'I Was Shaking': Pennsylvania's Second Lady Films Woman Calling Her Racial Slur Outside Grocery Store
Matt Rourke / AP / Shutterstock From left: John Fetterman, Pennsylvania Governor, and his wife Gisele Barreto Fetterman
The Pennsylvania lieutenant governor's wife said she was the target of a racially motivated verbal attack at her local grocery store this weekend. A video she filmed to capture part of the incident has now gone viral.
Gisele Barreto Fetterman reported on the incident on Twitter on Sunday. The two-second long clip she shot shows a woman lowering her mask and saying, "You are a n -----" in Fetterman's half-open car window.
"I love, love, love this country, but we're so divided that I ran to the local grocery store and was hit and berated by this woman who repeatedly told me I don't belong here," Fetterman tweeted along with the video, that apparently came at the end of the argument.
She wrote that the woman who confronted her continued to speak to her after she left the store before she started filming.
"The confrontation continued in the parking lot, where I was finally able to catch her after the crying subsided," Fetterman wrote on Twitter. "This behavior and hatred are taught. If you know her, if she is your neighbor or relative, please, please teach her love instead."
Fetterman, who married Pennsylvania Governor John Fetterman in 2008, expanded the encounter in an interview with the Washington Post.
Gisele said it happened Sunday afternoon at a grocery store near her home in Braddock while she was waiting to check out.
"She said," There's this N-word that Fetterman married. You don't belong here. Nobody wants you here. You don't belong here, "Gisele told the Post." The fact that she felt so comfortable and brave to face me with an audience ... that was really scary. "
"At that moment I was just a bit frozen," Gisele remembered the post. "I was shaking. I was so nervous."
She said the woman came up to her when she was in her car to leave the store.
The woman shown in the video has not yet been identified, but Gisele told the Post that state forces are currently investigating. She said she called her usual soldier escort after the confrontation and sent a photo of the other woman's license plate.
A Brazilian immigrant, Gisele was brought to the United States by her mother as a child and, according to the Post, was undocumented. She has since become a citizen. She is a co-founder of groups that provide clothing and food to those in need.
In a statement Monday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf called the incident that Gisele documented "shameful and unacceptable".
"Racism and hate speech are always unacceptable and the Pennsylvanian is unworthy. No Pennsylvanian should ever be made to feel undesirable in our community because of his race or ethnicity," said Wolf. "Gisele Fetterman spends much of her time trying to make our state and our world a better place, and she - and every Pennsylvanian - deserves our respect, not the hatred that too often show people who are just trying to live in this country." There is so much need to divide further in a time of unity.
RELATED: Swastika Graffiti and "Build the Wall" Taunt: In the Racially Damned Incidents since Trump's Election
According to the FBI, racially motivated verbal (and physical) attacks - especially against Latinos - have increased in recent years.
In 2019, the office found that violence against Latinos had reached a 16-year high the previous year.
These numbers parallel other trends, particularly an increase in the number who consider immigration to be a primary concern in the United States. Historically, attacks on Latinos have begun to outperform attacks on Arab-Americans as immigration has replaced terrorism as a cause for concern among Americans.
President Donald Trump, elected on a broad anti-immigration platform, has been accused of fueling anti-Latino sentiment in the years since his election.
Trump kicked off his campaign with a speech describing Mexicans as drug traffickers, criminals and rapists. Since then, he has doubled that rhetoric, calling undocumented immigrants "animals" in 2018.
Elsewhere, he has insisted that he doesn't have a "racist bone in my body"!
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