A few weeks ago I had an awful experience with a black guy while commuting to work in the morning, and I wonder if I’m the only one who takes my point of view on this. A guy who seemed to be a street merchant stepped onto the train car that I was riding in, pushing a huge bundle covered in a blanket. After he settled into his seat, he called out to me from across the aisle.
“Good morning, miss!”
I ignored him. I didn’t want to buy anything and I didn’t know him, so I ignored him.
“Hello. I said hello!” He persisted in trying to strike up a conversation with me, but when he realized that I wasn’t going to respond at all, he became belligerent and bitter. He started to loudly berate me for not talking to him, even as I quietly stuck in my iPod ear buds and opened a newspaper. After a while his insults subsided, but not until he carried on and on, causing people to turn and look and forcing me to glare at the newsprint in front. I wasn’t going to change cars, respond to him, or do anything else to validate his ridiculous behavior. I would stand my ground and let this clown know that his behavior was totally unacceptable and that he would not, try as he might, get a response.
At length, he spat out: “Fine then! I take my good morning back!” I wanted to tell that moron that nobody wanted his raggedy good morning in the first place.
I don’t know how anyone else feels about this, but I don’t think I’m obligated to answer to every Hakeem and Tyrone – or any strange man, for that matter — who bellows at me from across the street, down the block or across the aisle of a train. It’s slack. It’s coarse and it’s not the kind of behavior that I or any other woman, should have to tolerate in public. So what if you actually needed to speak to me? What would be the big deal of approaching me in a civil way and saying: “excuse me?”
The fact that he was a street merchant didn’t bother me at all. I’m all for people making an honest living.
It also burns me up that I’ve never noticed any of these Tyrones become openly aggressive and nasty toward white women, at least not to the same degree that they’ve ripped into me. Let me be clear: I don’t want any woman to be harassed in public, and I’m sure that in other parts of America and worldwide, women of all races and nationalities get their fair share of crap from out-of-order men. But why is it that in the New York/New Jersey area, only the “brothers” take that kind of liberty with black women? Further, why do they reserve their loudest and most public insults for us? Are they kept in check by the fear retribution should they offend a white woman, but not if they are profane and belligerant with a black woman? If that’s the case, then American society needs some major pruning.
I also wonder: Do Hispanic or Asian women get similar dressing downs from their men? Even if that were the case, it would be unacceptable.
Now, before anyone is tempted to think I’m being overly harsh on black men, just know that I won’t hedge my comments by saying that there are good black men milling around in public. Of course I know that! I’ve had plenty of brief and pleasant chats with black men who looked decent and have approached me accordingly. If they politely hold a door open for me or offer me a seat on the train, I accept politely and we each get on with our day. Anyway, how stupid would it be to write a post complaining about respectable black men?!
Obviously, I have a problem with the guys out there who act like idiots, and those people are the focus of this post. I want to hear what you all think. Am I asking too much here? Shouldn’t the Tyrones of the world get some damned social skills so that women will feel at ease while riding the trains, walking the sidewalk or what have you?