Friday, November 29, 2013

Saturday Night, I Stood Up Against Racism.

After my last post, I decided I had enough.


It was about 2:30am, technically Sunday early morning, when I sat down on a bench of exhausted men waiting for the subway train for who knows how long. There was an older, thin-framed Chinese man on my left and, similarly, an older, thin-framed black man on my right. The local train arrived and the Chinese man got up. We smiled at each other as I moved out of the way for him. I opened up my Christian inspired novel, Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller. I was a little annoyed already about something else and as I read the small typed words, my nose started to run again.

I began to sniff a lot. Next to me, the thin-framed Black man, who had curled himself up attempting to sleep, said something in the likes of an agitated, "Get away from me!" It was rude, but I assumed he was referring to my cold until he accused, "Are you Chinese?" 

I decided to ignore him and kept my book up. He repeated his previous statement with a sharper bite. "Go away!"

I paused, but then I turned my head slowly to the right, looking directly into his eyes. "Excuse me?" I asked strongly.

"You're Chinese. I don't want you near me. Go away!" He snapped back.

I leaned in closer to him giving crazy eyes with my green snake-like contacts. With greater force, I repeated, "EXCUSE ME?" He shrunk into his jacket. One last time, I commanded, "EXCUSE ME?" 

He tried to ignore me and closed his eyes as if he was falling asleep. I stared him down for a solid 20 seconds before I turned back to my book: I wasn't going to get up for him. If he had a problem with the slant of my eyes, he could sit somewhere else. I didn't have a problem with him. I wasn't going to move.

I tried, however, to let the anger dissipate. I attempted to read the chapter on God's glory, but I was still fuming. My thumb, from lack of sleep or just pure adrenalin as my heart beat like a drum, began to twitch as I held my book. The pages shook up and down spastically. Initially, I tried to prevent it, cover it up, but then I accepted it's intimidation. I took deep breaths. 

Feeling as if I should be guilty, I asked God to give me His love for this man. Let me love him. I tried to empathize. I thought about the feud between Asian and Black people. It's something I don't understand, but it is a common trend: If you don't believe me, just watch Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing. Perhaps it's the history of Asians coming into Black neighborhoods, starting businesses, and taking customers away by their very presence. I don't know why he had a particular hate against Chinese people. Maybe there have been some Chinese people who have had done terrible things to him. I don't know. But either way, I sat there in my black coat and maroon, woven, pom pom hat reading a book with the sniffles having never owned a business. I was not a threat. 

As I asked God to give me love and forgiveness, I thought about God's enemies. Not to say this man was God's enemy (I have no idea his relationship with God - and if he has one, he is my brother), but I realized that racism is hating a person, purely because of their ethnicity. Whether or not a Black person can be racist by power definition is debatable when involving other minorities, a person can re-enact racism. Racism is sinful. Racism is evil.

I had rebuked him. My actions did not necessarily lack Christian love. Those fears showed no support via prayer. I would rebuke my Christian brother for infidelity as I had rebuked this man for prejudice. I had no regrets. I may have put myself in danger, but I was so angry, I would have taken a punch. Bruises don't scare me. You can't treat people like they will take your crap. It's just not Okay. 

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