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Stop Telling Me To Speak English


En este mismo momento, probablemente estás en Google Translate. Posiblemente estás tratando de traducir esta frase desconocida, en los intentos de entenderlo. Reconoces que no entiendes esta frase. No te sientes amenazado por las palabras, sino por la persona que las dice. ¿Porqué?

If you did not understand what was said above, that is what it feels like to not understand a language you are not familiar with and are forced to know in order to understand.

Being Latinx in the United States, we are enforced to speak English as if it were the official language. English is a dominant language in the U.S. and whether you want it to be the official language is besides the point. The point is, it isn’t the official language and I would kindly ask you to please stop telling my people and other people who are of minority descent who speak a different language than you do to speak it. It doesn’t make you any less American by refusing to speak English. It doesn’t make you any less American by speaking Spanish or any other language.

“When we do speak English, we are ostracized for our accents that somehow point that America isn’t our country of origin”

There have been many instances in which racists have come up to us, interrupting a conversation where both parties are speaking a foreign language to tell us what we should be doing and where we should be. Often times when we do speak English, we are ostracized for our accents that somehow point that America isn’t our country of origin. I was once told to stop speaking Spanish and to go back from where I came from at a store. I was also told that I was an immigrant for speaking my Spanish. For some reason, knowing English gave these people an unreasonable sense of superiority, even if I was multilingual. They feel as if my Spanish itself is an immigrant, as if it is inherently bad or malicious, making it inferior. Little do they know, there is no superiority complex in terms of knowing English or inferiority complex to knowing any other language that isn’t English. In America, the manner in which English is taught subjects people with different tongues to feel as if they are already inferior. It is made mandatory to learn English. Before, ‘foreign language’ classes were an option rather than making it mandatory. Now, they are a necessity because people are realizing the importance of knowing more than solely English.

You can’t say we aren’t trying. Although I was born and raised in the U.S.– my tongue was of my mother’s. I grew up only knowing Spanish because if I spoke English it was considered rude. When my family and I moved to a picket fence, gentrified suburban area, I was already singled out. I could not speak English and when I tried to enroll into ESOL, I was rejected to do so. I repeated kindergarten for not knowing English. That same year, I took the matters into my own hands and uncontrollably read books in English. Despite the fact I am a singular experience, people with a different tongue do share similar stories as I do and do put the effort in to learn a different language. It is in the case of the white supremacist and/or racist if they are willing to educate themselves to learn different languages. Most cases, they don’t.

In that case, stop assuming that we are immigrants or do not belong in this country. This is our tierra, too. Stop feeling threatened by our language and begin to understand it. To those that want us to speak English, you are wasting your time because either we already do or we don’t have to. You want us to speak English and never bother to learn ours in the first place. And to those people who wanted to hear my English, here is my English.

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katixa espinoza is a 19 yr old latinx writer in brooklyn who doesn’t believe in capitalization and hates when her name is autocorrected. she drinks one mocha coffee a day to fulfill her art student quota and likes to yell at people who don’t recognize their privilege. she can’t spell privilege without autocorrect. she still hates autocorrect, anyway. her works can be found on Sea Foam Mag, Textploit, GERM Mag and other places as well.

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