The U.S. is home to a blend of languages and cultures, but unfortunately some people use this diversity to excuse their own racism. On December 10th, one woman was kicked out of a Starbucks after she berated a student for speaking Korean.
Annie An, a university student from South Korea, was working on an assignment with her tutor, Sean Lee at Starbucks and speaking in Korean, her native language. A middle-aged woman interrupted the two, complaining loudly that they were speaking another language and saying “Oriental, I hate it.”
Starbucks employees approached the woman and defended the students, saying they had every right to speak in whatever language they like. The woman argued with the employees, saying that everyone in America should speak English.
“You know what? President Obama said that everyone in here, the majority in America should speak English,” she complained to one of the baristas.
One employee told the woman that she should leave if she had a problem with the two women speaking a non-English language. The woman refused and said that she would calm down if the students stopped speaking.
“If you can sit and be quiet, fine,” she said. “But I don’t wanna hear your language. I don’t wanna hear it.”
The Starbucks employees continued to demand that the woman leave, but she continued to ignore them, even threatening that she was writing a letter to get them in trouble.
“Now I’m asking you to leave. If you don’t want to leave I am going to call the police,” one Starbucks employee said.
The woman ignored the employee’s threat, and the staff members called the police. The woman was later escorted out of the building.
What happened to me today (Dec 10, 2017). I was at a Starbucks in Walnut Creek, California. Old lady: This is America. Use English ONLY.Me: (?.?) Excuse me? Old lady: I don’t want to hear foreign language. Me: Hello, this is America. We all have freedom to use own language. Old lady: President Obama said ~(too long). Your language is DISGUSTING. Starbucks partners (employees) came to us and asked her to leave. —> This is when I started to take video. Some specific words she mentioned made me so mad. “Especially Korean”, “disgusting”, “be quiet and sit down”, “English only”, and “immigrants”3 Police officers came in after few minutes.(Starbucks employees called police.) They let the lady out. This is the most unexpected and unbelievable day for me this entire 2017. And I even surprising that she didn’t stop complaining about my language even police officers were here. Thanks for the Starbucks employees tried to stop the situation and called the police for us. I wish non of immigrants and international students experience this SHITTY THING. 12월 10일 오늘 월넛크릭에서 인종차별을 당했습니다. 저와 제 친구가 사용하는 언어를 듣고싶지 않다는 말로 시작해, 이곳은 미국이니 영어’만’ 사용하라고 했습니다. 특정하게 “특히 한국어”, “역겹다”, “너희 나라 말(한국어) 사용하지 않고 조용히 앉아있어라”, “이민자” 등 하지 말아야 할말을 사용한 점이 저를 가장 화나게 만들었습니다. “미국= 이민자들의 나라”라 칭해지는 시대에 이런 일을 겪은건 정말 당황스럽고 또한 매우 불쾌합니다. (저는 이민자도 아닌데 말이죠.)결론적으로, 저 아주머니는 경찰의 지시하에 스타벅스 밖으로 내보내졌습니다. 경찰이 온 이후에도 변하지 않는 태도가 정말 놀라울 정도였습니다. 무시하고 넘어갈 주제가 아닌것같아 이렇게 글을 적습니다. 앞으로 모든 이민자와 국제 학생들이 절대 다시는 이런일을 겪지 않았으면 좋겠습니다.—�—�—�EDITNews has came out! Here is the link below. 뉴스가 나왔습니다. 많은 분들이 지지해주셨고 이런일에 대해 나서는 저를 응원해주셨습니다. 모두 감사합니다.http://kron4.com/2017/12/12/video-woman-appears-to-get-angry-at-walnut-creek-starbucks-customers-for-speaking-korean/Posted by Annie An on Sunday, December 10, 2017
An recorded a video of the racist tirade on her phone and posted it to Facebook. In the text of her post, she wrote that the experience constituted “the most unexpected and unbelievable day.” She went on to say that the woman continued to complain after the police arrived. An’s video has almost 500,000 views on Facebook.
The U.S. does not have an official national language. But even if it did, it’s never okay to belittle someone else’s language or culture. Unfortunately, racism is still alive and well in the U.S., it is insidious, and it can affect people’s mental health. We applaud these Starbucks employees for stepping in and doing the right thing, and to An for standing up for herself and her rights.