There's no doubt it is a great advantage to be able to speak more than one language.
You are able to communicate and connect with that much more people.
However, as someone who is only familiar with her native language, I am quickly deterred by some of the actions I see those who are bilingual do.
They come across as rude
Switching from one language to another in conversation.
Out of the many examples I can give, I will share one with you.
There was this one time me and these two other young women were walking off of our College campus. They were African girls from the same country. We were all laughing and speaking to each other in English. Before I knew it they started speaking in their language together. The five minutes that I stayed walking with them felt even longer. I felt as if I were an alien. I was being excluded. I waved my hand in the air and said "See you in class tomorrow" and left.
After class, they always asked me to wait for them. When they did, I acted as if I had to immediately leave. I never wanted to feel as awkward as I did that day.
Of course as mentioned before, that wasn't the first occasion where a similar encounter took place.
I find it completely rude for people to switch from one language to another, in front of someone they know that doesn't speak or understand it.
Depending on the vibe I feel, I get a sense that I am being spoken about. Sometimes you can just feel in the air when there is negativity floating around.
Of course, I don't jump to any conclusions until my suspicions are confirmed.
They are more friendly towards their own
Friendly smiles and greetings.
There was this time I went to a supermarket close to where I live. I was familiar with the cashier because it wasn't the first time she dealt with me as a customer. I observed that she would smile and greet anyone who appeared to be Spanish and start speaking to them in her language as she rang up and bagged their items. I am American and being so, she didn't greet me at all. She rang me up and before I knew it, I was out of the store. I observed her giving the same treatment to other customers who were not Spanish.
Lets just give this woman the benefit of the doubt, lets say she knew her language far better than English. I am not saying to carry on a conversation with me as she did with others, but at least give me a friendly greeting "Hello", or "Have a great day!"
The same scenarios played itself out with other ethnic groups I have encountered throughout life, several times on different occasions.
The receptionist at the medical center I went to was Russian and seemed to only speak to those who were. The people that were not, she spoke to them harshly and in a dismissive tone. She didn't try to hide her attitude either, it was blatantly obvious she had a disdain against those who didn't share her cultural background and language.
I am a person that likes to treat every one the same.
I am also someone who takes into account how the actions I exhibit may be interpreted by someone else.
Perhaps, some of these bilingual people may operate this way subconsciously (without intending to cause harm), while others may do it because they are discriminatory towards those who are not their own.
Whatever the reason is, the affect still weighs the same because there is no taking away what comes across as rude.