Gisele Barreto Fetterman is the wife of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and a formerly undocumented immigrant from Brazil. She recently posted about a racist encounter she had on Sunday at a grocery store near her home outside of Pittsburgh. The 38-year-old activist and philanthropist posted a video on Twitter of a white woman calling her the n-word after, saying she ran back to her car in tears.
“I ran to the local grocery store and was met by and verbally assaulted by this woman who repeatedly told me I do not belong here,” she wrote on Twitter. “This behavior and this hatred are taught. If you know her, if she is your neighbor or relative, please, please teach her love instead.”
In the video you can hear the woman yelling at Barreto Fetterman saying, “You’re a n*gg**” after she’d apparently followed her back to her car to continue assaulting her.
*TRIGGER WARNING* I love love love this country but we are so deeply divided. I ran to the local grocery store and was met by and verbally assaulted by this woman who repeatedly told me I do not belong here. The confrontation continued into the parking lot where I was able to pic.twitter.com/kzSoxCVJ2x
— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) October 11, 2020
Bigotry and racism have been documented now more than ever as people record these encounters on their phones. From Latino street vendors being attacked for the sake of social media notoriety to countless white women assaulting Latinos and Latinas in public spaces, this is unfortunately not uncommon. Latinx victims of hate crimes rose over 21 percent in 2018, according to the FBI annual Hate Crime Statistics report. They found that there were 671 victims in anti-Latino incidents in 2018, compared with 552 the year before.
Fetterman told The Washington Post that she called her trooper escort after the confrontation and sent a photo of the other woman’s license plate. The woman has yet to be identified though she told The Post state troopers are now investigating.
“She said, ‘There’s that n-word that Fetterman married. You don’t belong here. No one wants you here. You don’t belong here,’” Fetterman told The Post. “The fact that she was so comfortable and bold to just do it to my face with an audience … that was really scary.”
She told CNN the incident reminded her of the uncertainty she felt during the decade she and her family lived undocumented and in fear of deportation. “Even though I’m 38, I’m second lady and I have a family and a career, I was immediately again, a scared a 9-year-old undocumented little girl in that grocery line,” she told CNN.
“She didn’t hide from it,” Barreto Fetterman said. “I think people are more comfortable now being so bold in their bigotry or their hatred.”