Thursday, April 8, 2010

Things My Wife Complains About: #13 Being Profiled

As an English-speaking thirty-year-old white male of European extraction, it's difficult for me to find opportunity for linguistic/age/racial/gender/ethnic discrimination. I suppose for a time I paid more for car insurance than was strictly necessary, and those scars are real. I try to sympathize with the injustices leveled around me, but I had difficulty finding the proper compassion for my wife during our recent vacation in Colombia.

Would you believe that in this Spanish-speaking country someone had the audacity to answer my wife in Spanish? I mean, this is 2010.

I tried, inadequately, to put myself in her shoes. How would I have felt were I in Scotland, say, and someone just started speaking English to me? My imagination failed. I couldn't fathom the injustice. Worst of all, the women who profiled my wife were British. They were trying to speak Spanish just because they were in a community where everyone speaks Spanish. Could you be more provincial?

Proposed Solutions!

1) Refuse travel to Central and South America, the Caribbean, the Iberian peninsula, California, Texas, Florida, and several neighborhoods in greater New York City to limit exposure to future profiling.
2) Purchase Spanish Rosetta Stone, Levels 1-5: play discs backward to unlearn Spanish language.
3) Don't talk to--or listen to--anyone who doesn't know the languages you speak and the situations where you prefer speaking those languages (hard).

Cartagena, Colombia 2010

1 comment:

eralon said...

I asked her if the seat was taken in perfect English. And then the snooty Brit answered me in broken Iberian Spanish. Then she went back to chatting in English.

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