Millions have seen the viral video of a white woman’s racist rant toward two Latina women at a Kentucky store. During the whole video, I didn’t once hear or see anyone in the crowd telling the woman to stop her rant. It actually bothered me just as much as the actual racism because when we let the racism happen without interfering then we seem to be enabling the racism and inviting more of it in the future.
I won’t post the video but you can go to the NBC News website for their story and they include a segment of the video.
Here is a just a taste of what the woman said:
The incident, which was recorded by another customer, happened Tuesday afternoon at the Jefferson Mall in Louisville, Kentucky, and garnered more than 5.6 million views on Facebook.
“Everybody here probably feels the same way I do,” the unidentified woman, who is white, says in the video after she sees one of the Latina shoppers checking out and the other joining her at the register with a last-minute purchase.
“Go back to wherever the f*** you come from, lady,” the woman says as a JCPenney cashier asks her to “please watch your language.”
“Hey, tell them to go back where they belong. They can’t act like the hero, they come here to live and act like everybody else,” the woman continues, as stunned shoppers look on. “Get in the back of the line like everybody else does and be somebody. That’s the way I look at it. You’re nobodies, just because you come from another country, it don’t make you nobody.”
If I had been in the crowd I would have told the woman to shut the f*ck up and stop being a bully. If you are able to do so safely, everyone should speak up when you see bullying or racism like in the viral video.
The NBC story mentions the woman taking the video claims to have said something after stopping the video but I don’t really believe she or anyone else did anything at the time. I think she is saying she did after getting some negative feedback for not interfering.
It isn’t about “saving” the Latina women, it is about speaking up when someone is the target of racist bullying. You have to send a message that you don’t feel the same way the racist woman did.
When citizens address one another in the course of everyday interactions on topics of public morality, they should speak to each other truthfully and respectfully. When someone says something morally repugnant, failing to respond with disapproval is failing to take that person seriously as a moral agent. It’s a sign not of respect but of contempt, or perhaps cowardice. If you say nothing, you may give the impression that you agree, or at the very least that you think what they’re saying falls within the range of respectable opinion.
Look at this way. If you don’t speak up when you witness injustice then who will speak up for you when you are the target?
Also published on Medium.