Gloria’s story: Hate comes in all shapes, ages and sizes!

Yesterday, I was on the N Line going uptown a little before 3PM today (2:50-2:58?). I boarded on 57th and 7th. Right when I walked in I heard yelling. I had no idea what was going on, everyone in the car (it was a reasonably full car) was staring at a group of 6-7 african american teenage girls in the middle of the car.

I soon realized what was happening– after the victims that they had been yelling at had exited the car, they turned and came back in because a few of the girls were cussing them out (profanely). I saw the victims were a 20-something year old couple: an african american male and his asian girlfriend. It became evident that not only these teenagers were racist— but they saw this mixed-race couple and started an altercation, calling them names and insulting them (BOTH)– especially making fun of the asian girl’s accent.

It was a completely verbal argument, but one that could’ve easily turned physical in any other situation (example, like if the teens were boys, the victimized man may have tried physical retaliation). The victims turned back in after they taunted them after they had exited– but they couldn’t really do anything– they were visibly upset, but they did not/could not reciprocate appropriately.

I assume it was because these girls were all underage, and there was a large gang of them, even though they were just teenagers. Also, of course, there are no cops around and there’s no videocamera. There’s no accountability. Meanwhile, everyone was just staring. The girls yelled at them to get out of the car again, and as they left again, one of the girls wanted to get in the last word, she actually (opened?) the subway window and yelled the couple, “Don’t eat that Chinese p***y!!!!”. But the most terrible thing is that these teenagers liked the fight, they were laughing about the whole thing. My heart just ached for them.

When the doors closed again I realized I had walked into a bad situation– as I am acutally asian myself and I had walked to stand on the car just several feet away from them. I am pretty new to the NYC subway system (I only come in about once a month), so I had no idea what to do. Does each car have an intercom? I felt that if it did, someone on the car should’ve reported it. If the car didn’t have an intercom, it SHOULD. People need to be held accountable for their actions— especially ones of a racist nature. The only way to do that is either have a policeman/security stationed at each platform OR have live video feed OR have an intercom.

THIS was a case of second degree aggravated assault– a crime! But nothing could be done about it. The bystander effect was well in place— everyone (20 people, different races) were anxious and alert, but no one did anything. And once the aggravators have left the subway car, who knows where they will go?? And soon, all the witnesses will slowly disappear as well.

It was one of the saddest, most disturbing experiences– a car full of young racist children taunting and cussing out an older interracial couple, surrounded by passive adults. It disturbed me on such a deep level and I wondered if anyone else felt the same way. So many questions arise– how is it that 6 young girls could have so much hatred for not only another minority, but one of their own race? NYC is the most culturally diverse city in the world, isn’t it?

As I turned my back to leave for my stop near 60th & Park, one of the girls tried to throw a piece of garbage at the back of my head (completely unprovoked by me– which is why I say they must’ve provoked the prior incident). She missed, and I ignored it and I kicked it to the side. I left the car quickly, and they followed. They followed me up the stairs laughing and giggling and egging each other on to try to throw the garbage at my head again. This second time they succeeded. As my back was already turned to them, I ignored them. I keep wondering what else I could have done. What could I have said or done, if anything? As a bystander, or as a victim?

I can’t get this incident out of my head. It’s shaken me, no doubt. The MTA needs to get their act together. MTA + police need to establish rules of conduct for both victims and bystanders and a real system with subway car intercoms/live video feed/policemen at each station– an interception system for effectively catching perpetrators of crimes before leaving the subway station.

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4 Responses

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  1. ninyabruja says:

    The blue seat trains have an intercom….and there is still a booth with a 24 hour attendant at the 57th st entrance.

  2. G says:

    Thanks for the info– will keep that in mind. Still though, even if the interracial couple reported it to an attendant, by the time they called police, the girls have already gotten off on the next stop. MTA & NYPD’s current measures aren’t enough– all trains should have an intercom. Other countries’ systems have videofeed AND intercoms.

    also… this part was probably left out cause of length, but MTA is a public-benefit corporation. They need to ensure safety to BENEFIT the PUBLIC.

    But the question that lingers with me is: why so much hate?Why so much hate in such young girls? And why so much much apathy amongst bystanders? Is this OK? I came home and I googled interracial couple harassment– I found several forums where they discussed if as a bystander they would intervene. The responses were honest yet seemed appalling (most of them said no. even if they were of the same race. others said it would depend if the man was colored, or the woman was).

    As bystanders we need to ask ourselves this: Even if defending another against assault is not a legal responsibility, is it a social one? If not to defend, then to educate? I wonder about those 6 girls.

    For sure, we all need to come together and turn the tide of passiveness to actively combat racism in all forms. It doesn’t make it right for ANY race to persecute others for their skin color. All it does it continue a cycle of hatred and violence. I think we have a societal responsibility, even as bystanders, to stand up and say its not OK. No matter if you’re Mexican, Korean, Black, Caucasian, or any other race.

  3. Golden Silence says:

    We have the same problem in DC with obnoxious teens causing trouble like that—starting fights, loud and rude behavior, racism, you name it. They act like that because their parents don’t give a damn to raise them with any morals, values, or common sense. The way I see some of their parents act with them (yelling at them, telling them they’re in the way, or telling them to shut up), I am not surprised they act like that. I’m going to sound cheesy here, but when these kids are growing up surrounded with hate, that’s all they know and that’s how they treat others. When they aren’t raised to value and respect themselves they can’t respect other people.

    I am sorry that all that happened. Those ignorant kids will get their comeuppance one day.

  4. Enna says:

    Racism is bad, I’m a white woman with an African Boyfirend but thankfully we haven’t come across any racism, my firend said he looks like he works out so that could make people think twice. With a previous bf some idiots were being racist and I was more distressed then my bf was. These girls were teenagers? It’s easy to think of things after the event and it can be a trickey one when you are sprung on like that. It sounds like they are jealous to see two people happy and to have something they haven’t.

    I thought next time I’m in that situation I’ll say: “I fell sorry for you that you are so sad, hateful and pathetic you have to try to make happy people sad. You don’t own me because you’re white nad you’re not better then him because he’s got dark skin, he’s better then you because he behaves like a man should. You wonder why I’m with him instead of you? He treats me with love and respect.”

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