As if the presidency of Donald Trump hadn’t done enough to fan the flames of racism and entitlement in the United States, the coronavirus pandemic inexplicably threw gasoline on the fire. For sure, this phenomenon has brought no shortage of so-called “Karens” out of the woodwork—because if your perceived civil liberties are being taken from you, why not trample on the actual civil liberties of others?
That’s precisely what happened this week when landscaper Juan Andrade, who has worked for the same Rancho Mirage, California landscaping company for 10 years, was approached by a woman who demanded to see his “papers.”
In a video of the incident that Andrade captured, he can be heard asking the woman to step away from him, as she was not wearing a mask.
“Can you show me your papers?” the woman asked quietly, perhaps not wanting to be picked up on the recording. When Andrade requested once again that she move away from him, the woman continued to reiterate her question. “You want to see my papers?” Andrade fired back, incredulously. “You immigration?”
#Viral #RanchoMirage woman harasses gardener who was just doing his job. Continues to move towards him without a mask and no social distance. She then demands to see “his papers.” pic.twitter.com/9Z8AoZVy5r— Regina Yurrita (@Regilynnn) July 16, 2020
The woman nodded in response—despite the fact that she is clearly not with immigration—and inaudibly repeated something about his papers.
Andrade later told NBC Palm Springs that this isn’t even the first time that this woman, in particular, has harassed him, and that he wanted to film the interaction to prove that even Coachella Valley is not exempt from the racist divide. Three months ago, she approached him and told him to “go back to his country.”
“Like any other complex I was just doing the work for all of them, mowing the lawn. I passed by her apartment and when I turned around to do the second round that’s when I saw her standing,” Andrade said. “When she was harassing me, I started to feel mad because I was just doing my work.”
NBC Palm Springs spoke with local immigration lawyers, who say “people think they’re playing police, but it’s just racist.”
“Unless you are law enforcement, but aside from that, they are using that conversation as just another way to intimidate and create objects out of human beings who appear to be different from them,” said Megan Beaman Jacinto, a Coachella Valley immigration lawyer.
Without much recourse, Andrade says that he’s reported the incident to his employer, and plans to avoid the area so that hopefully he won’t encounter this woman again. “Based on what I’ve seen from her, I think she thinks she didn’t do anything wrong,” he added. “She believes she’s in the right, so I don’t think she’ll ever apologize.”