“Is there something on my forehead?”

Rosalinda Gutierrez,
San Bernardino, CA

As a young child and adult, I have always been confronted by people who assume I do not speak English. At many stores that I go to, I am always talked to in Spanish first or I am looked at with wide eyes and confusion. When I respond in English the person looks at me and says, “Oh my! I’m so sorry. I thought you were Spanish speaking only.” To me these experiences are saddening. I think that they bother me because English has always been my primary language. I do know Spanish but not fluently. I feel like when I do speak Spanish, I will be criticized because I’ve struggled with establishing my Mexican-American identity. Sometimes I feel like there’s a sign on my forehead that says, “Needs translator.” I wonder why people can’t just look at me and say, “Hello.”

Shout out to CBU HIS 311 for teaching me that I can be myself.

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