So it finally happened. I was physically accosted & had a racially-motivated comment thrown at me by a Trump supporter while walking down the street.
In Manhattan. On the Upper East Side.
This biker-looking white male in his 40's shoved me as I walked down the street, slapping my phone out of my hands. When I say shove, think about a hockey player getting checked. He laid the full force of his body into me, and kept right on walking. I turned around and yelled “WHAT THE FUCK, MAN” to which he promptly threw over his shoulder “Yeah well, FUCK YOUR PEOPLE.”
Now if you haven’t seen me in a while, I’ve got quite a beard going on. Infer what you may about who he thought “My People” are, but either way, it doesn’t matter. Whether he thought I was Jewish or Muslim or a dirty hippy or a defenseless snowflake with my head buried in my phone, he was on a mission to make himself feel powerful by trying to instigate violence.
I planted my feet and yelled something intentionally offensive & demeaning back at him, mentioning Trump, of course. He turned around and took a step toward me before I jutted my chin out at him in defiance, tacitly begging him to test my mettle. He turned around in a huff and walked away.
Now let me tell you about “My People”. My People pride themselves on inclusion. On learning and on growth. On exalting each other, on understanding those not like them and on the belief that we should all be equality regardless of sex, race, religion, gender identification & sexual preference.
My People are not liberal and they are not conservative. They are not just white and they are not just brown.
But they ARE special snowflakes. They’re unique and they are different and they are diverse. They have a strict moral compass, unfaltering compassion, and genuine love for mankind. They see beyond the walls that others decide to put between them, and find the common thread that unites them.
My People want peace. And they want it now.
In that moment, I was taken aback — but I was not scared. Looking back at it, I recognize how important it is to stand up to bullies, more so if you have the privilege to do so. There’s many people out there that might not feel safe enough to speak up for themselves.
There’s many out there who are experiencing far worse — and they need our help. Some of them are what he thinks are just my people (Jews in St. Louis & Philadelphia, most recently.) Some are My People like the Indian men in Kansas. Some are My People like the Muslim community in Quebec.
So now, I implore you. Take off your headphones while you walk down the street. Keep an eye out as you take the subway to work. Stand up to bullies that want to intimidate & hurt Our People.
Because when Our People stand together in pursuit of equality & justice, hatred simply does not stand a fucking chance.