Ask a Mexican on Native Tongues and Ancestry

I work at a large Orange County hotel in which 80 percent of the employees are Latin American, primarily Mexican. I love all of them and enjoy working with them. However, the one thing that bothers me is that when they are speaking to each other, they speak only in Spanish. They do it in front of our customers and we have had some complaints about it. To me, it's equivalent to whispering in front of someone. In addition, we have a break room with a television and they will always have it on the Spanish-language channel. Some of them will offer to change it when a non-Spanish-speaking employee comes in, but for the most part, they don't even offer and seem annoyed if we ask to change it to a show we can all understand. I'm a supervisor and feel that I should bring it to their attention how rude it can be what they are doing, but do not want to offend them or their culture. Is it rude for me to ask or do you believe I have a right to ask them to only speak English at work?
The English-Only Employee

Two separate concerns here: the public and private workplace. As a supervisor, you can make your employees hablar English while in front of customers and not risk a discrimination complaint (although I would tell your customers that, no, the Mexicans aren't whispering about them. Probably discussing Chivas soccer). But ask them to switch off the Univisión for ESPN, and beware of federal precedent. A 2008 consent decree by the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts allowed the Salvation Army to require workers to speak English in front of customers but also allowed foreign-language workers to use their native tongue while on break. Break-room politics mandate that television privileges are inherited through a strict line of remote-control succession, but you can always play the gabacho card and ask the TV tlatoani to switch the channel out of common courtesy. But other than that, you're caca out of luck. Enjoy Sábado Gigante!

It seems like a large number of Mexican Americans trace their ancestry back to west-central Mexico — Jalisco, Michoacán, and nearby. Well, these areas were never controlled by the Aztecs! The Indian blood in people from that part of Mexico comes from Tarascan or other nations. So, how do Mexicans of other-than-Aztec ancestry feel about the constant Aztec symbolism in the national iconography — the eagle with a snake in its mouth, the Nahuatl words, and for that matter, the name of the country itself!?
Conozco Demasiado

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Gracias for reminding gabachos that Mexican indigenous society isn't just of Aztec ancestry. That said, we're so far removed from the initial contact between the Aztecs and Spaniards that most non-Nahua Mexicans don't give a segunda thought to the subsequent appropriation, integration, and propagation of Aztec imagery by criollos and mestizos while creating the Mexican national character. Another history lesson, gabachos: That Mexican flag image of the eagle perched upon a cactus upon a stone in a lake, with a gripped snake in its beak? Came from the Aztec myth that they were to build Tenochtitlán in the area where they found such an image. Nahuatl loan words in Mexican Spanish? Nearly all that end with the suffix -techocolate, tomate, zopilote, cacahuate, mayate — and hundreds of others. The actual name, Mexico? From Mexica, what the Aztecs actually called themselves. And the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's ultimate symbol? A syncretism of the Spanish black Madonna by the same name and the Aztec goddess Tonantzin. There still is resistance to such ideology among certain indigenous, but the struggles of the Mixtecos and Zapatistas at this point is more against the current ruling class than the direct descendants of Cuauhtémoc at this point. As for why so many Mexicans identify with their imaginary Aztec ancestry? Another pregunta, otra column — but same bat channel.

 
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NativeDine
NativeDine

The only illegal aliens are the damn europeans that invaded this beautiful country of ours. If we want to speak our native tongue/languages than that should be our right..legal or illegal. If u have a problem with our english go back to England!!

FuckMexico
FuckMexico

First of all, you never have to appologize for speaking English only. Ever. Second, most of your employees are illegal aliens, and them working for you is illegal. Third, grow some fucking testicles and change the mother fucking chanel on the TV yourself and dont rely on some imbred, under-educated stupid ass illegal alien. And finally # 4, tell your dumb Mexican slaves to shut the fuck up around clients and customers, and only speak English is they are spoken to by them. Otherwise, its 'no hablo senor'.

Comprende?

Grandtraders
Grandtraders

I speak spanish am succesful my family and me have been americans since 1846 ,get life idiot .The world does revlove around english.

Samsdie
Samsdie

......1846? Go back to school and learn how to write.

helentroy4
helentroy4

From the tone and content of your post, I take it you have never ventured out of the US.

I would imagine that if you do, you will certainly be fluent in whatever foreign language is spoken there. Because there is nothing ruder than speaking English in a non-English speaking country.

Get it? Good. And, by the way, just about every fool who has been spouting the shit you are mouthing will admit that the stereotype of every person who speaks two languages is an "illegal" is wearing pretty thin. I know you need to hate something because of the shitty little life you've made for yourself. Don't worry; another thing to hate will be coming down the pike any day.

I grew up in an Italian neighborhood where everyone spoke Italian. On the streets, in their homes, in church, you name it. And they spoke English too. God forbid we meet math scores of those in places like India let alone actually be fluent in more than one language. I think that the person who wrote this letter to Gustavo was striving to be a decent boss and decent human being. And Gustavo's response would be helpful to anyone who isn't sure how to proceed like a decent human being.

helentroy4
helentroy4

And by the way, if you are going to demand English then for Christ's sake, learn how to spell, capitalize, and punctuate. It's fools like you who make responses like this so damn easy.

Mistalee
Mistalee

You seem insensitive to the rights of the monolingually incoherent.

 
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