DEAR ABBY: I am a recent high school graduate. I have received several national commendations and graduated at the top of my class.
So why is it that because I work with my parents in an "ethnic" restaurant, patrons assume I have no command of the English language and am slow-witted?
Please print this letter in the hope that people will realize that behind my face -- white, black, yellow, brown, etc. -- there is a mind and a heart that is hurt when people don't bother to appreciate the diversity of the human race. -- STAMP OUT STEREOTYPING, NEW YORK CITY
DEAR S.O.S.: The patrons probably do not intend to be hurtful or disrespectful. They are behind the times. A generation ago, workers in ethnic restaurants were often newcomers to this country and just learning the English language. Today, however, restaurant workers are more likely to be second- or third-generation citizens.
I'm printing your letter to remind readers who are guilty of stereotyping "foreigners" that many of the workers are well-educated sons and daughters of the business owners, and doing this work by choice, not because they are unqualified for other employment. Looking down one's nose at someone who appears "different" is shortsighted and just plain wrong.