New York is not here for your racist shit. We may thank ourselves every day (even when we’re not on the losing end of a nationwide pro-racism and misogyny referendum) that we live in the diverse, tolerant bubble of city life where expending racist energy would get so damn exhausting every time you leave the house. But the pernicious forces of this election are so damn brutal that their hateful fingers have slipped into the bubble, or just picked up the dormant threads of hate that have been here all along.
Hate crimes, including a swastika drawn on a sidewalk in Crown Heights and harassment on the streets and subways, have been reported across the city over the weekend, mirroring the rise in hate crimes nationwide, which is definitely an encouraging sign that the Trump presidency will be an era of sunshine and golden toilets for all. But this is by far the expressions of a small segment of our population, and New Yorkers, who have been sick of homophobia since the 90s and have been done with Islamophobia since 9/11, are reacting to it in very New York ways. Here’s how they’re responding, and what you can do too:
“Get your New York on”
There is perhaps nothing more inspiring in city limits than passengers on a subway car teaming up to take down a threat. This is often reserved for sexual assaulters, screeching preachers or anyone trying to stir up a fight on an otherwise peaceful commute. Now it’s being deployed to bounce a vocal Trump supporter, and anti-semite, from the train:
Get your New York on, everyone. "This is your stop." https://t.co/OwgBZ6ORA8
— Marc Hedlund (@marcprecipice) November 13, 2016
Let’s make the call to “Get your New York on” a battlecry as we stare down hatefulness in our own city, and across the country, in the murky future ahead. The trains are crowded enough already without being full of racists.
Carry extra spray paint:
— Rachel H. Smith (@rachelholliday) November 14, 2016
You’ve always harbored secret ambitions of being a graffiti artist, so here’s a chance to deploy those urges for good. Someone spray painted a swastika (incorrectly, as Rachel Smith from DNAinfo pointed out). Someone responded in turn by spray painting over it, and issuing the warning: “Nazi scum be afraid.” God, all this feels so very ‘80s punk, right? That and the comeback of safety pins mean we could all be growing out mohawks soon and slam dancing our way through the pain.
Become an escort:
— Rachel Bloom (@Racheldoesstuff) November 13, 2016
The above story, from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creator Rachel Bloom, is just one of the examples of the tensions boiling over in this city. Another friend of Indian descent reported being harassed in a bodega, I heard a horrible story about someone being called a sand n-word the other day too.
To help combat this, Kayla Santosuosso of the Arab American Association of New York created a database of people willing to volunteer to escort their neighbors on their commute to avoid any similar harassment. Enter your name into the database here; the outpouring has been strong so far, but if you submit your name, you’ll also be sent other ways you can help if you don’t get tapped to be an escort.
Put em on blast:
— Azi (@Azi) November 14, 2016
The Daily News’ Shaun King is tracking reports of hate crimes since the election. MuslimAdvocates.com suggests reporting hate crimes to the FBI, and includes contact info for the NY offices. The city lets you report discrimination through a web site, part of a campaign that started in September to combat anti-Muslim violence.
Here’s a good guide on what to do if you encounter Islamophobia in public.
Most importantly, whenever you encounter this kind of crap: Speak up, don’t let it become normal, don’t treat it like it’s the state of the world now, get your New York on and throw those people out of the train. The immune system of New York will shake this virus off, if we all stick together.