Racism raises its ugly head

To the editor:

It’s estimated that between the 1492 Columbus “discovery” and the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota, the number of native inhabitants in the Western Hemisphere fell from 50 million to 1.8 million.

It’s against that genocidal backdrop – and the recent week’s worth of sickening racism associated with Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling – that the following exchange overheard in a supermarket needs to be somberly pondered, accompanied by a proper commitment to finally ending an evil that’s existed in our society for far too long.

A woman of color at the check-out is speaking on her cellphone in an unfamiliar language, while watched by a white man immediately ahead.

After she finishes, he says: “I didn’t want to interrupt you while you were talking, but you’re in America now. You need to start speaking English.”

Woman: “Excuse me?”

Man: (very slowly) “If you want to speak Mexican, go back to Mexico. In America, we speak English.”

Woman: “Sir, I was speaking Navajo. If you want to speak English, go back to England!”

Dennis Rahkonen

Superior,

Wisconsin