t know Spanish. This is easily remedied by attempting to learn the language.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being born a certain ethnic group and not being able to speak that ethnic group’s native tongue well – Ie. A Chinese not knowing how to speak Chinese, or an Indian not knowing how to speak Hindi.”
“There is also nothing wrong with other people speaking Spanish. Should everyone in the world avoid speaking Spanish because of her ‘sore spot’? No. She should get over herself. Either do something about it, or learn to get over it.”
“NTA in the slightest.” – dazechong
While the subReddit could mildly agree that it may have not been right to assume that the OP’s brother’s girlfriend spoke Spanish, they could agree that it was an easy enough assumption to make, and that the girlfriend’s reaction spoke much higher volumes than the OP’s false assumption.
It seemed that there were some harsh feelings beneath the surface and that Luisa may have projected those feelings onto her first encounter with her boyfriend’s sister.