Exceptions for Racists

Photo Credit Anshu Agarwal

Did you see the video or read the story of the woman in West Virginia who was eating at a Mexican restaurant and launching into a tirade at the Spanish-speaking employee?

“English is our first language so you need to speak English,” the customer said to Budar on Castillo’s video. “Get the f*** out of my country.”

Actually, dear one, English is NOT this country’s first language. There were many languages among the tribal people who are natives of this land. The land the English stole.

This deluded racist isn’t the only one to pipe up recently. A Spanish-speaking woman was sent a letter by the director of a Salvation Army Retirement facility and told that she had to stop speaking Spanish in front of the other residents because it made them feel uncomfortable: “The United States of America is an English-speaking country and those who come to the United States or are born here should learn to speak the language,” the director wrote. The letter went on to say, “It is rude to sit in the lobby and speak Spanish…This is grossly unfair to the 25% who do not speak Spanish and needs to change.”

Can you imagine getting such a letter from the director of a retirement home? How can that individual ever feel welcome in her own home again?

My friend David is serving in the US Army. He is valuable to the Army for many reasons, one of which is that he speaks five or six different languages, one of which is Arabic. Arabic is a difficult language to learn. Few soldiers master it. Can you imagine how valuable it is to our military to have people who are fluent in a variety of languages?

Stupid racists are emboldened by a president who can’t even speak English. He has never mastered his own native tongue. Nor has he ever learned to control his tongue.

I worry.

In a few short weeks my daughter will marry into a Spanish-speaking family. Immigrants. And yes, US citizens, although it pains me to have to clarify that just so readers don’t begin spitting their racist diatribes on this site.

I am not a Person of Color.

I do not speak any language other than English, sadly.

I can’t tell you how a person of color who speaks primarily Spanish feels.

I only know how I feel about the racism that is spewing out across this land like a pus boil pierced. I am distraught when I consider the kind of future grandchildren of mine may have to endure. I am given over to tears with the pain of hearing stories about people I don’t even know being the recipients of such ignorant hatred.

I can’t believe this is the world I wake to each day.

Photo credit Anshu Agarwal

To be quite honest, I can’t believe this is how some people whom I’ve known all my life, some people who claim to be Jesus-followers, some people who have made mission trips to countries full of people of color, some people who claim to be patriotic souls, that this is how they think and act in their hearts.

I know people who would write a letter like that.

I know people who might not confront a Spanish-speaking person in an eatery, but as soon as they walk out the door, they make racist comments about Mexicans needing to speak English if they are going to live in this country.

I know racists people.

I used to ignore their bigoted, racists remarks.

No longer.

They know better than to say those things around me nowadays. They know to keep their racist, homophobic, bigoted thoughts to themselves in my presence.

I hope they feel is the fear of the Lord in my presence.

I don’t usually espouse throwing people off the bus or out of the boat.

I make exceptions for racists.

Feel free to throw them out of your life, and out-of-office. I do.

Karen Spears Zacharias is author of several books written in the dialect of her youth – Appalachian. Check them out on Amazon or at your local bookseller.

 

 

 

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

2 Comments

AF Roger

about 10 months ago

Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen was back in town for a lecture, and OPB radio re-broadcast a fascinating 2018 interview with her on the Think Out Loud program. She makes the point in looking at Putin's Russia that little has changed. In the Soviet era, the great pariah was, of course, the capitalist West. But more significantly, mutual mistrust and paranoia were sown within through propaganda always warning against nebulous, dark and ill--defined "forces", be they reactionary or counter-revolutionary. Now under Putin, there is a new pariah: homosexuality. Gessen says that Russians honestly believe there were NO gay/lesbian people in Russia before 1990, that they are a sort of "invasion" by the West that only Putin has been man enough to identify and stand up to. Then she goes on to state that in any totalitarian state, there is always an "other", points out that we are doing the same thing here today. Gee, do you think she's right?

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AF Roger

about 10 months ago

There may be a reason why angels sang when Jesus was born: music says what words alone can't. Here's the late Santa Monica, CA street musician Roger Ridley and his global colleagues. This was the start of Mark Johnson's one-man effort to change the world through music. We need a few million Mark Johnsons today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM .

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