Minnesota nice

I tell you, there are wretched hateful people everywhere, even in the Empire of Nice that we call Minnesota. A woman of apparently, from her name, German extraction (“Burchard-Risch” — how totally un-American) got so irate at a woman speaking Swahili (“Asma Jama”. Is that less American than “Burchard-Risch”? Shouldn’t only people with good Lakota names like “Winona” or “Wasechun Tashunka” have the right to complain?*) in an Applebee’s that she got up and smashed a glass beer mug across her face, lacerating her horribly.

Asma Jama was there with her children having an ordinary conversation, when Burchard-Risch irrationally lost her temper at hearing a conversation that she had no part in, in a language she didn’t understand, and thought that was sufficient to cuss out the Jama family, throw a drink at them, and then violently strike her. Unbelievable. How can people have that degree of xenophobia? I wonder if Burchard-Risch is a Trump supporter.

There is now a fundraiser to cover Jama’s medical expenses. Be warned: front and center at that link is a photo of Jama’s seriously cut up face.

*Except, of course, that the Lakota culture of courtesy would mean they wouldn’t get up to smack around someone for the crime of speaking that foreign tongue, English. Or excuse me, American.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    Gosh, I have no idea which political party Burchard-Risch might be affiliated with. None whatsoever.

  2. blf says

    The terrorist has only been charged with third degree assault. That means, as I understand it, a “minor physical altercation” with no injuries but some pain. It’s unclear how interested the authorities are in bringing other charges.

  3. Saad says

    This is 100% compatible with fostering and supporting a cultural and political climate of xenophobia. When huge crowds turn up to support people like Trump and Carson, this is what they’re supporting. You can’t lend your voice to “I’m against a Muslim president” and “kick out Syrian refugees” but then dissociate yourself and your ideology from the actions of this awful woman.

  4. says

    Even friendly and progressive California has these people.

    I am cheese white blonde white guy and even I experienced this type of xenophobia in the streets of Los Angeles (or San Francisco, but I think it was LA) for the audacity of conversing in czech with my friend. We got only shouted at (and not too loudly at that), but maybe if our skin-complexion were darker, and our gender different, we might have experienced something along these lines.

    What I do not understand is how someone who was injured by assault has to raise money for their medical bills? Even with that idiotic healthcare system americans are unwilling to fix, should not in this case gough up the assailant?

  5. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    agreed Jama could justifiably bring civil assault/battery charges (with huge dollars for recompense).

  6. Rick Pikul says

    @blf #2

    I just checked, and the Minnesota criminal code defines third degree assault as including:

    Subdivision 1.Substantial bodily harm.

    Whoever assaults another and inflicts substantial bodily harm may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both. ”

    With substantial bodily harm meaning:

    Subd. 7a.Substantial bodily harm.

    “‘Substantial bodily harm’ means bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily member.”

    So it isn’t quite the blowing off of the case you think. The higher assault classifications also don’t apply, (2nd degree is “with a dangerous weapon” under a definition that the stein would be borderline for and 1st would require either permanent disfigurement or a high chance of death).

  7. F.O. says


    Not only she’s been assaulted, she has to pay her own medical bills?

    I’m serious, if I was living in the US I’d be expatriating without a second thought.

  8. John Morales says

    A woman of apparently, from her name, German extraction […]

    It’s not apparent to me; many women change their surname after marriage.

  9. neverjaunty says

    blf @2: It’s really trivial to look up the criminal statute in question before deciding that the authorities are colluding with the attacker, particularly as a third-degree assault charge doesn’t prevent any other charges from later being brought.

  10. says

    FFS, if I attacked every person who speaks a language I don’T understand I’d cause a bloodbath before even leaving the house.
    Funny thing, when people want me to understand them they can usually make themselves understood…

  11. says

    But don’t you know PZMyers? Islamophobia isn’t real. As Sam Harris said on Secular talk recently, CAIR exaggerates all anti-muslim bigotry!

  12. leerudolph says

    Even friendly and progressive California has these people.

    To be fair, even France has these people. I was sitting with my mate and a couple of friends—all of us USAns, me working at the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse for a semester—at a (great) restaurant in the village of Lisle-sur-Tarn one evening, talking in English (my friends don’t speak French), when a drunk a couple of tables over started abusing us loudly for doing so. (This was a bit after the correctly unpopular-in-France first Gulf War, which produced the great French protest slogan “Ni Saddamisation, ni Busherie!” [Neither Sodomization nor Butchery!], but there was no evidence that the drunk’s protest was politically motivated.) The management put him out and apologized.

  13. says

    @leerudolph #13

    To be fair, even France has these people.

    To be completely fair, probably every state around the planet has these people.

    In CZ there were recently a few assaults on women who had the audacity of being dark skinned and haired, and covering their head with headscarf (in cold and damp weather). All assaulted women were of Czech nationality. All that in the context of CZ having essentially zero problem with immigrants and petulantly refusing to help other states in the EU to bear the load nevertheless.

    Xenophobia, racism and their child islamophobia are indeed real and alive, no matter what anyone says. I am very disilusioned with my nation recently – and I did not have high opinions to begin with.

  14. says

    It isnt just people in their “own” country.

    I’m Welsh and although I am not a first language Welsh speaker, I recognise that in large swathes of mostly rural mid and North Wales, Welsh is the everyday language of peoples interaction.

    However, if I had a pund for each of the English people who have holidayed in these beautiful rural areas who have stated vehemently that…

    “everyone in the pub/shop/hotel was speaking English before we walked in and only started speaking Welsh when they realized we were English”

    I’d probably be able to put a deposit on a small car.

    I’ve tried to argue logically “you realize that these are first language speakers and you know what first language means?”, Ive tried to deal with the paranoia “how did they know you were English before you walked in and just by the look of you?”, Ive even resorted to stamping my foot and saying “you’re just wrong, they were speaking Welsh before, during and after you were there! Get over yourselves”. But it just doesnt seem to go in. English people seem to think Welsh was invented just to piss them off.

    A heady mix of privilege and paranoia.