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A clerk at a gas station convenience store in Naperville, Illinois, has been terminated after a viral video showed him telling Hispanic customers “to go back to their country.”
Establishment media outlets like The Washington Post, CBS News and BuzzFeed News have tried to connect the incident to President Donald Trump encouraging a group of freshman progressive lawmakers earlier this week to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”
The confrontation actually highlights the difference between Trump’s comments and actual racism. It’s an important difference, but not one the media will likely point out.
In the video, posted to Facebook on Tuesday, a male clerk at a Bucky’s Mobil gas station argues with several Hispanic women.
“I’m an American,” the clerk says.
“And, what is your problem,” one of the women replies.
“It’s illegal,” he says. “Are you a citizen?”
A woman responds: “Yes.”
“Don’t you know the rules?” the clerk then says. “They need to go back to their country. It’s illegal.”
“You’ll be sorry,” he replies. “ICE will come.”
As the women walk out of the store and the video ends, he adds: “Bye. God bless you. You have the wrong country.”
The incident reportedly started when a family, including two sisters who were visiting from Mexico, stopped at the gas station to buy chips.
Fifteen-year-old Indira Buitron, who lives in Naperville, told WLS-TV she went inside the convenience store, only to have the clerk ask if her cousins were in the country legally. The family told WMAQ, meanwhile, that they were speaking Spanish.
“I was really confused on why he wanted to know if they are illegal or not, so when I got out of the gas station I told my mom,” Indira Buitron told WLS-TV.
She also told the Naperville Sun the clerk asked if she was a citizen.
“I was really surprised. No one ever asked me that before,” she said.
Another cousin, Carolina Buitron, who lives in Naperville as well, says she went inside to talk to the clerk.
“I asked him, oh so you want to be a racist. I was like that’s not OK. He said you need to leave; I said I don’t need to leave. He said I’m American; I said I’m American too, I was born here,” Carolina told WLS-TV.
Carolina, her mother and her aunt all ended up going inside to argue with the clerk, according to The Post.
The clerk has since been fired, and his outburst has been condemned by ExxonMobil and Bucky’s, as well as plenty of politicians.
It should go without saying that his remarks deserve this criticism. Questioning whether someone is in the U.S. legally for no reason other than the fact that they are Hispanic is discriminatory, as is telling people to go back to their own country simply because of the language they are speaking.
But if you give any stock to what the establishment media says, you might get the idea that this clerk’s remarks are equivalent to what Trump said.
This could not be further from the truth.
Trump, you see, was not telling Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts to leave the country because of the color of their skin.
He was simply saying that if those liberal lawmakers don’t appreciate the freedoms and prosperity they can enjoy in the U.S., then they are more than welcome to leave.
The clerk, on the other hand, was telling Hispanic customers to go back to their own country — not because they hate America, but because he appeared to take issue with the fact that they were speaking Spanish.
There’s a big difference. It’s just not one the establishment media is all that keen on highlighting.