Living in Central Florida has introduced me to many different cultures that I wasn't very familiar with while living in Puerto Rico. Orlando has got to be one of the most multicultural cities in the United States because of it being a mainly tourist area. While living here I've noticed that many residents are not too keen of these tourists. Whether it's because of their driving, the excessive traffic, or even the packed malls, etc. But there's one thing in particular that I've noticed there's a lot of hatred towards: language barriers.
At least three times a week I hear a Florida resident complaining about people trying to speak a different language to them. The question "Do I look like I speak (insert language here)?" is always brought up. There is a clear problem with questions like this. They not only reflect ignorance of what certain people look like, but it's also just plain rude.
Not once have I heard Puerto Ricans complaining about tourists there speaking to them in English and I've certainly never heard anyone ask "Do I look like I speak English?" It is this superiority complex that most Americans have grown up with, as if the English language is universal and everyone should speak it.
People speak to you in another language because they don't know who else to ask, not because you "look the part." We need to get over what race or ethnicity one "looks like" because there are many different features that are a part of all cultures. Latinos are not just tan with dark hair and eyebrows. My own father was born and raised in Puerto Rico and is pale with freckles and green eyes, my best friend from there is a natural born redhead. There are many different "types" of Hispanic and Latinos and this applies to other races as well.
Miss Universe Japan, Ariana Miyamoto, who is half African American has faced harsh criticism for not looking the part. Yet she was born to a Japanese mother and raised in Japan so who are we to tell her she isn't what she has known her whole life? So next time someone asks "Do I look like I speak (insert language)?" You should explain to them that they are ignoring the fact that there are many who don't "look the part" in the first place and that there are many Americans who speak multiple languages. They should actually be a little more impressed that someone mistook them for being multicultural and at the very least, bilingual.