Not an American? So that means you’re deaf, right?

We’ve all seen the quintessential “scream at the foreigner” scene in movies.

You know, the one where the seemingly ethnic character is screamed at by white or mainstream characters who think having a native language that isn’t English somehow makes you deaf and/or incompetent. In trying to communicate so obnoxiously, the mainstream character just looks ridiculous. We laugh, wondering how on earth someone could be so ignorant. Yet that scene is not so different from what I have observed on campus.

Part of going to college is being exposed to other cultures. We meet students, professors, and other faculty members from different regions and countries. It is suddenly not uncommon to walk past a group of kids chatting away in their native language, be it Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, or Hindi. What I don’t understand, however, is why in the classroom, diverse is considered disqualified.

Lesson? Being American-born does not entitle you to endlessly criticize those who are not natives, accent or not. Continue reading