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Weird Things People Have Said to Me at Work Because I’m a Latina…

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Lasell chapter.

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! No better way to celebrate this than by reflecting on some of the comments that I receive in most of the working environments I have been in. I started noticing these comments when I moved from the city to a high school in the suburbs. Then, as I started working, it became a consistent pattern. After exchanging stories with my mom, she eventually told me that I might receive further comments in the workplace, but to not let it bother me too much. She just said to make sure to stand in my place and stand up for myself if they become disrespectful or passive aggressive. Now, it’s just funny to me because I’m aware to expect these comments when I am working in a majority white workplace. 

  1. “What are you?”

With intense eye contact and staring, I eventually get this question. My favorite response is saying “Guess!” and it’ll take them a few tries or many before they get anywhere close to what I am.

  1. “Why don’t you speak Spanish if you’re Hispanic?”

Listen Susan, I’m good with one colonizer language at a time. If you are so concerned, you should learn the language with me. 

  1. “Your name doesn’t sound Hispanic”

Oh I’m sorry, did you want my name to be Maria? Or another generic Hispanic name? 

  1. “If you’re Hispanic, you probably celebrate Cinco De Mayo”

Girl what?! First of all, that is not a Hispanic holiday at ALL! No country is gonna be celebrating that…just the Americans since they made up that holiday. 

  1. “You’re definitely Mexican or Puerto Rican”

Although those are 2 beautiful countries, there are a lot more countries in Latin America than those two…which are probably the only two that you know. 

  1. “Don’t be shy, speak your native tongue, it’s exotic”

Do I look like an exotic fruit? NO! If I could count the amount of times the word exotic has been said to me, I would be rich. And it’s always tied in some relation to me as a Latina.

As I experience these statements, I usually handle them professionally and try not to overextend my response to them. But, now I do have some funny stories to tell about this, like in this article. All jokes aside, I do hope that as I further myself in my career, I receive less comments like these because they can get a little annoying, especially if it interrupts my work.

Jade Diaz

Lasell '23

Jade is a Senior at Lasell, majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Management. She adores figurative art, and enjoys being creative in any way possible. She is sneaker- obsessed and loves the world of fashion. One fun fact is that her dog Finn, is named after a Star Wars character named FN-2187.