I have applied for job positions in Patterson and Modesto. Going back to college part time, I have applied for many positions. I often get an interview with companies I apply for, but the question they ask that leaves me jobless is, “Are you bilingual?”
I say yes, I speak English, and I know sign language. They always respond with, “I need a Spanish speaker, but thanks, anyways.”
There is a dental office in Patterson that has contacted me three times. The second and third time, I thought, well, maybe they want to give me a shot, even though I don’t speak Spanish. The dentist set me up for a job interview.
The last question she asked me over the phone was, “Are you bilingual?” My response was yes.
“Spanish, you know Spanish?” I told her no again, and she responded with “Oh, never mind, have a good day.”
How is it fair that I, an American, have to learn Spanish to obtain a job in my own country? If I went to another country, they would not bend over backwards and be accommodating to me simply because I don’t know their language.
I applied for another position at a store in Patterson. Didn’t hear anything back. When I went to that store recently and couldn’t find my item, I asked an employee. Her response was “No speak English.” About five feet from me was another employee. I asked her, and her response was “Oh, English un poco.” I lost it.
A Spanish speaker doesn’t have to speak English, but an English speaker must speak Spanish. I cannot get a job because I don’t speak Spanish, but hey, it’s OK if you only know Spanish and no English.
This is not about racism. This is about experiencing discrimination for not speaking a language that is different from what this country was founded on. I thought America was about equal opportunities, united as one.
I know many Patterson Latinos who feel the same way. They were born and raised here, and because they do not speak Spanish, they, too, cannot obtain a job.
Kimberly Wilson, Patterson