Yesterday a school family forwarded to my family an email that demonstrated a complete lack of respect for us and all people of diversity. The email centered around immigration with some tasteless comments about phone systems and pressing one for English. Clearly this family did not know or care that my own grandmother came north from Chihuahua so many decades ago.
My business travels have allowed me to travel around the world. On those trips I managed to successfully complete very complex assignments in India and Asia. The success I experienced in those business engagements was the direct result of others, who were able and willing to speak my language in their country. The folks oversees I was lucky enough to work with spoke several languages and compensated for the fact that I only speak English.
While I’m lucky that around the world English has become the language of business, in the USA the consumer is king. Businesses are always looking to make it easier for consumers to purchase their products and services. Making options available to each and every person to ensure they are comfortable doing business is what the free market is about. Press one for English, sounds like their is opportunity for smart folks to develop a phone system that will recognize your language preferences, product concerns and possible service needs before you connect and deliver a message catered specifically to you. The possibilities are endless for this application and represents millions to the one who delivers it.
So while it never ceases to amaze me the level of insecurity of those individuals who insist everyone else walk, talk and look like them, I firmly believe in the capacity of the human spirit to overcome all obstacles, including the irrational fear of those who are different.