Major Vent - page 10
So this has lately been a pet peeve of mine at work, patients that live in this country and speak NO English. I can totally understand and sympathize with how scary it must be to be visiting get sick... Read More
3Sep 30, '10 by nursel56 GuidePeople living in the United States who don't learn to speak English are harming themselves in the long run in ways that don't meet the eye at first, and that thread weaves itself through their entire experience here. It permeates everything. Suppose you have been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and you need to travel outside your immediate neighborhood, and you take a turn for the worse. You have no choice but to go to the local ER in a strange city without a high percentage of people who speak your first language. When they ask you why you are there you take a folded up paper written in English out of your wallet that says "yourname has stage 4 colon cancer etc" and wordlessly hand it to the nurse. Does it really matter at that point if America is a melting pot and English is too hard to learn and.. .? That is #%@$& terrifying. And it happened to my friend. People who want to frame it as a lack of cultural sensitivity and the weight of accomodation on those who speak the dominant language may feel good about themselves but for other than a short-term visitor it is a net negative.
I happily speak Spanish while I'm at work to people who don't speak English. I don't think of it as a political issue. Many of my co-workers actively refuse to learn another language as a political statement. It's frustrating and time-consuming to play charades and point at things, and I'm not patient enough to spend 10 minutes trying to convey something that should take 2 minutes.
Poor written language skills hold people back as well, but probably if you don't intend to climb the career ladder as far as your talents can take you it doesn't matter as much.