Just stop speaking Spanish

December 12, 2011

When I moved to Denver a few months ago I decided to start salsa dancing. Now I’m (a little) addicted and go dancing a lot. I love the community of new friends I’ve made.

Recently I was dancing with a guy I hadn’t seen for a few weeks. He took my hand, led me to the dance floor and I immediately felt something weird. His hand was different. But I didn’t say anything.

As we began dancing he confessed he was in a fight a few weeks ago and broke his hand. As a result he has a metal plate holding his bones together. I’m not a shy person so I asked what the fight was over. He said some guys were giving him and his friend a hard time. To satiate my curiosity I asked what they did.

“They told me to just stop speaking Spanish.”

What the hell. Seriously? We live in America, the “melting pot”, the country of immigrants, a place of “freedom” and my friend is being told to stop speaking Spanish.

He retorted, “No, I won’t.” Well obviously the guys weren’t happy with his answer. Cue punches being thrown which resulted in a broken hand. Thankfully the physical wound will heal, but the message of intolerance he heard will reverberate his entire life.

All this because someone wasn’t comfortable with my friend, an American citizen who speaks impeccable English, using his native language. I think what happened is a symptom of fear. I hope one day we can be a people who aren’t intimidated by others who look and sound different than us, but can appreciate the beauty they offer.


2 Responses to “Just stop speaking Spanish”

  1. Nadine Melania Says:

    Hard to believe this stuff still goes on. Just cannot understand it.

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