Hearing the Spanish language spoken in a public setting has triggered yet another racist into unleashing an anti-immigrant rant at Latino targets. This week, it was a white woman named Jill who was dining at Tampico, a Mexican restaurant in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
“English is our first language, so you need to speak English,” Jill insisted, ostensibly in response to overhearing manager Sergio Budar use Spanish while on the floor of the Mexican restaurant. “Get the f**k out of my country,” she demanded. As Budar calmly expressed that he felt sorry for her, with the head chef coming out of the kitchen as an ally, Jill denied being racist, despite her reiterations that Budar should speak English in America. Her dining partner eventually stood up to try to calm her down: “Jill, shut up.”
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Jill did not shut up, of course, and continued to rant. “I lived in California for 20 years, I have adopted…” She doesn’t manage to finish her statement before claiming to have been raped by “illegal aliens.” Budar offered to take care of the pair’s meal in exchange for them to leave the premises of the restaurant, but Jill protested, “You can’t speak English, and you want me to be nice to you?” As her friend physically attempts to get her out the door, she throws an object at Budar before calling him a “f**king rapist,” hearkening back to the violent, racist, and anti-Latino rhetoric used by President Trump.
The exchange was captured on a fellow employee’s smartphone, and posted over the weekend to Facebook by the employee’s mother, who expressed some shock that encounters like this are still happening. She offered her prayers to Jill “to be a better person,” resigning herself to the fact that there’s not much else that anyone can do when faced with such ignorance. Latino Rebels first reported on the video over the weekend.
“It makes me feel angry, sad,” Budar said in an interview with NBC News. “It’s unbelievable that we’re still seeing this kind of behavior to this day.” He shared that he is in fact a citizen of the U.S. and has been living in the country for almost 20 years, “but that doesn’t mean that people can’t speak other languages that are not English.” Unfortunately, Spanish speakers in the U.S. will continue to face discrimination for speaking their native tongue in public settings as long as the Latino community is cast as invaders or criminals. Just last week, U.S. citizens Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez waged an ACLU-backed lawsuit against border patrol agents who singled them out and detained them last spring after overhearing a conversation they had in which they spoke Spanish rather than English to one another.