While the democratic primaries have appeared fairly civil this election cycle, there are reports of some unabashed racism by Bernie Sanders supporters this week. Some Sanders supporters were accused of shouting “English only!” at the Nevada caucus event at Harrah’s casino in Las Vegas, according to a report by The Washington Post.
During the event, a caucus organizer reportedly called for a Spanish/English interpreter to assist in providing the most accurate instructions and information to Spanish-speaking caucus participants. When a volunteer stepped on stage, things reportedly got ugly, with Bernie supporters chanting “English only!”
Here’s the video.
The Spanish-speaking translator who stepped up to the plate was none other than Dolores Huerta, a well-known civil rights and farm-labor activist who was also the long-time confidante of Cesar Chavez. Additionally, Huerta is a supporter of Hillary Clinton.
Huerta took to the caucus stage to provide translation services for the Spanish-speaking caucus goers wearing a Hillary Clinton campaign t-shirt. Reportedly, things went downhill from there. When the democrat and activist began to speak (Spanish) from the stage, she was reportedly harassed by Bernie Sanders supporters chanting “English only!”
She took to Twitter to let the world know about her shock and disappointment with the Bernie Sanders crowd.
According to Huerta, the person in charge of the caucus had asked for a translator, telling the crowd that the first person to come onto the stage could have the job.
“So I went up to the front to be the translator.”
As the video above shows, when Huerta got in front of the crow of caucus-goers, she was greeted by more than a couple jeers and other negative reactions. While some Sanders supporters have come out since and indicated that the response had to do with her support of Hillary Clinton, Huerta doesn’t attribute the chants of “English only!” to something as innocuous as political differences.
In fact, according to Huerta, the “English only!” chants were “mostly” coming from Bernie Sanders event organizers, not just his supporters. She reportedly told The Washington Post that when she got on stage, Bernie Sanders organizers were shouting “No, no, no,” as well as debating the need for a translator. The saddest part, according to Huerta, was that some of the Bernie Sanders organizers were shouting “English only! English only!”
Huerta is not the only one who supports her story of the “English only!” chants from Bernie Sanders. America Ferrera, also a Clinton supporter, took to Twitter to substantiate Huerta’s version of events.
Despite the contentions of Ferrera and Huerta, other attendees at the event have called into question their versions of events, reports Vox. According to these witnesses, including high-profile Bernie Sanders supporter Susan Sarandon, the Bernie Sanders supporters in the crowd did not chant “English only!” However, Sanders supporters did clearly try to shout down Huerta.
According to Sarandon, the only person who said “English only!” was the moderator of the event.
The Bernie Sanders campaign has not commented on the reported incident.
Sanders has dealt with a steady stream of accusations throughout the course of his 2016 presidential bid that he’s not “in tune” with issues of racial justice facing the democratic base. The Sanders campaign has also faced dogged allegations that his enthusiastic supporters have a tendency to be aggressive and even harassing when it comes to Hillary Clinton and/or those who support her.
While the Sanders campaign have tried to tackle these concerns from the democratic base head on, these new allegations of racism could be bad news for the future of his presidential aspirations. If proven to be true, the “English only!” chants from Bernie Sanders supporters and campaign organizers could damage his relationship with potential Latino voters.
[Image Courtesy Of Joe Raedle/Getty Images]