Can. you. understand. me?!

Something happened on the bus back from the supermarket today.

There was this man who suddenly spoke to me. At first, he was sitting behind me talking about with another person. She was some gym instructor he knew. She was white. When they were conversing he spoke at a normal pace, but she spoke to him in a very loud, slow, extremely enunciated tone. He was foreign. When she got off the bus, he must have gotten bored, because he turns towards me and says, with the same loud, slow, enunciated tone that the gym instructor had spoken with him previously, “I like your bags. Seems you bought a lot.” Even when I smiled awkwardly and replied in my accentless English, “Yes. It’s important to have a good meal,” he continued to speak to me with that same tone.

This has happened to me before. When I worked as a cashier, lots of customers would approach me with a bit of caution, and would speak in that same tone. This was especially noted when I was a waitress at a Chinese restaurant. Many customers would also use that tone. “Ex-cuse. Me. Miss. COULD. YOU. PLEASE. GET. ME. MORE. WA-TER? WA-TER,” pointing ferociously at the water glass while speaking.

Just because my face is different, does that mean I don’t understand you? Also, why do people always speak louder when this happens? Are people who you assume don’t speak English also deaf? Sometimes I think people just do this unconsciously. I know they don’t mean to be rude, but it’s a bit insulting, don’t you think? Imagine someone speaking to you like you’re stupid without even knowing the first thing about you. Just because people are different from you, are you just going to assume things?

It’s best to treat everyone the same way when you first meet them. Even if you’re a rude person, treat everyone you meet rudely. You don’t have to be nice, but don’t treat some white person nicely, while being rude to a black person. On the first meeting treat everyone the same. Once you get to know that person better, then you can adjust your attitude towards them.

Please be careful about this in the future. You’ll end up looking like the idiot if you don’t.

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2 comments on “Can. you. understand. me?!

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