read N’s account of this morning here.
TW: verbal harassment
New York, sometimes I really think we have it together. We share sidewalks with slow-walking tourists and old folks; we put up with smelly streets in the summer and frigid temperatures in the winter. Sometimes people are randomly so kind in this city. But other times, people can really be the worst.
Nina and I were walking to the train, the same route as usual. In New York, I think everyone expects that there’s some harmony between cars, bikes, pedestrians, taxis, and the various forms of transit available. We all move in our separate ways and try to stay out of each others’ way and generally do an OK job with some tragic and awful exceptions. This morning, though, with some hesitation, a car driven by a middle aged woman lept out into us as we stepped into the street to cross. We were thrown in different directions, Nina on top of the hood, and me in the street beside the car. Thankfully, no one was injured, but the collision was enough to shake us up thoroughly and add a seriously sour note to an otherwise lovely morning.
Fast forward, we boarded a packed A-train at Nostrand Ave to Manhattan. We are both pretty visibly shaken and trying to be attentive to one another. A head rested on a shoulder, a firm hand hold, a kiss on the cheek offered us both reassurance and we finally start to get our bearings back. We remark, “What a great morning.”
We climb to the center of the train car, between a couple people standing in front of the rows of seats. A man in a backwards cap and sunglasses held his space firmly as we tried to claim ours. He wore an undershirt, a backpack, and baggy jeans. He looked weird but not crazy. We continued to replay the events of the morning and offered sympathy to one another, chuckling over Nina’s swift deployment into “defensive boifriend” at the sight of me on the ground.
A couple stops into our trip (approximately between the Hoyt-Schermerhorn and Jay Street/Metrotech stops) the guy with his back to us peered over his shoulder and clearly articulated in our direction, “True love is between a man and a woman.” Nina and I immediately locked eyes and display the same look of shocked frustration. Could this really be happening? We both tried to shake it; it had already been an eventful morning, “I can’t right now, I just can’t,” Nina said. I held her hand tightly and took a deep breath.
The train dips under the water and Nina opens her mouth wide to release the tension on her jaw- undoubtedly not only from the pressure change. I suck my cheek and squint my eyes as I start to feel my anger brew. I just knew it wouldn’t be the end of the interaction.
Not long after, he decided to shift, to move slightly further from us. He moved and sneered, “Faggots!” to which Nina without flinching shouted, “Fuck you!” I think someone chimed in “Fuck you too, sir!” but I couldn’t tell who. He kept going: “Fucking lesbians…” trailing in and out of audibility.
He then stood facing me, in the corresponding spot in the next section on the train. His snide grin, chuckling, and persistent glancing in our direction upset me to no end. I confronted him- “Do you have anything else to say?” and apparently he did. “Don’t be mad I was born a man and you weren’t… Fuckin’ lesbians…If you were a man I’d fuck you up” He kept on ranting, and Nina and I could have no more. We jumped off at Canal Street and switched to the E train.
I could harp on the content of the harassment and flesh out how all his comments suggesting either one of us were jealous of him because he’s a man are entirely fucked up, but right now I’d rather not. As my anger at our harasser subsides, I am just really very sad at the number of bystanders on the train who did absolutely nothing to derail this man’s homophobic tirade or at least to offer us some solidarity. Not even a reassuring glance. I’m disappointed, New York.
My question is, how do we intervene as bystanders? I know I would have offered a reassuring glance had I witnessed someone else being harassed at the very least, if not a “Hey, fuck that guy,” to the recipient. But how do you derail someone who could be volatile in a contained space like public transit? What are the skills we all need to make sure that this kind of harassment gets shut down before it escalates like it did to Nina and I this morning?
And more importantly, why aren’t we learning things like this in schools, community groups, churches, after school programs, and a million other places as young people? For me, learning about this and proliferating that knowledge seems like the most important way I can live my values right now. So no one, Pride weekend or not, has to feel that unsafe and unsupported.
The livestream’s been down, so I have no idea what’s going on. Also… I really don’t want to believe this. I’m sorry, but… source?
This Alert was sent out originally by the Rebuild the Dream Movement.
Dream Partners and Allies…..
Emergency action is needed to prevent the forcible closure of Occupy Wall Street!
The NYPD and Bloomberg have told the protesters that they’ll be cleaning the park tomorrow starting at 7am and that protesters will be allowed to return after that,as long as they follow the “rules”, which include little things like “No tarps or sleeping bags” and “No lying down.” ”Cleaning” is the same pretext they used to shut down Bloombergville a couple months ago.
So, seems likely that this is their attempt to shut down OWS for good. The folks down there are organizing press conferences for today as well as their own major cleaning operations to show that this is unnecessary. We’re organizing allies to start putting pressure on Bloomberg.
Occupy needs the following help:
For allies to send email blasts to membership nationally asking for phone calls to Bloomberg at 212-NEW-YORK (or New Yorkers can call 311) asking him not to interfere with Occupy Wall Street.
Talking points from folks at the occupation:
1) We see this as a pretext to shut the occupation down. Bloombergville - a 2 wk occupation at City Hall earlier this summer - was shut down in the same way, as was the M-15 encampments in Barcelona and Madrid in late Spring. The Brookfield “rules” — no lying down, sleeping bags, tarps — are untenable.
2) We have an OWS Sanitation Operation, we don’t need the city’s crew. We have been self-governing and self-organized and taking care of our space. We already had a big clean-up planned and we’re moving that forward a day - TO TODAY.
3) If Bloomberg really cared about sanitation here he wouldn’t have blocked porto potties and dumpsters. OWS allies have been working to secure these things on our behalf.
4) We won’t allow them to come in. This is an occupation, not a permitted picnic.
Thanks for supporting the occupation!
SIGNAL BOOST. Solidarity!
POC outreach flyers
Kelly Hannah Peterlinz, person holding “Women are the Niggers of the World” sign at SlutWalk NYC
Wait wait wait, so the moral of the story is “I’m sorry but black people are racist too” Apologies: you’re doing it wrong.
Also, let’s talk about how she wants all pictures of her with the sign taken down because they make her cry. White people are really great a erasure.
Hey Kelly, since you obviously won’t listen to reason from POC, how about you hear it from another white woman? YOU NEEDED TO APOLOGIZE, AND YOU DID IT WRONG. Here’s how you should have said it: “The word and its meaning are wrong, and I wish I had understood that sooner, before I offended countless people with my sign and my ignorance. I apologize for the upset and tears it caused you. I have learned from this mistake, and will never repeat it again. I’m sorry.”
Pushing the blame onto POC for having the potential to be racist is the second most idiotic thing you could have done, after your attempt at ‘reclaiming’ one of, if not THE most offensive word in the English language.
One last helpful word of advice from someone who (with embarrassment) shares your skin tone: check your fucking privilege.
I figured I should write down what happened today, before I forget or before too many stories get muddled together.
My friend, my partner, and I arrived at Zucotti Park around 3 for the march, which began quickly, after everyone shared various rules. (No violence, write the…
Please reblog this. People need to know what really happened.
The demonstrators are not criminals.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Everything, but a worse problem lurks in the deception the second intro paragraph holds.
I stand with the protesters. Who do Al Baker and Colin Moynihan stand with?
Quote from CNN.com:
About 400 people were arrested after they failed to comply with police orders to stay on the bridge’s pedestrian walkway, said Paul Browne, deputy commissioner for the New York Police Department.
Failed to comply? That’s interesting, no one else seems to remember it that way.
NYT has reported that the police intentionally misled protesters into the ‘arrest zone’ so that they could haul them off. They would know—one of their reporters was among the arrested, so they no longer need to pander to corporate interests. CNN, on the other hand…
CNN: Corporate Nonsense Network.
Relevant background info: one of their reporters was arrested for being present at the demonstrations today.
There has been another mass arrest of peaceful protesters, this time on the Brooklyn Bridge. The police allowed the march to move onto the road, and then netted them in the middle. Hundreds of people are being arrested, including a reporter from the New York Times and a 13-year-old kid.
Follow the occupation’s twitter tag (@occupywallst) for the latest updates.
Yep. A 13-year-old child. You read that right.