Hey Do You Need an Interpreter?

10556385_453960414744344_1650337303466512269_nRebeca Cruz-Esteves,
Philadelphia, PA.

I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in both the U.S. Although my first language is Spanish it’s hard to tell since I have no accent. Growing up it was hard to immediately blend in as I spent my childhood in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood. As a teenager my family moved to a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood and once again I was a little different. None of this ever actually bothered me until I was an adult, I joined the military straight out of high school and came home to attend a pretty well-known business school. Once again I was in an environment where I was one of few, but it never got to me. I’ve heard it all as an adult I’ve been offered jobs solely because I’m a Hispanic business student who happens to be in the service and a women. Literally the company was trying to attract large Latin organizations and would use me as bait. I’ve been praised and scrutinized by my own community at times as well as others. Nothing will ever stain as much as the day I walked into an office and before even shutting the door in back of me I was immediately asked “Hey Do You Need an Interpreter?” I understand with a growing Hispanic population interpreters may be needed more often, but I could have at least been given the chance to introduce myself. Now I see more than ever that no matter how much I attempt to blend in some people will automatically have assumptions due to my national origin. We live in the U.S the melting pot of the world yet I can’t walk into an office without someone assuming I don’t speak English and God knows what else!


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