Culture

A Puerto Rican Woman Serving In The Air Force Was Told To Stop Speaking Spanish While At Starbucks

We’ve seen time and time again, people in the U.S., minding their own business, continuously get disrespected for speaking Spanish. The audacity of someone telling you that you cannot do something like speaking your native language as if it’s illegal. Typically these verbal assaults by complete strangers happen in restaurants, on the street, at stores, but this latest occurrence happened to someone we’d never expect. 

On July 17, 27-year-old Xiara Mercado, a member of the Air Force who is stationed in Hawaii, was wearing her uniform when a woman told her she shouldn’t speak Spanish.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

Mercado shared the appalling ordeal in a Facebook post and described that she was waiting for a drink at Starbucks during her lunch break and began speaking on her cell phone in Spanish. She said she got off the phone once her drink was ready and walked outside.

Mercado writes, “I get tapped on the shoulder by this lady,” and the lady said to her, “you shouldn’t be speaking Spanish, that’s not what that uniform represents… It’s distasteful.”

The Puerto Rican native said that she was confused at first by the lady and her comment about being “distasteful.”

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

“I’m sorry ma’am, what’s distasteful?” Mercado asked the lady. “You speaking another language that does not represent America and that uniform you are wearing, that’s distasteful.”

Mercado said she collected her thoughts for a moment and responded to her by saying, “I’m sorry ma’am the only distasteful thing here is that you are clueless to your discrimination, please educate your self. Have a nice day.”

But the ordeal didn’t end there. Mercado writes that the lady spoke to her again, this time loudly and said: “I don’t know how you are allowed to wear that uniform.”

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

You would think Mercado would have lost her cool. We know we would have, but rather than lose her temper, Mercado responded to this racist woman by saying, “I wear it proudly.” She then walked away. 

Mercado finished her Facebook post by writing, “I was more sad than mad but above all I am disgusted. Even though I wanted to say a lot more I have respect for people and the uniform I wear… That’s the best I could do in that situation. Someone told me I could have smiled and apologized, Ummm I’m sorry what!? If you don’t see what is wrong with my story you are part of the problem. #thisisamerica.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. 

Her post has since been shared almost 50,000 times on Facebook.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

People from all over the world have been sending her lots of support via social media. They tell her she handled the situation amazingly and that she should never apologize for speaking Spanish. 

Vanessa Facio‎ wrote to Mercado on Facebook, “You remind me of a woman who holds a very special place in my heart. When I saw your post, not only did I feel your disappointment and disrespect, but I also felt the warrior in you. Thank you for serving this country and raising an awareness for not only women but for all the warriors and giving those the courage to stand up for themselves.”

A couple of days after her initial post, Mercado was clearly surprised by the overwhelming amount of comments and response to her words.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

She said that she didn’t write that to get praise. She also said not all of the comments were positive, she said some of them were also bad. Mercado also said that just like us, she too has seen in the headlines how people say offensive things to others but never thought it would happen to her. She said at the end of the day, it’s not about the Spanish language but more directly about discrimination. 

Mercado added that people who live in a bubble and believe the armed forces are run by “straight, white, males” are very wrong. 

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

Mercado wanted her followers to know that her post was more than about speaking Spanish but also about gender equality, the LGBTQ community, and identity. “That’s what I fight for,” she said. 

Thank you for your service, Xiara!

READ: Two Racist Florida Women Are Caught On Video Telling A Puerto Rican Man To ‘Go Back To Mexico’ If He Wants To Speak Spanish

The US Killed A Leading Iranian Military Figure And Social Media Declared An Impending World War 3

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The US Killed A Leading Iranian Military Figure And Social Media Declared An Impending World War 3

realdonaldtrump / Instagram

Global powers expressed worry and concern about the state of world affairs following the United States’ airstrike near Baghdad’s airport Friday, which killed Iran Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The White House defended the strike in a tweet, saying Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

The United States killed Iran’s top general Friday, which inspired a wealth of reaction on social media about the future of the world.

The killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. strike at Baghdad’s international airport and Tehran’s vow of “harsh retaliation” in response on Friday morning made Twitter and Instagram users nervous about the possible outbreak of conflict between Washington and Tehran culminating in what social media dubbed, World War III.

Meme creators did what they do best: post funny pictures and videos on social media and got #WWIII trending.

France’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Amelie de Montchalin, said on a radio program: “We are waking up in a more dangerous world. Military escalation is always dangerous. When such actions, such operations, take place, we see that escalation is underway.” The term “World War 3” began trending online Friday after the airstrike. Instagram and Twitter users immediately jumped in on the discussion, posting memes, GIFs and jokes about a potential third World War. Here’s a collection of them.

Some lamented the poor start to the new year.

A lot of people woke up to news that the U.S. had launched a deadly attack on Iran’s top military official. The attack was panned by world leaders and political pundits are concerned that the attack could lead to a war between the U.S. and Iran.

Social media users turned to humor to try to make sense of the terrifying possibility of a war started by the U.S.

The airstrike led to protests throughout Iran and Iraq. Iranians were protesting because of the clear attack on their military capabilities. Iraqi citizens protested against the attack on their soil that some consider threatens their sovereignty.

Some joked about avoiding or refusing the draft.

There hasn’t been a draft since the Vietnam War. At the time, Americans protested the nation’s involvement in a war in southeast Asia. Many young men fled to Canada to avoid being drafted by the U.S. military to join the combat.

Many others simply detailed their strategies for avoiding a draft.

There has been no announcement regarding reinstating the draft, and the U.S. currently has an all-volunteer military. However, that doesn’t change the fact the Americans are concerned about a pending war and a draft.

Others made jokes about fake birth certificates and fleeing the country.

Tbh, this might not be a bad idea considering people do not support the attack.

Many mocked themselves and their response to the trending topic.

It is a terrifying moment to realize that something so disastrous and devastating might actually happen.

Some wondered if this was Trump’s way of getting revenge for his impeachment.

We are in uncharted territory and all eyes are on Iran after they threatened retaliation against the U.S.

READ: Here’s What You Can Expect Now That President Trump Has Been Impeached By The House Of Representatives

Thirty Years Ago The US Invaded Panama And Left Hundreds Dead, Now Panama Is Hosting A Day Of Mourning

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Thirty Years Ago The US Invaded Panama And Left Hundreds Dead, Now Panama Is Hosting A Day Of Mourning

@VocesEcologicos / Twitter

On December 20, 1989, then-President Geroge W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to invade Panama in an attempt to overthrow Manuel Noriega and they succeeded. Noriega is commonly seen as a dictator who took over Panama in 1983 until he was captured by the U.S. in 1989, though he had been on a course of power for decades before that. While Noriega was tried and convicted for his crimes, which included federal narcotics-trafficking and money-laundering charges, the aftermath of the invasion left Panamanians at a loss — and some say even worse than before. 

It’s been 30 years since the invasion of Panama. Family and friends that lost their loved ones during the invasion are still trying to find out what happened to them. 

Noriega’s strength in Panama that began in the late ’60s propelled to a mass scale thanks to his military background. Even though Noriega and the U.S. were on friendly terms and conducted business as usual, Noriega was committing acts of fraud, including rigging elections. Noriega’s desire for power continued to grow and when the U.S. deemed it too dangerous for the people of Panama and U.S. citizens living there, that is when Bush ordered to overthrow him. The Associated Press reports that 27,000 U.S. soldiers launched an attack in Panama. But locals, many who were military servicemen and civilians, were caught in the crossfire during the invasion. 

“It has begun. They are invading us. They are attacking at all the barracks,” Braulio Bethancourt told his wife. Iris Herrera recalled to the Associated Press the last words she heard from her husband on the night of the invasion. Thirty years since then, she still doesn’t have closure over what happened to him that night because his body has never been found. 

After the invasion, 300 Panamanian soldiers were killed along with 214 civilians. However, human rights groups said the casualties of deaths are much higher. The U.S. also lost 23 soldiers. The Panama Truth Commission aims at investigating the invasion and figuring out what happened to those that died. 

“Panama is seeking to heal its wounds,” the country’s vice president and foreign minister, Isabel de Saint Malo, said on Twitter in 2016. “There can be no reconciliation if the truth is not known.” The United States is also complying with this investigation. 

“The United States is willing to work with the government of Panama as it seeks to discover its own history,” the U.S. ambassador to Panama, John Feeley, told Univision in 2016. “We believe that transparency and historical examination is important.” Since the launch of the Panama Truth Commission in 2016, 15 people that disappeared during the invasion have had their cases reopened. 

“We know there are more unknown and missing people who probably can be found,” José Luis Sosa, executive secretary of the Panama Truth Commission, told the AP.  Trinidad Ayola, who lost her husband in the invasion, founded the Association of Relatives of the Fallen, where people could turn to for help after losing a loved one during combat. 

“We are now on the way to recognizing some missing people, but not in their totality because, over the course of 30 years, much evidence has been lost,” Ayola told the AP. 

Gabriel Marcella, former Director of the Americas Studies at the U.S. Army War College, and former Advisor to the Commander in Chief of the United States Southern Command in Panama, told Univision in 2016 that the commission will help bring closure to people who have been seeking answers for decades. 

“Such commissions can be a productive way to heal old wounds and allow societies to go forward certain of the truth and perhaps even justice about the past,” Marcella said. 

On Friday, the Panama government officially declared an official day of mourning to commemorate the invasion 30 years ago. 

“For 30 years, Panamanian society has waited for the lives of those who died or were wounded during the invasion of Panamanian territory in 1989 to be honored,” the office of the presidency said via Twitter, according to the AP. 

Laurentino Cortizo, president of Panama, also tweeted about the 30-year anniversary, stating, “A day like today, 30 years ago, before and after is written in the history of our country. Today is #DueloNacional day, and we express our deep solidarity with those affected, victims and relatives of those Panamanians who perished in the invasion of December 20.”

While some may say this commemoration is 30 years too late, we think this day of mourning and the investigation into the invasion is critical to documenting the truth of what happened on that day.  

READ: UNESCO Has Started Recognizing The Cultural Significance Of The Congo Panamanian People