A hearing on an "English-only" bill went from racist to sexist on Monday, when Pennsylvania state lawmaker Daryl Metcalfe, promoting an English-only bill, hushed a Latina colleague who spoke out against the legislation.
Rep. Leslie Acosta, the state’s only Latina legislator, was stating her argument for why the bill, which would require all state and local government records to be in English, is unconstitutional, when Metcalfe, who co-sponsored the legislation, turned off her microphone.
According to ThinkProgress, Monday’s hearing was structured as a question-and-answer session, with lawmakers asking witnesses about the bill. Acosta’s comments were leading up to a question.
"Rep. Acosta ... no, excuse me … you're out of order," Metcalf is heard telling Acosta in a video recording. "I’m trying to make a point here … I got two minutes, and I will finish up very quickly," she replied.
While insisting that she finish her comment and that she has a "right to make [her] statement," Metcalfe silenced Acosta's mic and called on another legislator to speak. She was never able to ask her question.
Acosta’s treatment at the hearing left her appalled, but she told ThinkProgress that it was the fact that a white nationalist, Robert Vandervoot, was able to speak before the state that was most horrifying.
"This is overt racism in the 21st century. We’ve got to call it like it is," she said. "It has no place in the House of Representatives. I’m on this and I’m not letting go."
Acosta, who is an immigrant Latina who learned English after moving to the U.S. when she was two years old, said that though she believes that immigrants should learn English, a view that most foreigners agree with, she refuses to "separate myself from who I am, from my culture, from my ancestry."
Read more on page 2>>>