Friday, December 03, 2010

Call me old fashioned

This might come as a shock seeing how "youthful and outgoing" I am, but I am old fashioned. Recently, I had a ex-student, one of my best, who is now in college address me by my first name. He had always called me Ms. Vazquez and that seemed fine but seeing I don't teach him any more, he called me by my first name. It bothered me.

Bueno, so what should he call me? Soy Latina and by the way, so is he, from Colombia. I know people are very respectful there, so I have to find something that will work for both us. He could call me Señora Vazquez. In Puerto Rico where I am from, they address an older person with don or doña before their name. For example, don Manuel, doña Gisela, or don Miguel de Cervantes. Here in the United States, older ladies are addressed as Miss ____ or by their title and last name, as in Miss Fair. I don't want the Miss ____ but I would appreciate the Doña before my name if used with genuine respect or consideration.

Don't mistake the plain doña or doña pela, (saying doña alone), with respect. That is not respectful. You just don't say hey, doña. That is a slur; it's like saying hey old lady. Even in The Waltons, reruns that are being aired on Inspiration Network, when Grandpa calls Grandma, old lady, it sounds at the minimum rude not to say demeaning and jarring. An example of familiarity breeding contempt.

You put yourself at risk, I guess by just mentioning it. It's such a fine line. But it is a fine line which I am drawing in the sand. We are losing so much consideration and respect by the minute because of our society's worship of youth, that they forget there is value in reaching our older years. I always emphasized the need to address older folks with respect and always learned so much from them.

So okay, if you are a teenager or young person, and not one of sisters or cousins (¡valga la aclaracion!) it is proper for you to still call me Ms. Vazquez, doña Elba, Titi ---- or Miss Elba. Remember when you show respect it only brings respect towards you in return.

2 comments:

Rosangela Canino-Koning said...

I'm on a first name basis with both my advisers, but I can't imagine calling any of my elementary or high-school teachers by their first names unless they invited me to.

Elba said...

Thank you, dear!