"Go! Leave! Nobody wants you here," Mankey, clad in all black, yells at the top of her lungs as she stalks after him. "Get your f------, Trump-loving MAGA hat out of my g--damn town, you a------!"
She continues the tirade against him as he enters the parking lot at the end of the alleyway: "It is NOT OK to be a racist!" she shouts angrily. "It's NOT OK to be a Nazi!"
The person who filmed the video, who asked not to be identified, wrote in an email to the Weekly, "I (am) not a fan of people being harassed in public places regardless of their political views, and I think everyone inside Starbucks felt the same way.
"What really surprised me was that the Starbucks staff didn't do anything," the person added.
The video recorded the tail end of the encounter, which began when Mankey, who is involved in local progressive politics, approached the man as he sat in the coffeehouse — an encounter she then wrote about on social media. Calling him a "hater of brown people," Mankey said she yelled at him and addressed Starbucks customers and employees to join her in her effort. She said she left the store but soon returned and continued to try to shame him.
Mankey wrote that she was "heartbroken" that other white people didn't stand up against the man sporting a slogan that was popularized by Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign.
She threatened to post pictures of him on social media, which she then did, along with her version of the incident on her Facebook page and on Twitter. She asked the public for help finding him — "I want him to have nowhere to hide," she wrote — a practice called "doxing," or posting personal contact information to encourage threats and harassment.
She exhorted people online to confront him if they see him wearing the red cap.
"You do not want to be the person who didn't speak up as we slipped into fascism," she posted.
On Twitter, she said: "I am going to publicly shame him in town and try to get him fired and kicked out of every club he is in. I am going to go to his house, march up and down carrying a sign that says he hates black people. I am going to organize protests where he works to make him feel as unsafe as he made every brown person he met today."
The incident has had repercussions not only for Mankey, who said on Tuesday she's received death threats and was fired from her job as an accountant, but also for her former employer, Gryphon Stringed Instruments. Staff at the store said they were inundated with angry phone calls and emails Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the 74-year-old Palo Alto man in the MAGA hat, who is Jewish, told the Palo Alto Weekly that he is not afraid of the woman. Rather, he said, her actions are an example of the lack of discourse in the country over differing viewpoints. He said he has seen her description of the incident and that it was accurate. (The man's full name is being withheld as he did not harass anyone, but he consented to the publication of his first name, Victor.)
The postings immediately drew criticism on right-wing and other websites against Mankey, who is an appointed member of Palo Alto's North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan Working Group and until Wednesday co-chaired the Bayshore Progressive Democrats, a relatively new progressive club addressing social-justice issues.
A woman from the Midwest with the Twitter handle @RightHookUSA responded by contacting Mankey's husband's employer and the Palo Alto Police Department.
"I was extremely disturbed when I learned that an elderly man was being humiliated and harassed in public by a vicious bully," the woman, named Amy, said in an email to the Weekly. "I hope and pray that this incident leads to greater tolerance and respect among all Americans, instead of greater hatred and rage."
She declined to provide her last name because she said she received hateful messages for supporting the man.
Matt Lynch, retail manager at Gryphon Stringed Instruments on Lambert Street, said on Tuesday that the store also has been caught up in the politically fueled maelstrom. The business received many emails and phone calls about Mankey's comments. People from all over the world have been posting negative Yelp reviews about the store — people who have never been customers, he added.
"It's been a tough day," he said, wearily. "What she said in no way reflects Gryphon or how the company feels." He added that "100 percent" of the calls have been against what Mankey said.
"It's a big shock to us," he said.
Mankey had worked for the company for four years, he said, but she was fired Tuesday.
In a statement posted on the Gryphon Facebook page, the company said: "Gryphon does not believe anyone should be harassed or subject to hate speech no matter their beliefs. Music has historically been something that has brought people of diverse socio-political backgrounds together.
"We would like to make it clear that the opinions expressed and actions taken by the employee are not indicative of how we conduct ourselves at the shop and we hope we can continue to serve our customers across the country respectfully and universally as we have done for nearly 50 years."
He'll keep exercising free speech
Victor told the Weekly that he goes to Starbucks every day. When Mankey, whom he did not know, approached and began questioning him about his hat, he thought she was going to talk to him about politics, a common occurrence, but instead, she lit into him right away.
He said he was not really cognizant that she had called him a "hater of brown people" or that she likened him to a Nazi. She was "raving," he said, and he wasn't focused on her words.
She told him she wanted him to call the police because then she would learn his name and where he lived, his wife's name and where his children had attended school, her Facebook post states.
He was surprised that no one said anything to stop the woman or come to his aid.
"It would've been touching," he said.
Victor said he wears the MAGA hat regularly but he never sees anyone else wearing one. Almost everyone who approaches him tells him they want to wear the hats but are worried about repercussions.
"There's a fear in the air," he said of people who support Trump. "I hope this doesn't start a trend of people getting in your face."
Victor denied that the hat, which for some people has come to symbolize hatred, racism and division, represents those ideas.
"Let me ask you: The phrase Make America Great — is there anything negative in it? In the 1952 election, people wore 'I Like Ike' buttons, but no one saw it as a threat," he said.
"Saying that a hat is pro-Trump or pro-American is absurd. There has always been a picture of the president and the postmaster in the post office. Are we saying now that putting a picture of this president up is considered a provocation?
"What's happened around here is that people get the idea that if you're for Trump, you are an evil person," he said.
He bemoaned the loss of civil discourse over politics and says no one has approached him to have a reasonable debate.
"There is no intelligent dialogue. People watch right-wing websites and left-wing websites," he said of people gravitating to extremes. "There's no intelligent discussion at all. There used to be some sense of two political parties."
He said he would continue to wear his MAGA hat in public as an exercise of his freedom of speech — "until North Korea (or another totalitarian regime) takes over our government."
And he will continue to go out for his coffee.
"I'm joking, but I hope the next time at Starbucks there will be 30 people wearing red hats and like in the movies, they'll give me a slow clap."
Triggered by Trump
Mankey, for her part, said in an email to the Weekly that she and her family are receiving death threats and other threats of harm. She declined to comment further.
Margaret Okuzumi, who co-chairs the Bayshore Progressive Democrats with Mankey, expressed concern for Mankey and her family, saying they were doxed Tuesday on right-wing social media and internet channels. (Doxing is illegal, and various message boards have taken down threads about the incident and warned that posters who dox will be banned.)
In a statement from the organization, Okuzumi said: "Parker felt strongly that she wanted to use her privilege as a white woman to stand up for those who are living in fear because of the hateful atmosphere fostered by Trump. Unfortunately the manner in which she chose to stand up against a slogan that stands for racism led to an even stronger hateful response that has endangered her and her family."
She added that the organization encourages nonviolent engagement to change the minds of racists.
"Parker's actions did not follow these principles and do not reflect our organization's political philosophy and approach. We regret how her actions have further reverberated and sundered human connection in the community at-large. And we condemn those who have threatened her and her family with bodily harm.
"We call upon community members to learn from this incident, to study the principles of nonviolent resistance and to teach ways to call attention to injustice while also encouraging reconciliation. It is the only way that we will ultimately succeed in creating a world that works for everyone."
According to the organization's Facebook page, on Wednesday, Mankey resigned as co-chair, officer, and member of the Bayshore Progressive Democrats.
Steven Lee, who serves on the Palo Alto Human Relations Commission, knows Mankey, calling her "beloved by many in our community for her progressive activism, myself included."
However, he said, he does not condone Mankey's behavior toward the man and believes it was completely unacceptable.
"We can and must do better," he said.
In an email expressing his own opinion and not that of the commission, he recalled former First Lady Michelle Obama's warning not to be dragged down into the mud of bad behavior. "We've got to go high," Obama said.
"This week in Palo Alto," Lee said, "one of our neighbors ... allowed herself to be pulled down into that muck when she encountered a man wearing a MAGA hat at a Palo Alto Starbucks and chased him out of the store.
"Let me be clear. The MAGA hat at its best represents a distorted and inaccurate view of America, its history and its place in the world, and, at its worst, is a symbol of hate and everything that is wrong with America today."
But, he added, "We must resist sinking down to their level. We must hold out our hand and help pull them out of the muck."
He added that people must be both vigilant and civil.
"That is the hardest, most courageous form of resistance — the resistance of Ghandi, of Dr. King — a resistance based in empathy and committed not to a duel between our lesser demons but rather a meeting of our better angels. That is the resistance we must strive for and the one I know we have within us."
When asked for comment Tuesday, the manager of the Starbucks refused to speak with a reporter. The Weekly asked city of Palo Alto spokeswoman Claudia Keith on Tuesday whether Mankey would remain on the North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan Working Group. Keith stated in an email, "We are aware (of the situation), but don't have any comment at this point."
What people are saying
Commentary on this news has been taking place online on the Palo Alto Online Town Square forum. Here are excerpts of what Palo Alto residents are saying. Go to PaloAltoOnline.com/square to read the full conversation.
Posted April 3 by Jonathan Brown, a resident of Ventura:
It is wrong to scream at, insult, humiliate, intimidate, slander, make unfounded assumptions about and otherwise harrass someone who is doing no harm to you. In our country, thankfully, we are free to speak our minds, express our political and religious views, and wear what we want. Anybody that suggests otherwise is attacking core values of our society and is themselves guilty of facist logic.
If you think someone's political beliefs are wrong and you would like to tell them so, it is incumbent upon you to try to convince that person in civil discourse in the marketplace of ideas, not to simply shout them down and overwhelm them with force and fear for their safety and livelihood. ...
We should take time to get proximate with each other and understand that ... we share a common humanity that transcends superficial differences. Only then can we begin to build a truly just society.
Posted April 3 by Becky Sanders, a resident of Ventura:
Knowing Parker well, Parker must have been having a super bad day to exercise such disastrous judgment. She's a neighbor and a colleague here in the Ventura Neighborhood Association. ... I have never witnessed her, even under stress, insult anyone or be cruel. ...
Hers was a very poor choice, but what is really chilling here is the extremist backlash that Parker is subjected too. She exercises her free speech — albeit in a not constructive way — and then gets the four horses of the right wing apocalypse threatening her very life. She loses her job and her family is harassed.
Would it be possible for Parker and Maga-man ... to get together and hash this out? Maybe they could engage in civil discourse with the desired outcome being that each person seekito understand the point of view of the other person and not engage in trying to change any minds. A listening party. No screaming allowed.
Posted April 3 by Patrick Boone, a resident of Downtown North: I think this is a teaching moment and we all need to take a breathe and realize no matter our differences, we're all people that matter. I believe we should form bonds with people of opposite opinions versus push them away. Even though I would not wear that hat, if we can learn from each other, we just might find our values are the same. Let's not hate, when respecting each other is so much easier.
I welcome a coffee with the MAGA hat man, we all need our voices heard on both sides. As a black man, I never assume anyone's point of view until I know what type of heart they have for a fellow person and what's their history.
Posted April 3 by Margaret Heath, a resident of Evergreen Park: It is interesting to think about what might have happened if the roles had been reversed. If what appeared to be a "white" person verbally assaulted a non-white person in the same circumstances. How tolerant would the other customers and onlookers outside have been in that circumstance?
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