Downtown C: Canal to Hoyt
I just arrived from my trip from DC. Feeling slightly drained and my only thought is: I want to go home. So I dash to the nearest train stop on Canal. Waiting on the ACE platform towards Brooklyn which feels like forever, I look to my left towards the tunnel if I see any oncoming trains. Then, a gentlemen dressed in the Knicks gear makes eye contact and walks towards me.
He says “Hi” and sees my luggage and assumes I'm traveling to the City. I keep it brief, "No, just got back from DC."
I had my earphones in and my body language conveys I'm uninterested. But he persists sitting next to me and talks about local things and ask me questions. I coldly engage - giving him quick responses.
As we approach Jay-Metro station, I begin to hold my bag tighter, as a sign that I'm getting off soon. He pops out his phone, saying:
We should keep in touch.
Uhhh...I can share my email...?
Email? That sounds fishy.
I don't share my number and I have a boyfriend.
Of course you're going say that. You would say you have a boyfriend if you didn't. It's because of how I look huh? I'm Black.
It has nothing to do with the Blackness of your skin.
I remain calm as he continues to fiddle with his phone. He begins to rant on about how I don't know who he is. He begins to justify himself with his line of work (trainer) and working with high-end clients.
The woman across from me, who is also Black, looks at me with concern and mouths "WTF." We both shake our heads in disbelief - is this really happening right now? We mutually agreed that this man is upset because he got rejected by a stranger on the train.
He raised his voice, "WHY YOU SHAKING YOUR HEAD?!" He keeps uttering, "You don't know me. You don't even know me!"
I just sit there, next to him, looking at the girl across from me, in silence. I didn't want to entertain an insecure grown man who was trying to justify himself to a complete stranger.
By the way, this all happened within one stop....
He continues his outbreak with presumptions about me! He said, "I know your type. This rich Asian Girl. Yeah, I know you. You don't like a Black man like me. You don't know shit about growing up in the Projects!"
Although I am deeply offended about these presumptions about me, I remain silent. Bro, you don't even know me! The train now approaches Hoyt Station and I get off to the platform with the girl sitting across from me. She transfers to the next cart, but before she enters, she asks me if I'm okay.
I think I am okay.
As I let this little episode replay in my head, over and over again, I wonder if it was my fault because of my initial response. Did I enable the situation? Did my feedback imply I wanted to continue the conversation despite my closed body language?
Above all, why do I feel guilty?
The horrific truth is that women are used to this kind of behavior. The issue is - it shouldn't be acceptable. All I have to say about this entire experience is that I have never felt so much hostility in a train ride, ever.
Written by Chary