We recently received a somewhat disturbing email from a reader. Local Greenpointer, Sabrina Stein, was walking home on Calyer Street last week in the late afternoon with her headphones on, when something out of the ordinary happened.
Here is her story:
I saw an old lady walking towards me who seemed to be speaking and appeared a bit distraught. I turned off my music thinking maybe she was lost and needed directions. As I walked closer to her, I heard that she was yelling at me: “YOU ARE BROWN, GET OUT OF THIS NEIGHBORHOOD, YOU HAVE BROWN EYES AND BROWN SKIN, YOU ARE HISPANIC, WE DONT WANT YOU HERE.
I have to say, I was in complete shock. I told her that she should take her racism back to wherever she came from because this is NY and that kind of hate is not welcome and then I walked away.
I am indeed Hispanic, I was born and raised in Uruguay and have been living in the United States for 14 years. I went to high school in Miami, University and Graduate School in Orlando, and have been living in New York for a year and a half and this is the first time since I moved to the US that I have experienced racism directly. I love Greenpoint and I think it is the best neighborhood in New York and I am sure horrible people like this are everywhere, I just hate that this encounter happened to me in Greenpoint.
As many of you know, Greenpoint does have a small Neo Nazi community, but we doubt this woman was in any way connected to an actual organization.
Sabrina’s experience just goes to show that although this city can seem like a culturally diverse, accepting, and liberal place, especially when compared to other cities in the US, strong, ingrained racist attitudes do exist and overt racism does happen here. America is still a deeply racist country and although vast strides have been made, we’re a long way from eliminating these attitudes.
Is Greenpoint any more or less racist than the rest of New York City?
Feel free to share your support and/or your own experiences here.
And although this app is designed for gender harassment specifically, it can’t hurt to report these incidents.