I have come to regard anyone who speaks more than one language as the bearer of great and unearned power. You say bilingualism and I imagine ice sleds, healing factors, and flight. In New York, I am surrounded by the secret schoolmen of Salem. They speak and my fingers dabble at the inhibitor collars.
I am deep in my dark and twisted lab. I am building a machine of fantastic power and awesome savoir-faire. Soon I shall flip a switch, and all those who laughed at my "Parlay-vouz" and "Jay Nay Say Pahs" shall turn, light leaping from them into the cone of my terrible device. Then they will stagger before brilliant me, blinking and depowered. For now I just murmur "Mutie scum" under my breath and bide my time.
I am in Geneva, like the only human on Asteroid M. They told me that the people would switch to English as soon as they heard my French. But this only happens when we are discussing money. An entire conversation will go over in French. Then from out of nowhere a merchant will say "twenty-five" and then there is nothing but French. I was unprepared for the loneliness of thought. The only spoken English is in my head.
But people were as people usually are--kind. I expected fewer black folks. But they were there. They did not nod, or flash a secret sign, as they sometimes did back home. There's no real reason for them to do so. Skin prejudice in America is a specific thing, which is different than saying skin prejudice in America is a unique thing. How it shows up in Switzerland (beyond the obvious) I don't know. But I made no assumptions.