Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The language animus

-- by Dave

So what is it about people speaking in foreign tongues that sets some Americans off? I've noticed that even in civil settings, a lot of white Americans -- especially those who aren't particularly well-educated -- consider it insulting that such words are even being spoken in their presence. It's almost as if they suspect that the foreign speakers are communicating in secret code as a conspiracy against them.

Yesterday in Seattle someone took it a step further:

Seattle police are looking for a man who became so enraged when he heard someone speaking a language other than English that he attacked him and a friend.

The attack happened around 3:15 p.m. Monday in the 8800 block of Rainier Avenue South, according to a police report.

The victims, described by police as African men, were in a store near Rainier and South Henderson Street when one of them received a phone call. The man stepped outside to talk on his cell phone.

While he was talking on the phone, he heard a man stopped in traffic yell at him to "speak English," according to the report. Police described the attacker only as a man who drove a dark-blue Chevrolet pickup truck.

The victim "tried to tell him he didn't speak English very well and that seemed to anger the suspect," the report stated.

The man in the pickup pulled out of traffic, got out of his truck, calling the victim a Muslim using a slur and told him to "go back home."

The victim tried to walk away, but the pickup driver continued to insult him, at one point reportedly saying, "I'll kill all of you."

The driver then grabbed the victim by the front of his shirt and punched him twice when the man tried to flee. The victim was hit in the shoulder and was able to block the second blow.

His friend inside the store saw the tussle and when he came out to break it up, he was punched in the eye.

Again, the attacker threatened to kill the men and headed for his truck.

Neither of the men was seriously hurt.

And yes, it's being investigated as a hate crime. As it should.

No comments: