Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Ignorance on display

A friend of mine, well educated, in the medical profession, astounded me a few years ago when, on the occasion of the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City, complained about all the Puerto Rican flags being flown from cars and houses.

"Why are they flying the Puerto Rican flag?" he asked.

"They should be flying the American flag. If they don't like it here, they should go back to their own country."

He was embarrassed after I explained to him that Puerto Ricans are Americans and that this is their country. He really didn't know.

I was reminded of this after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico with deadly force and some people suggested that we concentrate less on helping people in other countries (meaning Puerto Rico) and focus more on helping Americans. I'm reminded of my conversation with my friend once again, after viewing a viral video of a woman wearing a Puerto Rico tee-shirt being harassed by a man at a park.

The man was abusive and intimidating and maybe even drunk and didn't understand that the lady is an American proud of her heritage. He told her she didn't belong in this country and shouldn't be using the facilities, even though, she tried to calmly explain that she had a permit and was setting up for a birthday party.

But what I found especially disturbing is that there happened to be a police officer there when this was all going on and he refused to intervene. Even after she asked him for help several times.

Another person, a man, who is not identified but who may have been with the woman, finally stood between her and the abusive guy and a call was made to 911. It wasn't until other officers arrived on the scene that police took a complaint from the woman.

No comments: