Earlier tonight, I took the short train trip from North Hollywood to Hollywood for the ERE meetup.
A few rows’ back from me, a middle-aged Asian woman sat down next to a young man. The train began moving. The young man loudly told her not to touch him, and, still loudly, continued on and on in a sad, horrid, paranoid, anti-immigrant tirade — “you people taking over our country” and that sort of thing.
I think he told her to find a new seat. She wouldn’t.
Meanwhile, a guy in another row yelled something to him about how half the train car was from other countries, and he better watch it.
He didn’t watch it. Instead, he went on about something nonsensical to do with the Supreme Court. The rest of us on the train were nervously discussing what was going on, bonding a bit but unclear on just what to do.
Another young man, a small, African-American man with long braided hair, stood up, walked over to the guy’s seat, stood next to him and the woman next to him he was tormenting, looked the guy in the eye, and asked “Want to do something about it?”
And with that — with “want to do something about it?” — the rant ended. The rest of us all seemed to smile almost simultaneously, collectively. I briefly grasped the woman’s hand on my way out of the car, and my guess (she continued on the train) is that others did too at later stops.
Peter Weddle said toward the end of this podcast that whether we’re Chinese-American or whatever American, we’re all American. It sounds cliche, but on a hot train ride tonight, it felt true.