I agree with Kimberly Wilson in her letter that it isn’t fair she cannot get a job because she doesn’t speak Spanish (“No, I don’t speak Spanish,” Your Voice, Page 11, Feb. 7).
I completely understand her, because my 52-year-old mother doesn’t speak English. She has been a resident here since she was 20 and has not been able to learn the language.
“Why?” I ask her.
She responds with, “I am afraid. I try to learn it, but they make fun of me.”
My mother has been working the fields of Patterson since she arrived here, picking melons, hoeing, cutting apricots, planting tomatoes, etc. I encouraged her to apply at a local store in town, and she received the same answer Kimberly received: “Sorry, but thanks.”
Why? Because she doesn’t speak English.
I visited the store a few days ago and saw a lady who only spoke English who needed help finding a ballerina skirt for her daughter. The store associate couldn’t understand her, and another associate didn’t either. The lady started making ballerina moves until she became frustrated and said, “This is ridiculous!”
I immediately saw the sadness and embarrassment in the associates’ faces. This made me glad that my mother was not hired there.
The reality is that, yes, this country’s native language is English, but Patterson is filled with Spanish-speaking individuals, and maybe that is why some places require you know the language.
I have also applied for a few jobs in Patterson and Modesto that require employees to be bilingual, knowing English and American Sign Language. My Spanish did not help me. So, the best thing for me to do is to learn to sign by taking a few classes.
With that said, my mother should learn some English, and Kimberly Wilson should learn some Spanish.
Oyuki Angel, Patterson