A man launched into a xenophobic, racist rant on a Manhattan-bound Q train Tuesday afternoon, threatening a fellow rider to "get the f--k out my country before I murder your whole f--king nation." The man, whose name was not immediately confirmed, also made racist comments, yelling about "your f--king Chinese eyes."
The incident took place on a Manhattan-bound Q train shortly after 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday August 8th, between Avenue U and Kings Highway in Gravesend, according to the victim, a 21-year-old Brooklyn woman. She spoke with Gothamist Friday on the condition of anonymity.
"I myself am a little bit of an anxious person and I was getting weird vibes from him," she recalled. "He wasn't giving me a dirty look per se, but he was staring."
"I asked him politely, 'Can you please stop staring at me you are making me uncomfortable,'" she added. "He didn't immediately start screaming but his look turned sour. Then he got off the train and started asking the surrounding people if I had a right to tell him to stop staring, and said I had less of a right because I was Asian."
The man got back on the train and, "it escalated to the video," she added.
The woman, who is not Asian, said she recorded the encounter and had a friend post it on Facebook in hopes of shedding light on anti-Asian racism. "I think they are a minority group that is being targeted as much as other groups," she said. "It was really scary and I just hope that people are cautious."
In the video below, she tells the man repeatedly that she is white.
"Are you calling me Chinese?" she says. "I'm not Chinese! I'm not Chinese! This is my country too. I'm white."
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" the man says, speaking over her. "Your fucking Chinese eyes. Look at your fucking eyes! Motherfucker get the fuck out my country before I murder your whole fucking nation, motherfucker."
"Record this, motherfucker," he continues. "You know this is my country, right? You in my fucking property. You are my property. I have the right to murder your whole fucking [inaudible]. Your whole nation, I don't give a fuck. You are my property, motherfucker."
The woman did not file a police report because, she said, "I've heard of the police not taking cases seriously." She added that the man did not physically assault her, though he did "jump at me" before she exited the train at Kings Highway. After she stopped recording, the woman added, the man continued to yell and she told him repeatedly to "shut up."
"Nobody on the train really spoke up," she added.
A spokesman for the NYC Human Rights Commission told Gothamist that victims of harassment can file complaints with the CCHR hotline, at 718-722-3131, though people who are in immediate danger should call 911.
"Discriminatory harassment is illegal in New York City under the NYC Human Rights Law," spokesman Seth Hoy stated. "No one deserves to be threatened or attacked because of who they are, what they look like, or what language they speak."
Reports of discriminatory harassment, which entails either physical force or a threat of force, surged 480 percent in 2016, according to CCHR. There were 203 reports in 2016, compared to 35 in 2015.
According to police statistics, hate crimes in New York City leapt 106 percent this past March, compared to the same time last year. Of 128 reported hate crimes in March 2017, three were directed at Asian New Yorkers.
Anti-Defamation League Policy Director Etzion Neuer told Gothamist earlier this year that his organization saw a spike in reports of hate incidents after the 2016 presidential election. He speculated that increased media coverage might be a factor in the increase.
We've reached out to the Asian American Defense and Education Fund and the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence for comment and will update accordingly.
[Update 2:30 p.m.]: "To those who think they can get away with threatening New Yorkers because of their ethnicity, gender or religion, I have one message: this City was built by immigrants and has no tolerance for bigotry and racism," said Manhattan City Council Member Margaret Chin. "I send my solidarity to fellow Asian Americans and other immigrant communities who feel targeted, and I hope this misguided person gets caught and is held accountable for his actions."