Yes. I. Speak. English.*

*what one of my friends said to the Honors English teacher when asked.

Scene:  Community affair with lots of Asian folks.  Enter two white people.

White person #1:  Excuse.  Me!  Can. You. Tell. Me. Where. Is. The. Gymnasium?  You. Know. The. GYM-NA-SI-UM?

Me:  No.  I. Am. Sorry! But. This. Is. The. Auditorium.  You. Know. The. AU-DI-TOR-I-UM.

Okay, so I didn’t really say that.  But I thought it in my head, which made me smirk while responding.

8 thoughts on “Yes. I. Speak. English.*

  1. Next time that happens (sadly, there is *always* a next time) say it. Don’t hold back. Let them have it, let it be the last time.

    My grandma used to tell me to behave properly (i.e. mind my manners) because if I did something that a white person saw as unsavory on whatever level, they would always say that Mexicans were rude/dirty/mean/stupid/whatever.

    I’m an English teacher so when people are ridiculous about “TU HAB-LO ENGLISH?!” as was that person you dealt with, I hand them their ass. Never with swear words, though. But I give them a right tongue lashing

    Sorry grandma…I bet it’s the last time a lot of people pull that shit with a person of color.

  2. Omg, you SO should have said that! I am sad that you missed an opportunity to zing racism right to its face! :(

    Oh well, next time, unfortunately. :(

  3. I’m worried that if I say, “Yes. I. Speak. English.”, the person will think I speak like that because I’m Asian.

    Stuff like that has happened before. When I have colds and pronounce m’s as b’s and n’s and d’s, there are people who think that I am speaking with a Chinese accent.

  4. A few of my teachers in high school thought I couldn’t speak English well because I was a very quiet kid… and as we all know, brown + taciturn = foreign.

    Actual conversation between my mother and my freshman Algebra teacher:

    Teacher: “Is English her first language?”
    My Mom: “… what the hell are you talking about?”

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