LAKE ARROWHEAD (CBSLA) — A video making the rounds on social media Monday shows a San Bernardino County woman spewing racist hate speech at a U.S.-born, Latino man, and she defends the remarks by saying the president has done the same.
Seventeen-year-old activist Kenidra Woods posted the video to Twitter, saying her friend Esteban Guzman of Pomona was being harassed by “a racist white woman” while he was out working with his mother.
The video starts with the woman flipping the middle finger right up to Guzman’s face outside of a structure in Lake Arrowhead.
“I don’t know why you hate us. Why do you hate?” Guzman asks the woman.
“‘Cause you’re Mexicans,” the woman replies.
“Because we’re Mexicans?”
As unnecessary as it seems, Guzman defends himself and his mother, with whom he was out doing yard work Saturday morning.
“We’re honest people right here,” Guzman pushes back.
“Yeah, rapists,” the woman chuckles.
“Rapists? How many people have I raped?”
“You’re rapists, animals, drug dealers, rapists, animals. Even the President of the United States says so,” the woman replies as she begins to walk away.
“How many drugs have I dealt?” Guzman asks in the crosstalk.
“Oh yeah? You believe everything you see on the news?” asks Guzman. “You see how we’re working hard right here?”
“Yeah, I do,” the woman replies. “I see what you’re doing here. You’re also polluting everybody else’s yard.”
In Spanish, Guzman’s mother, who seems to be the one recording, tells her son, “Tell her she sees that we’re finished.”
When the woman hears the Spanish, she mocks Guzman’s mother, uttering gibberish before hooking her finger towards Guzman as she says, “Come here, little boy.”
The video had been viewed more than 3.7 million times and gotten 43,000 retweets by Monday evening.
Woods continued the Twitter thread about the incident, showing pictures of Guzman graduating from Cal Poly Pomona.
“Despite what the racist white woman said — he is not a rapist, neither does he sell drugs. He’s a hardworking man who truly inspires me,” Woods wrote.
Guzman, 27, told CBS2 News he was born and raised in Lake Arrowhead, where the incident happened, not Mexico. He works as an administrative assistant during the week and helps with his family’s construction business on the weekends.
He said the confrontation began when some of the debris he was cleaning up with his mother drifted into the woman’s yard.
“She doesn’t know who we are, so if she wants to sit down and talk, I can more than — [I’m] more than happy to explain who I am and what I do,” said Guzman.
Despite the vitriol, Guzman said he does not blame her or even Donald Trump.
“I don’t blame her. I don’t blame the president. I just think it’s morally wrong, what she is doing,” said Guzman.
Then-candidate Donald Trump kicked off his presidential campaign in 2015 by saying, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems.[…] They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
More recently, the president has called members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, or MS-13, that began in Los Angeles in the 1980s “animals” in a discussion on sanctuary cities.
Guzman posted the original video on his Facebook page Saturday with the caption,
“Thank you for voting for Trump because thanks to him everywhere I go I am a rapist, an animal, and drug dealer. You don’t know what it feels like to be hated so much. I can take all the racial slurs they can throw at me. However, when they start yelling at my mother, that’s another story. We are honest, hardworking, and respectful people. PLEASE WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER TO STOP RACISM!”
“I believe teaching people about our culture, about our traditions is the better way to go because that way, they can better understand somewhat of a background of where we come from and who we are,” Guzman told CBS2.
On Sunday, Facebook deleted the video, which Guzman said was a result of “showing the world racism still exists.” Facebook later restored the video, saying it was removed by mistake and that it did not violate the company’s community standards.”