When someone speaks another language in front of you at work … and they know you don’t speak that language … they are an asshole. Plain and simple. If you’re a social justice warrior crusading for the rights of the disenfranchised, I’m sure you’re running to your email right now to blast me and say …
“Hey Asshole! Maybe they don’t feel comfortable speaking English and don’t want to be embarrassed by mispronouncing a word?”
Save your energy and MY time. That’s a bullshit excuse! I won’t even tread into the waters of “You are in America … so speak English” because that will just piss off all the snowflakes. I don’t need them blowing up my email with everything else going on in the world right now (although I do love getting them worked up!). Inside the sanctity of someone’s home, I’m all for someone speaking their native tongue and keeping their culture alive … but outside the home, let’s all speak the same language.
Yeah! Yeah! I know … I’m racist … or whatever current bullshit label you want to call me (so you can feel “woke” and superior) … but if someone is speaking a different language in front of you … you’re going to think that person is talking shit about you! I don’t care how confident a person you are … it’s impossible NOT to think that. Especially when you know they can speak English and choose not to when you’re there! It’s fucking rude and shows they have no respect for you!
Before you get your panties in a wad, I’m not some redneck with a mullet who married my cousin demanding that everybody speak English all the time ’cause this is ‘Merica. That’s not me and that’s not what it’s about. It’s about common decency and respect for one another.
If someone struggles with English because it’s not their native language, I would be a hell of a lot more understanding if they couldn’t pronounce a word … as opposed to them just not trying. At least then I would know what they’re talking about and not wonder if they’re talking shit about me.
Even Monster.com has an article on their website about this topic. Susan Warner, the president (1990-2017) and general counsel of the Philadelphia consulting firm Human Resource Trouble Shooting calls this scenario a “language-hostile environment.”
I’m not much for the whole PC sterilization of the work place and coming up with diluted names for something … but I guess since she ran an HR firm she can’t come out and just say someone who does this is an asshole. She had to keep it professional … but my guess is that if you had got a few drinks in her … she’d concede.
The person doing it certainly wouldn’t like it if the tables were turned. If I’m talking to someone and that person enters the room and we instantly stop talking … what are they going to think? Exactly! We were talking shit about them! Otherwise … we would have just continued what we were saying. That’s similar to walking in on two people talking another language and they don’t start speaking English when you arrive.
They were talking in their language before you got there!
Yes, you are absolutely right! But guess what? I’m there now, so the polite thing to do would be to switch to English so I can understand what’s being said. Yeah, there’s no law saying they have to but in the scenario I pointed out if someone walks in and I stop talking, they are automatically going to think I was talking shit … even if I wasn’t. So the same applies to someone speaking a different language when I walk in. They may just be having a normal conversation but switching to English when I walk in is just polite.