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By Mike Allen


October 23, 2020 (Santee) -- A video that’s gone viral on the Internet shows another disgruntled Starbucks customer yelling about wearing a mask. But this time, the customer at the Starbucks on Magnolia Avenue in Santee hurls an obscene and racially charged insult at the black woman behind the counter.

The short clip posted on YouTube this week has a young blonde woman talking with the black barista, who tells her to please keep her mask on while inside the shop.


The blonde woman customer then says wearing the mask is not the law, and that Covid-19 is a hoax. After getting her drink, she then yells, “This is America and I don’t have to do what you say!”, which she followed by yelling, “Trump 2020!”


Alex Beckom, the barista is heard saying, “Have a nice day.”


After leaving the shop, the woman returns right away, and yells into the store, “F*** Black Lives Matter!”


This latest incident follows two other racially-tinged incidents in May where people used symbols of hate to express their disdain for having to wear a mask while shopping inside retail outlets.


In one event, a middle-aged man shopped at the Santee Vons store while wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood. In the other event, a couple pushing a stroller with a child wore masks with the Nazi swastikas while shopping in the Santee Food 4 Less store.


Both incidents, which were posted on social media sites, were investigated by the Sheriffs Department for possible hate crimes but no charges were filed against the people.


Each of the two mayoral candidates for Santee decried the latest Starbucks incident for the blatant racism.


“I’m asking why is it that we have to be talking about this and why can’t we grow up and be respectful of each other?” said Mayor John Minto. “It’s obvious to me this young woman just wanted to be hurtful in her comments (to the barista)…..Either put on the mask or leave. It’s simple. But Trump has nothing to do with it.”


Councilman Stephen Houlahan said the words used by the female customer are completely unacceptable. “It’s another incident of racism and I denounce racism. We should be easily unified on this one. It makes no sense…..It’s completely inappropriate.”


After the other well-publicized racial incidents in June, Santee experienced several nights of protests due to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer. These public protests triggered counter protests by an organized group called East County Defenders, and  resulted in altercations, and some vandalism.


These incidents “are absolutely destroying the image of our city. It’s catastrophic. We need a change in Santee,” Houlahan said.


Minto said the city already was labeled as racist due to past incidents, and that the city is addressing it through its Community Policing Advisory Committee, which is holding regular meetings and developing some programs to meet the issue head on.


Houlahan said he’s received several pieces of hate mail at his residence, including one of his own political mailers that were mailed back to him with big letters stating, “Hell NO.”


Other memes posted on social media sites attack Houlahan after he was so outspoken against racism. He said while hate speech may not be illegal, it’s immoral and wrong. “That’s why we need to shine a light on these things,” he said. “By staying silent, it seems as if it’s okay.”


Starbucks spokesperson Jory Mendes praised Beckom for her calm demeanor. As for the customer, Mendes said, “This behavior is certainly not welcome in our stores,” the Los Angeles Times reports.


The story has been reported nationwide and in the European press, adding another stain on Santee’s record.


But there is a silver lining for the barista, who has raised more than $25,000 in donations on a GoFundMe page after posting the racist tirade online.  Beckom says she plans to use the money in part to pay for for college books and supplies, also sharing the wealth with fellow Starbucks employees.


 “Every barista faces these situations, she wrote on the site. “Luckily mine was caught on video, so I want to share the money with my coworkers."

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