on the way back from physio this evening i saw a (white) man with a cane get on the bus. the bus was crowded. he saw me notice him (of course i noticed), and eyed my seat like he wanted it. understandable. and i’d have given it to him, but it is a gloomy fact of my sad-sack post-operative state that i can not stand up on a moving bus without falling down either. a seat came up two rows ahead. he moved towards it but an oblivious (white, able-bodied) woman took it. a (chinese) woman in front of me saw what happened and gave him her seat, which was right in front on mine. he turned around to snarl at me. “f-ing chink,” he said. it was an unpleasant jolt. i could have said something. i should have said something. i didn’t. where do you start? how do you unravel this? was it him, me or the city?


  1. sandy on January 22, 2006 at 2:20 pm

    And did the Chinese woman who kindly surrendered her seat to him hear this? I guess that makes her a ‘nice chink’. God, that makes me so angry. I would have beat him with a crutch, Larissa, if you still had them.

  2. Jill on January 24, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    “…Was it him, me, or the city…” Well, it wasn’t you. And I’ve noticed that racism directed towards Asian/Asian-Heritage folks is much more vocal in Vancouver than in some cities– so does that mean the guy is not to blame? Hardly. But he’s got the implicit support of the culture at large to say racist and rude things. So it’s the city? No– cuz of course Vancouver is also home to a culture of political awareness and action. Bleargh.

    A simple “Fuck you” is probably called for in that situation. Or crutch-beating if possible.

  3. Jill on January 24, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Or, you could say “You’ve just committed a hate crime, and unless you get off the bus immediately, I’m making a citizen’s arrest.”

  4. Andrea on January 25, 2006 at 10:33 am

    Ugh. How ugly and awful. I agree with what Jill and Sandy said.

    This reminds me of a friend of mine who had major surgery on her stomach. For a few months afterward she couldn’t go up and down stairs, and she was often really self conscious about taking the elevator one floor in the Social Sciences tower. To look at her, you wouldn’t know that she was unable to take the stairs. People make such nasty assumptions about others.

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