I’ve begun to realize that English is not only an unnecessarily complicated language but it’s also cold. Almost devoid of feelings.

I say this because if English is not your first language then the focus when you speak in English especially as a black and brown person, your tone needs to be gentle, your pronunciation needs to be accurate and your vocabulary extensive. If it isn’t then your words simply become lost in translation and renders it unimportant enough to simply be dismissed.

Let me give you an example.

“I need money, your money isn’t enough!”

As opposed to, “The remuneration I am receiving is well below industry norms and I find that I simply can’t budget with what you are paying me hence my request for an increase that is in line with CPIX.”

I can assure you that both requests have the same meaning but will result in different outcomes.

So, the desperation that is in the first request is disregarded or viewed as demanding. And that’s often not the case.

We have to ask ourselves why we are tolerant with French or Spanish speaking people who barely speak English as opposed to our own citizens who are conversing in a 2nd but most probably a 3rd language to converse with you.

The only conclusion I can thus draw is that the prejudice towards black and brown people is based on linguistic racism. And is erroneously attributed to intelligence.

Linguistic racism describes when language is used to empower white dominant culture over against another racial group.

Linguistic discrimination also known as glottophobia, linguicism and languagism) is the unfair treatment of an individual based solely on their use of language.

There is nothing outstanding or amazing about learning one language albeit thoroughly and failing to learn even the simplest communication such as greetings in one of our official indigenous languages.

The other extreme, of course, is the white person who fluently converses in an indigenous language then considers themselves “nonracist” based on their knowledge of a language. If it was that simple black and brown people could now call themselves French or start walking around with a beret the moment they say, “Bonjour mademoiselle.”

Language and culture appropriation exist as does linguistic racism.

Mindfulness and insight are what is needed dealing with black and brown people whose first language is not English.

Oh, and lose the hand gestures you’re not trained in sign language nor is there a need for that or to raise your voice because the black person you are speaking to is probably not hard of hearing. You look ridiculous and along the way, words are lost in translation.