Public Harassment: I took the online bystander training…

I took the the online bystander training (for anti-Asian harassment) on May 20, 2021. I used something I learned at that training this last weekend in a McDonald where a man was harassing Black women who were cashiers. Here are the details:

I dropped my wife at a McDonald and waited for her in the car in the parking. When she came back to the car with her order, she told me there was a man inside screaming and harassing the cashiers, telling them something to the effect that immigrants work slow (he was impatient to get his order), and that he kept saying bad things about immigrants (my wife is a Chinese immigrant so it felt to me she was an indirect target in there).I decided to walk in and see if I could do something. I quickly recognized the man in question. He was now sitting with his food and continued speaking loud saying things like ”you guys don’t control Montreal.”

He was intimidating. I took a look at him and at the whole place, and saw that no one was doing anything. So I decided to use one of the five interventions we learned at the training: I went to speak to the cashiers. As I called one of them she came to me. I asked her, ”are you ok?” while making a gesture with my hands toward her colleagues also, and added ”my wife was just here and she told me about this man harassing you. Do you need any help?” The cashier smiled to me and said they decided to just completely ignore him, and that they will be ok. I said ok. So I left. But by her smile I felt that she appreciated that someone would come up and ask if they’re ok.

I feel great that I tried something. People should know that small interventions like that can help to mitigate the negative impact of having been harassed that victims feel.