A Conversation I Wish I Never Had

Acquaintance: I'm happy my son will be learning Spanish and English.


Me: I think it's great, it's such an advantage to be bilingual or multilingual, I want Max to have as many languages as can fit in his little head.


Acquaintance: Oh God, not me, it's ok if he learns Spanish cause his father is Spanish (she meant Mexican), but I don't want him learning those other stupid languages.


Me: Ummmmmm


Acquaintance: No way am I going to let him learn Guatemalanian or Honduranian or other stupid languages. And he better not talk to any Brazil people (er, Brazilians?), their Spanish sucks, I can't understand them at all!


Me: Gaaaaaaaa, huh what? (That's me dumbstruck by her ignorance)


Acquaintance: You know, I didn't even know that Guatemalania existed til I moved down here. And I really don't want my son to learn Mayan, that is the stupidest language "Och poch choc", can't they speak normal? I know his father speaks it, but it's dumb, sounds retarded.


Me: Oh, look at the time, I really must run....



Sigh. Now seriously, this is an American woman in her thirties who has lived here for about five years. She doesn't really speak Spanish herself. She claims that she has a university degree, but where is the evidence? Guatemalania? Hondurania? And how can you not know that they speak Portugese in Brazil and not Spanish? Just another reason why I call her "acquaintance" and not friend, not only is she ignorant, but the implied racism just blew me away. Why oh why has this woman decided that I am to be her new best friend??


Comments

Brenda said…
SCARY, the things people believe and then say. How in this day and age with so much technology and the world becoming such a small place can anyone be that ignorant? At least while she is in Mexico, I hope she doesn't vote anywhere lol; but I am afraid that there are lots more like her that can and do.
Personally I wish I could speak a ton of languages and envy people that can. How that opens up the world to a person.
Claudette said…
That is pretty damn sad and unfortunately that is just the kind of ignorance that prevails here in the US.

This video is further proof that your friend is not alone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_U0GchyAgo&feature=related
Canexicana said…
hehe, she sounds really out to lunch. Not uncommon, unfortunately. Hopefully she doesn't read your blog and our comments! Oh well, I live clear across Mexico so I'm safe.
Anonymous said…
Stupidity is Universal and International. These are the people that we amuse ourselves with and inspire great comedy skits.

Ultimately, I just feel sorry for these people.

Other than that it's great to see you're posting again CANUCK!

John in Los Angeles
Mexico "Way" said…
Who is it! Who is it!? LOL

I tried not to laugh because it's really not that funny but I couldn't help it. The best part was the Mayan "Och poch choc". I cant't stop giggling. I know I shouldn't but oh man!

I don't want my kid learning Englandian. I can never understand those wankers.
barry said…
Oh Kelly,, I wouldn't be so hasty dismissing this new walking epitome of sage sayings ..such classics as ' Better for people to think you a fool,, than open your mouth and remove all doubt","Don't Confuse me with facts, I have made up my mind!" or a Texas Favorite,," Never try to teach a pig to dance,, wastes your time and pisses off the pig"..but if future conversations become analogous to being hit in the forehead with a hammer,, you could always politely resort to divine intervention .."Sorry, I gave up English for LENT .. liked it so much going to continue till Jesus comes back" . You ARE going to lose a wonderful source of Comic relief though.
Erica said…
hhhhhmmmmmm Kelly .......Are you sure she was American ???? She sounds like she was from RETARDIA ....u know....the land of the RETARDIAN people! Such ignorance .......i wish i wouldve been there ....i would've been like "my Fifi is going to speak Pana Rican !!!" Got a problem????
Anonymous said…
hey Cuz...

What ever you, don't let max learn how to speak Canadian!!! My God... what will the world come to? I mean with all that "oot and aboot", I can hardly understand you people!!!

(oh, wait... I guess I'm Canadian too... well, at least by birth anyways) lol

Keep up the great bloggin' cuz and tell the fam' I said hello.

Bruce a.k.a. "Scottish Rasta"
: )
beachin77 said…
i knew that had to be an american! since we're known for our vast knowledge of other cultures and our desire to always learn more . . . oh wait, that's not right.

and by the way, i would love to learn mayan, but i have enough trouble with spanish! maybe one day i'll learn hondurian . . . i hear that's easy once you know spanish! ja ja! love your stories!
Steve Cotton said…
Reminds me of a story. Went to dinner at the home of some college friends. Their teenage daughter wanted some advice on where she should spend a semester abroad. The choices were Spain and London (you can see it coming). She thought Spain because she had a year of high school Spanish -- and she did not know which language they spoke in London.

Her parents merely smiled that pained smile that only a parent can appreciate.
Brice said…
That's horrible. Being her friend will do one of 2 things: Either enlighten her (not likely), or drive you batshit.
Do you think she reads your blog?
But. I. What? The? Uff..gah!

That's me, speechless.

And I HOPE she reads your blog, but literacy is probably not her strong suit.
Jackie said…
Ignoramus! They never seem to amaze me with that kind of stupity.

Ha, ha to the Canadian comments. That goes for learning to speak Minnesotian or Alabamian.
I think the appropriate question is do you think she reads? I think I would have burst out laughing and said something like "oh, my gawd, I almost thought you were serious, but then when you said you couldn't understand Brazilian, I just knew you were putting me on! Oh, my and Honduranian, how do you think this stuff up? Oh, my, your killing me!"....oh, you were serious? really? oh,...."....
Is her husband a duffus too? Or is there hope for the child?
regards,
Theresa
RiverGirl said…
I think this is more evidence that the US is failing to educate it's people. Americans learn to be world-class consumers and never learn basic geography.
Melissa said…
I know this kid, he speaks Guatamalan, English, and ghetto. He would say about this person, "Yo, she be stuck on stupid."

Of course, I know that you didn't make up this convo, but it's absolutely incredible that an actual human being could actually sustain that level of idiocy and ignorance.

Glad I wasn't there to witness this, as you know I would have le her know what's up.

She be stuck on stupid!
CancunCanuck said…
Brenda- It is really amazing to me, especially since she is in a bicultural relationship with a bicultural baby! I'm with you, I wish I had many more languages than I do!

Claudette- Great video, thanks! I like the Rick Mercer "Talking to Americans" series too, you can search it on youtube, there are quite a few installments. :)

Canexicana- Hola and welcome! I like your nickname, I call my son a "MexiCanadian", but Canexicana is very nice! And no, she doesn't read the blog, you're still safe. :)

John- It is universal, stupidity knows no geographical boundaries, it's just amazing that someone who came from an "educated" background can be sooooo, ummmm, "unedumacated" as Buckwheat might say.

Mexico Way- She is outside all our circles, no computer so not a blogger and no ex-pat friends. I am sure I have told you stories about her, but I don't think you know her. And yeah, what's up with those Englandish people?

Barry- Aw, you always make me laugh, thanks amigo, lol!

Erica- Yes, she is a bad ambassador for the US, that's for sure! Bring on the Pana Rican Fifi, LOL!

Bruce- Oot and aboot? You must have me confused with some other Canadian, teehee. And hey, you may talk like an American and live in America, but I've seen your Canadian birth certificate dude, LOL!

Beachin77- Welcome aboard, thanks for commenting and making me giggle! I checked out your blog and will be following along (was sad to read about La Choza too, I lived in Cozumel when I first got to Mexico, so sad!)

Steve- Oh dear, what a sad story. I'm sure that young girl is not alone. Somehow I have more sympathy for a teenager who doesn't have a good grasp of what's out in the world than a 30 something woman living outside her own country. And I think I am learning that pained smile, teehee.

Brice- I'm already batshit, here's hoping she sees some enlightenment from the meager moments I bestow upon her (just kidding, it's not like I am the Pope granting audiences, but I do try to limit my time with her even if she bangs on our door everyday, grrrrr).

Scott- Nope, she doesn't know anything about computers or the internet. She asked me to send an email to her mom once, I asked her what the address is and she said "www.momsname.com". I said, no, her email address and she said "That's it, you just use your name with www right?"

heather- Yep, I was speechless too. She does not read the blog, see comment to Scott above. She does claim to have a degree, but she's claimed a lot of things in the past that have turned out to be complete lies so I don't know what to believe out of her mouth.

Jackie- Ah, Minnesotian is a dialect of Canadian, eh? Now, Alabamian or Floridian can be difficult to learn, but not nearly as hard as Texanian. ;-)

Theresa- I've never seen her with a book in her house, not even a magazine in fact. Big TV watcher though! I like your approach, I wish I hadn't been floored speechless, I should have reacted in the way you suggested! And no, I think husband is worse, the child is one of the reasons I haven't moved (the only way to get rid of her, she knows where we live and comes to the door everyday). Poor little baby, seriously.

Rivergirl- It's not just Americans, but I totally get what you are saying. If more people got away from their Wii and their plasma and looked at the world around them outside of Target and Walmart, we'd all be a little better off.

Melissa- Oh, she so be stuck on stupid. It's quite amazing actually, it's not just a little stupid and backward, it's a LOT. I wish you would have been there. (But then again, I always wish you were here!)

Heather- The bitch be trippin' indeed. :)
Manolo said…
As a dual citizen (Canuckistan-Guatemalania) I should've taken offence at this person's ignorance. On the other hand, I have had a couple of weeks ago in a Mayan town in Guatemalania a very interesting experience (positive) with a group of American university students learning K'iche' (one of the Mayan languages most spoken in my little country of origin) and I was completely impressed by how both Americans and locals embraced each other in their common interest for Mayan culture. Something most non-Mayan citizens of Guatemalania look down upon and think in a very similar way to your acquaintance.
Ah, and even though more and more I have come across people in Toronto who actually know where Guate is or that have visited it I still have in the back of my head the amount of times I've been referred to as "Spanish" in my beloved Canuckistan.
harvestmoon said…
This was fun to read. Funny because if it were true there would be tear stains all over the blog. :)

Want to come to Bead Beach tomorrow? We're heading out around 1-2pm - email me and I'll send you my phone number.

I've renewed my dedication to OPOL but man oh man is it hard when it is a 2nd language.
This reminds me of a story my friend told me of a recent trip with her three year old to the pediatrician back in the States. She mentioned to her son'd doctor that he was going to an informal Spanish playgroup to expose him to a new language. Her doctor wanted to know why she would waste her child's precious learning time on such a thing rather than focusing on math or computer science.
First of all...well that's just stupid and second....
the child is THREE for f's sake!!! Computer Science????
Claudette said…
Michele in playa, that reminds of the time when I went to my over priced Texas dentist ( I had no insurance) and she kindly suggested for me to go to a school to get the procedure done by students. I said, I would rather go to Mexico (as my parents live on the border, Texas with Mexico) and would get it done professionally instead. She had a look of disbelief on her face and highly discouraged me to do that. I said "you would rather me get this done by a student in their second year over a professional in Mexico?" and she say "oh yes!"

I kindly informed her that medical tourism is rampant these days with the all time sky high medical care in the US and Mexico believe it or not was on that map for dentistry.

It was like talking to a wall....she just did not get it.
CancunCanuck said…
Manolo- Ignorance is a world wide phenomenon, but so is enlightenment. The enlightened just make for less humour. :) I think most Torontonians have a better idea of what's out in the big wide world in comparison to folks from small towns, but then again, maybe that's another form of prejudice on my part. Glad to see you here, I miss your blog!!

Harvestmoon- Oh how I wish it were fictional, but alas it is a true story. Sorry I didn't get your invite in time, we had committed to Isla Blanca already, though the folks we thought we would meet didn't show. Good for you for working on OPOL when it's your second language, what a challenge!! I know there are a lot of resources and support out "there" on the web, but actually doing it is TOUGH.

Michele- ARGH, that story makes me angry, to suggest that learning a second language is a waste of time is absurd. As a doctor, you would think they would know that it is PROVEN that kids with multiple languages are better in maths and sciences. And yeah, ahem, computer science at three? Max knows how to push buttons and is learning about the mouse, but I don't expect him to reformat my hard drive. (Insert rolling eyes here).

Claudette- Another ARGH, how crazy! A student over a qualified dentist? Smacks of racism again. And yep, it's like talking to a wall with some people, don't hurt yourself about it, let them linger in their ignorance, it will come back to haunt them one day if karma works as I believe it does.
Hollito said…
who has lived here for about five years. She doesn't really speak Spanish herself.

Wow, must be really hard to manage not to speak Spanish after five years. ;-)

A while ago I wrote an email to a friend in Munich and mentioned that I had been to El Paso.
She answered "Oh, so you have been to MX again. How was it?"
I answered "Have you been out of the classroom to get a new box of chalk when geography was teached in your class?" ;-)
Fned said…
Ooh Ooh... send her over to me, please! Please!! Pwetty please??

*snickering maliciously in three different languages*

Fned.
Sadly it is sooo true how many people think like her....

I do blame the lack of good teaching because kids in this country learn where are all the countries and what language they speak, and they mostly understand that the English is pronounced differently in different countries but still the same language...

You have no idea how many people I have said in my life that Im from Dominican Republic and they have no idea where is that located or what language is spoken there... I mean, Im talking about a LOT of people... I got the habit of saying that Im from the Caribbean because I just cant stand it... You have no idea how many people think that DR is in Europe, and that we speak Frenck or Italian.... Ugh!
Heather said…
I'd change my phone number or offer her drugs maybe you can scare her away, lol!
-h
CancunCanuck said…
Hollito- Wow, this is not a condemnation, just a really curious question, how do you survive without Spanish? I mean, grocery stores, plumbers, TelMex, everything, you must have at least the basics to get stuff done, right? And oh yes, well, I guess maybe your friend was thinking about ancient history when Texas was still Mexico, that's gotta be it, right? :)

Fned- Ooooh, I would gladly send her to you for some three language butt kicking, you go girl!

Momto3- It's not just a lack of teaching or education in the schools, it's a lack of interest of the parents too. If you grow up with a close minded, racist family, odds are you are going to ignore anything a teacher tells you and just stick with what all your white relatives tell you, KWIM? And oh yes, I can totally believe that most people don't know where DR is. (It is really small after all, LOL!)

Heather- Drugs would be an invitation to her, there's not a drug that this girl hasn't enjoyed! (She married her drug dealer, sigh........). I haven't given her my phone number, she just knocks on the door!!!! Grrrrrrrr.
Kelly: Yeah, I agree... We are very small.. A tiny dot (or should I say like a stain because of shape) on the map.... LOL.... But I think that every school (specially in America) should teach which country was the first one in America that had an university and the first one with a Cathedral, and the first one with a hospital in the new world... KWIM?
Anonymous said…
kelly,

after moving 2 months ago, i finally got an internet connection at home. i'm getting caught up on your blog and just had to comment on that neighbor. i feel like her head must be stuck in the sand. it's sad to see that anyone could be that ignorant, especially if she has a college degree-can't help but wonder where she got it. rivergirl's comment about education saddened me. although what she said about geography is basically true, let's not blame everything on teachers. by the way rivergirl, you misspelled the word it's. when showing possession, there is no apostrophe. can you tell i'm a teacher? o.k., rivergirl will probably never even read this comment, but i just had to throw it in there.

how terribly sad about the mega fire. it must be so hard on the families of those who lost their jobs.

that picture of max on his trike is precious. he is a goodhearted little boy. how sweet that he is so concerned when he sees another child crying.

enough for now. have a great weekend!

teresa
Mohamed Taher said…
What a great piece for those who are looking for communication in a field of specialty: socio-pshyco-lingusitics.

I just did an almost similar post, using an example from YouTube--Canadian speaketh and an American speaketh in their own accents.

Incidentally, or luckily you can't hear my accent here (coz: h 'as in here' in my case, I am told by a Canadian that it is loaded with a British convent school orientation).

Best of luck.

Popular posts from this blog

You Say Rio, I Say Ria... Road Trip Rio Lagartos, Yucatan

Mahahual Waterpark "Lost Mayan Kingdom"

Mexican Caribbean Road Trip - Detour to Tulum, Lo Siento Mucho Calakmul