Where We Are Today
while riding on board a train on the Elevated Line (EL) recently, I noticed a Black couple sitting very close to two elderly Asian men talking to each other in their native tongue. Suddenly, the Black woman who had appeared to be sleeping began screaming at them for disturbing her nap. She bluntly demanded that they return to wherever they had immigrated from to America. It took me a moment to realize that she was complaining about the Asian men, but they didn't understand that she was directing her comments at them. It appeared that the men, like the rest of us, weren't quite sure what had set her off. Quickly, the woman stood up and she appeared to be inebriated. Any rider of public transportation has heard variations of this conversation, which usually last till the next stop when one of the parties exits the train. This time, it was the woman who left, but her presence left a sour taste in my mouth.
It was as if she had unexpectedly become a negative representation of the entire Black community, nothing I wanted to be part of, especially with the divisive atmosphere in this country under Trump. It just adds more fuel to the fire to justify the “America First” rhetoric of some Americans who want to return to the “good old days” of slavery or at the very least, Jim Crow. I got off the EL to continue the next leg of my trip by bus. I was still contemplating the incident on the EL and how the country is battling for its life with the bold exhibition of racism with impunity. I settled in for the bus ride and there were two older Asian women sitting in front of me. Interestingly, they were also having a conversation in their language. It was at that moment two young Black males boarded the bus and one of the Asian women kept saying something to one of them, pointing out of the window.
I couldn't understand what she said, but when one of the young men turned to get off the bus, it became clear that he had left something behind before entering the bus and the woman had reminded him. He was finally able to get off the vehicle to retrieve his item. And that is the America we are really supposed to be; we help one another regardless of race, culture, age, religion or any other thing that some people might try to use to destroy us. We are human beings and we are the ones who will keep America great. This so because we know that our strength lies not in separating us but in joining together to fight the ugliness that is trying to take over our land. We are linking together in every positive way, small or large to move this country forward far away from its regrettable racist past. But in the words of Bette Davis, “Hold on to your hats, we're in for a bumpy ride.”