Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Trump's Toxic Politics

Another personal story exemplifying the toxic atmosphere Trump’s politics have created in this country – I have received permission to identify this person relaying this story to me. Today, my friend and colleague at CBS, Joanna Fenton, boarded a crowded B train headed towards Brighton Beach, at 7:00 p.m. She sat next to a woman wearing a hijab, as well as a young man. All three have dark skin. The woman with the hijab was sitting in the seat closest to the door of the train.

At Atlantic Avenue, a white man with what seemed to be a Russian accent boarded the train which at this point, as is usual for this time, was very crowded. He elbowed his way to the space where Joanna and her seat-mates were, and shoved his elbow into the head of the woman wearing the hijab.

The woman said to the man, “Your elbow is in my temple”.

The man said “So what?”

Joanna and the young man told the Russian sounding man “Excuse me?"

The Russian sounding man said “Trump was right – you are all animals! You need to go back to where you came from!! No one wants you here!”

The young man tried to get up to confront the Russian sounding man – but Joanna and the woman wearing the hijab held him back, fearful for his safety. Seeing this, the Russian sounding man said “Trump is president, I can do what I want!!” And proceeded to continue to insult them through the train ride. Not one person – on a very crowded train – said anything.

The woman who was wearing the hijab told Joanna that she deals with this type of behavior on a daily basis, and that her sisters have given up wearing their hijabs due to their experiencing continued harassment. She told Joanna that she was born in Brooklyn and is a lifelong New Yorker. All three – Joanna, the young man and the woman are American citizens.

Joanna got off the train at Newkirk Avenue, and the young man moved to sit in-between the Russian sounding man and the woman wearing the hijab as the woman was fearful for her safety.

Joanna called me at 8:15 p.m. tonight her time – 5:15 p.m. my time, and I have never heard her so upset. She was angry, fearful, in tears and told me “I had not thought this would happen to or around me, and also thought that if it did happen, that it wouldn’t hurt as bad as it does. This is America, we are citizens, and – this is New York!! Supposedly one of the most liberal places in America!! I didn’t know it would hurt so much.”

I have relayed this story as Joanna has told it to me. She and I trust each other on a daily basis where team members have to deeply trust and rely on each other to get our jobs done. This is why I am telling you this story – the scariest part for me was not just what happened, but that no one on the train stepped up and came to their defense.

Dr. Martin Luther King said "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy".

Where do we stand at this time of challenge and controversy? Where do you stand?


  1. My husband and I are Los Angeles natives. We have been together 30 years. The last 23 years here in Studio City. Nice blog, added you to my favorites.