'Purely a racist thing': Filmed confrontation divides commenters

Rennie Svirnovskiy

“Some Americans are just plain hateful!”

“Could it be that she’s recently attended a Trump rally?”

A woman who allegedly harassed two Spanish-speaking women in a grocery store was confronted by another shopper before being arrested for bias-motivated harassment.

Kamira Trent says she heard Linda Dwire tell the women, “You’re in America. You’re in my country. You can’t speak Spanish here.” She approached Dwire to defend the women, who were shopping at a City Market in Rifle, Colo., accompanied by children, and later called the police.

Video of the incident has since racked up more than 700,000 views. Since it went public, both parties have received messages of support and criticism on social media and in Yahoo comments.

Yo nunca pensé que esto me fuera a pasar a mi. Estábamos una amiga y yo platicando en la tienda en español y de repente llega una señora a insultarnos que si vivíamos en este país no teníamos que hablar español que tendríamos que hablar sólo inglés. Gracias a la otra muchacha (que no conocemos) nos defendió y llamó a la policia, Y creo que se llevaron arrestada a la señora que nos estaba agrediendo. Siempre vi los videos en las redes y me daba coraje y hoy, que fue mi caso puedo decir que sentí una gran impotencia.

Posted by Faby VelSa on Monday, October 1, 2018

Some in the comments of the original Independent article posted to Yahoo Lifestyle sided with Dwire in the incident, writing that immigrants who do not learn English do not respect “our country,” and that “if they know English and speak another language, that’s very rude.”

But most took issue with her stance and defended the rights of Fabiola Velasquez and Isabel Marin, who are originally from Mexico. (The former has been in the United States for the past eight years.)

“The U.S. does not have an official language, written or spoken,” one commenter reminded readers. “What about personal freedoms doesn’t this woman who claims to be patriotic understand?” another asked.

Some commenters drew from personal experience to empathize with immigrants who live in the United States but may not know English: “I’m a retired USAF living in the Philippines,” one reader shared. “I just can’t learn the language. I’ve tried and tried but I had a bad head injury when I was in the USAF and it affects my short-term memory. I’m glad I don’t get harassed by people when I speak English and not Tagalog.”

And many others commended Trent on her action — “Thank you, Kamira Trent. Whenever we see people misbehaving, we need to correct them. How else will they learn that their behavior will not be tolerated?” — on Yahoo’s website, and off:

“Thank you to Kamira Trent, the courageous ally who stood up against white supremacy,” wrote Twitter user Qasim Rashid:

“I hope I have the presence of mind to stand up like #KamiraTrent if ever in the same situation,” said Twitter user palegreyminion:

What do you think?

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