Man asks woman to stop speaking Spanish on a plane—and bystanders start speaking Spanish

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People on TikTok are subtly calling out abusive behavior.

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Amid a news cycle dominated by stories of the president telling congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from, it’s difficult to think of how such ingrained racism can be undone. But a thread on Twitter documenting a particularly effective clap back to a man’s racist comment is giving people hope. 

Author Jaime Primak shared the story on Tuesday of a man who asked her to stop speaking Spanish on an early morning flight. But the incident didn’t spiral downward. Instead, the flight attendant and another man seated next to the racist passenger started speaking Spanish.

It’s not clear which airline the incident took place on, and Primak did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for an interview.

People’s responses to her tweet are wholesome, a reminder that we’re not as alone as we think when a random white person tries to shut us up for speaking our native language. Many said they would have started speaking Spanish—even though they’re not fluent—just to piss off the guy.

Some shared their own experiences with being told by strangers to stop speaking their native language.

Incidents like these are far too common. Midtown lawyer Aaron Schlossberg was entirely canceled for threatening to call ICE on two women for speaking Spanish, and a white woman was chased out of a grocery store by another white woman who asked two shoppers not to speak Spanish.

On Twitter, some said they’ve planned their own clapbacks in case something similar happens to hem.

It’s been a rough week for immigrants, people of color, and probably anyone who speaks a native language other than English. A crowd chanted “Send her back!” at President Donald Trump’s rally on Wednesday amid his continued racist attacks on congresswomen. But Primak’s thread, including others’ responses, is reason enough to hope that more and more bystanders are ready to fight back.

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Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque