Dolores dice...¿Habla español?

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Dear Dolores:

I don’t know if I’m getting mad over nothing, but I feel uncomfortable about a non-Latina coworker who always greets me in Spanish. I don’t think she’s doing it out of kindness. Maybe she thinks I can’t speak English? Am I wrong to feel weird about her talking to me in Spanish?

—Sexy in Chicago

Dear Sexy:

In the current anti-Latino, English-only climate created by the undocumented-workers issue, I wouldn’t complain about anyone saying buenos días to me. You wonder whether your coworker thinks you cannot speak English, which leads me to believe that you’ve never had an actual conversation with her. It wouldn’t hurt to give that a try. Maybe you’ll find out she just wants to practice the few words of Spanish she knows, and quién sabe, you may end up teaching her a few new words (nice ones, please). On the other hand, if you can see she’s being patronizing or snide, unleash some humor on her. Next time she asks you, “¿Cómo estás?” give her the old Ricky Ricardo fast-and-furious riff: “Estoybiengraciasaydiosmioestamujermiraqueselodigoyselodigoysiempremepreguntalamismabobería”—or something like that. Hopefully you both can have a laugh about it. One way or another, I think you should explore your feelings of discomfort about being addressed in Spanish.

—Could it be you’re too sexy for your shirt? D

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