Here’s a pro tip for all the racists out there: unless you want to be unemployed, you should probably just keep your bigotry to yourself.
That’s the lesson that Mary Black, a middle-aged bus driver from Jerome, Idaho, recently learned the hard way. Black was fired from her job at the Northside Bus Company after a video shot by a student surfaced online that showed her emptying a bottle of water on a Latino 8th grader and demanding that he speak English to her.
“I don’t understand Spanish,” Black told Brayan Martinez, the kid she had just victimized. “I’m not going to learn it. I live in America and it’s an English-speaking country. So if you want to speak to me, speak to me in English.”
On Saturday, Black was fired.
Before you start feeling bad for her, don’t. According to people who spoke to local news outlet KTVB, Black has told several Latino kids that they couldn’t speak Spanish in her bus this multiple times, but she allegedly always turned the equipped camera off. That probably explains why Brayan Alvarez, the student who shot the video, can be heard saying in Spanish that they finally got her in the longer version of the video (you can view that here).
What happened in Idaho is by no means an isolated incident. The eradication of Spanish in schools has historically been a tool of Latino oppression. I’m not talking about “back in the day,” either. In 2014, a Texas principal tried to ban Spanish from his school. He too was eventually fired. It’s not just schools, either. Whole Foods, the super expensive grocery store chain popular with white liberals, was sued in 2013 by the American Civil Liberties Union for trying to pass a similar ban.
Here’s the silver lining though: people like Mary Black are on the wrong side of history; they are fighting a losing battle. They can’t fight the browning of America. We’re everywhere, even in Idaho. In fact, the state is 11 percent Latino (mostly Mexican/Mexican-American), and that number will continue to grow. People like Black will continue to hate, but at the end of the day, no hay nada que puedan hacer.
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