Wednesday, July 13, 2011

100% WBW

by Ida

The other day while I was riding the subway there was a White man harassing a naturalized Latino immigrant on the other end of the car. The two men were in the middle of very loud and angry argument, which made me feel increasingly anxious since I have also been harassed on the subway.

I have no idea how the argument started or why the White man picked this particular passenger on a car with several other immigrant people of color. But it was obvious that he was targeting this man because he was an immigrant of color with a strong foreign accent. It's possible that the White man may have mistaken the Latino immigrant for an Arab American, given what I was overhearing.

The White man was yelling at the Latino immigrant, shouting variation on a theme: "You're not an American." "Go back where you belong." "Go back to your own country." With each attack the Latino immigrant held his ground shouting back in response: "I am an American." "This is my country." "I belong here." Intermixed with these remarks, the men called each other "assholes" and told the other to "fuck off." Eventually the White man left and the Latino man seemed to gain some support from a few Spanish-speaking passengers.

This interaction, in a different context, could have easily taken place between a trans womon and a cis womon separatist. In this context, the trans womon would be in the role of the immigrant, and the cis womon would be in the role of the nativist xenophobe.