Friday, September 01, 2006

The Problem of Spanish-speaking Persons in Service Jobs

In the past month, while milling about places in the Northeast, I've run into a few cases where I needed to interact with the staff of the place, either a store or a restaurant. Twice I tried to explain what I wanted to the staff person, and she would direct me to another person, and that one would get it wrong too. I asked for no bacon on a sandwich and got double bacon; I asked if a set of children's cultery were clean & intended for general customer use: the person gives clueless nods and points to the canister and pulls out a spoon. It caused me to take extra time. I was ticked. It wasn't a "Spanish business". Accomodating spanish-speaking customers meant that they didn't get bilingual staff but monolingual staff of a different language from the majority in the town. yada yada yada.

So, does this ire on my part indicate that I represent a constituency that needs to be empowered and accomodated, either in the marketplace or on the capitol hill? No! I believe that this means I need to hear a reminder that God intends us to welcome the stranger, that we are to love the alien, because our spiritual ancestors--the Israelites-- were strangers in the land of Egypt.

I guess that's this willingness to engage in hand-wringing instead of flag-waving means I'm a liberal.

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