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  • Category: Language & Words

    Our Great DiscrimiNation, Part 3

    | VA, USA | Bigotry, Bosses & Owners, Language & Words

    (I’ve recently started a new job. I’m Native American. I lighten my hair to bring out red highlights and am commonly mistaken for Hispanic.)

    Manager: “I’m glad you’re here today. No one else speaks Spanish. Go help this couple.” *motions Hispanic couple over*

    Me: “Sir, I don’t speak Spanish.”

    Manager: “Yes, you do. You’re Mexican.”

    Me: “No. I’m not.”

    Manager: “What are you then?”

    Me: “I’m Native American.”

    (The next week the manager interviewed two new applicants, both Spanish speaking, since ‘I’m not Mexican.’)

    Our Great DiscrimiNation, Part 2
    Our Great DiscrimiNation

    A Bad Time Can Be Saved By Rhyme

    , | Nashville, TN, USA | At The Checkout, Employees, Language & Words

    (After a rather long and stressful night that has put us both in a foul mood, my husband and I decide to go through a drive thru on the way home.)

    Employee On Speaker: “We have beef and chicken, which one are you pickin’?”

    (We couldn’t help but to burst out laughing. Whoever you are, random employee, you made a horrible night awesome!)

    Hostile In Translation, Part 2

    | USA | Coworkers, Language & Words, Liars/Scammers

    (I am bilingual, a fact that my coworker seems to be jealous of. One day the phone rings and she answers it.)

    Coworker: “Hello? Oh wait.” *hands phone to me* “Here. A Spanish customer.”

    (I take the phone. There is a lot of background noise on the customer’s end and her cellphone is losing signal, so her words are very garbled up and choppy. I tell her to call back later, and hang up.)

    Coworker: “What was that?”

    Me: “Oh, her cell phone had a bad signal so her words came out all choppy. I couldn’t understand her at all!”

    Coworker: “Yeah, right. I bet you don’t know Spanish! You don’t even have any accent!”

    Me: “That’s because I moved here when I was a baby. But my family spoke it at home.”

    (She shoots me a suspicious look and we continue on with work. The next day, a woman approaches and starts asking questions in Spanish. I didn’t get much sleep the previous night, and I’m dead tired. Plus, it’s near the end of my shift, so my brain’s fried. I try to help her as much as possible. She was inquiring about a job. Then she leaves.)

    Coworker: *from behind me* “What was THAT?!”

    Me: “What?”

    Coworker: “You were so awkward with that Spanish-speaking woman. I knew it. You’ve lied about being bilingual! I’m telling the supervisor.”

    Me: *irritated* “Look! I’ve been on my feet for the last eight hours. I can barely speak English!”

    (She tells the supervisor that I’m lying. The supervisor tells her to shut up and quit causing trouble! The Spanish-speaking woman gets hired and we speak Spanish all the time, much to my coworker’s irritation!)

    Hostile In Translation

    And A Fish (Out Of Water) Burger

    , | USA | Employees, Language & Words

    (I am English, but live in the USA. While driving one day I get thirsty, and go through the drive-thru of a popular burger chain.)

    Worker: *through the speaker* “Welcome to [Fast Food Restaurant]. May I take your order?”

    Me: “Can I get a bottle of water, please?”

    Worker: “Could you repeat that, ma’am?”

    Me: “Water. A bottle of water.”

    Worker: “What was that?”

    Me: “Water. Bottled water. Uh, to drink? Water?”

    Worker: “Sorry, ma’am. Can you repeat that?”

    (I figure the worker can’t understand my English accent, and try to (badly) imitate the local American accent.)

    Me: “Can aaah get some waaah-trrrrr?”

    Worker: “Sure! One water, that’ll be $1.10, first window!”

    Translation Elation

    | Surrey, England, UK | Coworkers, Language & Words

    (My colleague is having trouble with a group of ladies.)

    Colleague: “I’m trying to explain [ice cream] to them and it’s going nowhere.”

    (I hover for a moment, and recognize some words as Spanish.)

    Me: *in Spanish* “My apologies ladies. Are you Spanish?”

    Customer: “Mexican.”

    Me: “All right. I studied Catalan, so please forgive any differences and my years without practice. We have three sizes of ice cream: small, which is one scoop, medium, which is two, and large, which is three. All our prices are on the board behind me. We also have dark, milk, and white chocolate, nuts, and warm chocolate, or caramel as extras.”

    (The women, while thrilled with my explanation, do not buy ice cream.)

    Colleague: “How the f*** did you do that?”

    Me: “I speak four languages, including Spanish.”

    Colleague: *walking to the others* “Did you see that? Did you see that!? [My Name] spoke another language like it’s nothing!”

    (I found this rather cringe-worthy, since the other colleague he was talking to is of Indian descent.)

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