Non-English speakers in the United States can have a very difficult time adapting to American culture and having accessibility to things that English speakers in the United States take for granted. In the video I sourced, first generation Americans discuss the troubles of their parents language barriers after emigrating to the United States. Because their parents struggled to speak English, they were ridiculed and were constantly misunderstood, which lowered their self-esteem. One woman stated that her mother once called herself stupid after being frustrated at not being able to communicate with her co-workers.
While their parents struggled terribly with English, they at least had their children as interpreters. So if the parent struggled with calling in and then picking up a prescription at a pharmacy, or struggled with applying for a loan, they at least had their children to help them. However, there are many Americans who do not have people to interpret English for them. In fact, the biggest group of people in the United States who speak English as a second language are actually Americans, not immigrants. I’ve seen many moments where a non-English speaking American was trying to pick up a prescription, or called me at my job to make an appointment, or at my sister’s wife’s law firm try to file a lawsuit. It is incredibly difficult for both parties, and I believe we have all at one point gotten impatient while trying to communicate with a non-English speaker. In these situations, it is so easy for non-English speakers to be discriminated against, and treated poorly. It is also worrisome that they can’t read very important labels, such as labels on medications, and certain products that can become bio-hazards. America is called a melting pot, yet we have this big group of people that cannot read or communicate with the general population.
We all know stories where an ignorant American yelled at a non-English speaking American to go back to their own country, even if they were born and raised in the United States. Donald Trump and other members of the Republican party have repeatedly voiced their ignorant opinions about how they feel about non-English speaking Americans, and that has led to more discrimination and violence against non-English speakers. When I was in Japan for two weeks and barely knew any Japanese, I was treated very well and people did their best to accommodate for me. I hope that someday, the United States will take on that same mindset.
B. (2016, June 20). When Your Parents Speak Broken English. Retrieved July 29, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFlxDuNC6OU
Growth in the American non-English speaking population is no longer a given. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2016, from http://statchatva.org/2015/08/11/growth-in-the-american-non-english-speaking- population-is-no-longer-a-given/