Lennys Bermudez was at a restaurant in north Phoenix when a white customer assailed her with racist comments, reflective of today’s “political climate,” Bermudez said.
The Latina, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, asked the woman if the seat next to her was free. Her response, “Do I have a choice” prompted Bermudez to take out her cellphone and record their exchange.
She posted the video on Facebook, which has been viewed more than 23,000 times. The video starts with Bermudez sitting down at a table next to the woman, who hasn’t been identified.
“I have never been told that somebody prefers whites,” she says.
“I prefer the whole freakin’ nation to be white. How about that” the woman responds.
“That’s lovely lady,” Bermudez says.
She added, “You know that’s never gonna happen, right”
“Oh, it’s gonna happen. You will be wiped out. You can trust me,” the woman responds.
Well, according to the Pew Research Center, the “post-Millennial” generation, which are those born after 1996, “is already the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, as a bare majority of 6-to 21-year-olds (52%) are non-Hispanic whites.”
As Bermudez continues to film the exchange, the woman gets up from her seat and begins to move to the next table.
Bermudez asks her, “So you prefer white people over me”
“Definitely,” the woman responds.
Bermudez says to the camera: “So this lady doesn’t want me to sit next to her because I’m not white.”
Along with the video posted on Tuesday, Bermudez wrote:
“I hate to say the political climate is to blame for someone’s outrageous behavior, but I was visibly shaken today with this exchange.”
Bermudez said the woman was asked to leave the restaurant.
“The manager of the store that kicked her out also walked me to my car for safety,” she wrote.
According to local news channel CBS 5, the restaurant was the Wildflower Bread Company.
Founder, Louis Basile, said he was “saddened and shocked” by the video and that “discrimination and racism have no place in his restaurants.”
“We really embrace the diversity of not only our workforce but of course our customers,” Basile said. “If a guest is uncomfortable in one of our restaurants, we’d like them to come to the manager.”
The population of Phoenix is 72.6 percent white and 41.8 percent Latino. The city is located in Maricopa County, which is traditionally Republican. However, in this month’s Arizona Senate race, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema won the county, and the election. Sinema is the first woman ever to represent Arizona in the Senate.
In Bermudez’s message on Facebook, she wrote that she’s proud of her heritage.
“I know that the scars of racism run deep in this great country I love,” she wrote. “Being Puerto Rican, I am a proud American … and equally proud Puerto Rican. This lady was lucky my PR-ness didn’t come out!
“I wish for a world for my children and my children’s children to never worry about this stuff … but then again, we are who we are.”
Reader Question: Do you think documenting racist behavior on video is effective in bringing race-related issues to the forefront