In the second story the reality tv personality/author Bethenny Frankel had her Jules Winnfield English MF do you speak it??!!! moment. Frankel was shopping at a K-Mart and apparently was peeved that not only were there not enough registers open but also that at least some of the workers (unclear if she's referring to floor clerks or those operating the registers) either did not or would not speak English. Today's world being what it is Frankel put this on twitter. People reliably surfaced to call her racist.
Wow @Kmart has 2 registers open w 5 other employees standing around & two speak no English whatsoever. Shoes are sapatos right?— Bethenny Frankel (@Bethenny) January 23, 2016
Not even attempting kids' snow boots in spanish.— Bethenny Frankel (@Bethenny) January 23, 2016
No excuse for being at a retailer & not able to be directed to what u need. 0 to do w race. I'll explain but can't understand it for you.— Bethenny Frankel (@Bethenny) January 23, 2016
I don't know much about Frankel and am not interested in learning more. She could be the worst bigot out there. She could be a nice person. Don't know. Don't care. But just wanting to speak English in a non-niche business in the United States of America is not in my view enough to mark you as a racist. If you and the person to whom you're speaking do not share a common language communication becomes more difficult. It is not necessarily racist to get upset about this though obviously, racist or xenophobic people by definition probably have a much lower threshold of tolerance for this sort of thing. Although Michigan is not a super diverse state in comparison to say, New York or California, there are still a fair number of people for whom English is not the first language. At least once a month or so I can hear Arabic, Chaldean, Spanish, or Korean being spoken in businesses that serve the wider public. I am really not bothered by this. It would only bother me if the owner or clerks refused or were unable to speak English to me. If I moved to another country it would be presumptuous of me to expect people there to speak English to me. I'd have to learn their language. Similarly, for its stores in the US, K-Mart should hire people who can speak English if they are going to be interacting with the public in any way. Maybe at some future point everyone in the US will be speaking Mandarin, Cantonese or Spanish. I doubt it though. You could make an argument that it's unfair that English has become the common business language or (heh-heh) lingua franca of the world. Perhaps. But it's not going to change anytime soon in this country that English is the common language. If you made the choice to come here then you should also do your best to learn the language. There are times when the ability to communicate clearly could be of critical importance. It's not just about K-mart and reality stars.