CHICAGO — A suburban teacher who was the victim of a racist tirade at the Chicago Margarita Festival on the South Side over the weekend said the episode left him shaken.
Ernest Crim was at the Margarita Festival at the South Shore Cultural Center Saturday when he and his wife decided to play a round of bags. They didn't have enough bean bags to toss, so they watched another group of people play. When the other group tossed a bag far and didn't retrieve it after several moments, Crim said he and his wife went to use it.
That's when Crim said a white woman from the other group came forward and called Crim and his wife, who are black, a "n-----" and "ho."
Crim, shocked, said he took out his phone to record the woman. She knocked his phone out of his hand, he said, and walked away. He picked it back up and walked over to her, asking her to repeat what she had said, and the woman once again called him a "n-----," he said.
The people with the woman defended her or were silent, Crim said.
Then, when Crim and his wife began to walk away, the woman turned and spit on his wife, he said.
Crim saw a security guard detaining the woman and an officer eventually came. The Crims filed a police report, and Chicago Police said detectives are investigating.
Crim and his wife were "distraught," he said — his wife even became upset and began to cry.
"We've both never dealt with something so direct" in its racism, Crim said.
Crim posted the video to Facebook, where it's been shared and watched thousands of times. The reaction has been "overwhelmingly positive," he said, and commenters helped him find the name of the woman he recorded so he could give it to police.
Crim passed that information on to police, but he said it seems like officers aren't taking the incident seriously. That's been frustrating, he said, because he wants the woman brought to justice.
"I just kind of feel stuck right now," Crim said. "This is all I'm thinking about. I want something to happen. I want her to be arrested. ... [I] just want to make sure she doesn't feel like she can get away with this."
Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), who missed the confrontation but attended the event Sunday, said she believes the woman "should have been arrested."
It's not the most egregious thing to ever happen to someone, Crim said, but it still upset the couple: They're not eating well and they think about the incident often, he said. Even their young children have noticed and have wondered why their parents haven't been themselves, Crim said.
The woman was just expressing a form of racism that many people harbor inside themselves, Crim said.
"What she did is just a symptom of something that society, this country, is producing. She's just outward with it," Crim said. "Before this even happened, this has been a rough summer being a black person."
Aside from the racist encounter, festival attendees complained of long lines and other organizational problems at the Margarita Festival.
"I would never go back again," attendee Gaylon Alcaraz said. "It was just a gorgeous opportunity to open up people to the neighborhood, to come into the South Side ... and then they just kind of blew it."
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