Woman's racist rant at mom speaking Spanish in restaurant goes viral

Aug 5, 2015 at 1:15 p.m. ET
Image: John Lund/Getty Images

When California mother Norma Vazquez decided to take her son to IHOP in celebration of his birthday, she never imagined that speaking Spanish would enrage another diner. But oh how it did.

Disturbing video of Norma receiving harsh criticism for speaking Spanish inside an IHOP has gone viral. Uploaded by her son Carlos, the near 3-1/2-minute-long cellphone video shows an unidentified woman interrupting a conversation between the family in one of the rudest ways possible. "We speak English in America," snapped the diner before going on a rant about Nazis and Russia. The altercation gets so heated, the woman tells Norma to "go back to Spain," as if all Spanish speakers are automatically from that country.

"I got more upset when my mom started to cry," Carlos told NBC News Los Angeles. "It wasn’t fair for my mom to cry to a stranger just because my mom was speaking Spanish."

Check out the encounter:

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No one should ever experience something like this, period. The United States is considered a melting pot of diversity, and rightfully so. There are so many cultures and ethnic backgrounds that help make this country unique. The CDC reveals that Hispanics are this country's largest ethnic or race minority, accounting for 17 percent of the population. Given that Spanish is the second most common language in the U.S., it's only natural for people to encounter those who speak it. Even though the Vazquez family happens to be Latino (Norma is from El Salvador), people like this IHOP woman shouldn't be so quick to assume everyone who speaks Spanish is Hispanic, let alone from the country Spain. The Pew Research Center reveals that 2.8 non-Hispanics in the United States speak Spanish at home, with the majority hailing from European countries like England, Germany and Italy.

There are so many takeaways to learn from this story. For starters, many families across the country are teaching their children to be bilingual. Carlos is among the 50 percent of Latino children who are bilingual in this country. The benefits of being bilingual are pretty amazing. Aside from increasing your chances of landing a job, families who promote bilingualism raise great problem solvers, as they actively switch between languages. Parents should feel encouraged to introduce their child to a second language. Aside from interacting with native speakers and taking a class, you can get things started with bilingual toys that promote fun and education.

More: Arm your child with a second language

We commend Carlos for remaining even-tempered during this altercation. No matter how ignorant the patron became, Carlos managed to keep his cool and try to have a conversation with her. This is a testament to raising your kids to be respectful, even in the midst of adversity. Good manners can take you very far in life, which is something all of us should remember. People can and will treat you harshly, but that doesn't mean you have to react in the same way.

More: How to raise a respectful son

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