The encounter, which was partially caught on video, took place while Emily Chen was boarding the New York City subway last weekend, just after Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned coronavirus-related discrimination in the city.
In a video posted on social media, Chen recalled how a man had sat right in front of her despite her social-distancing, only to insult her with racist language.
“I’m still trying to calm down, but wanted to share with you all: please be careful and if you see this happen to someone, please don’t just sit there and do NOTHING! I am so thankful that ONE person spoke up for me. If not, who knows what would have happened. I would have gone HULK on the mta subway!!!!
I sat down on the train, making sure to have a lot social distancing. Trains are pretty empty anyways. Man sits RIGHT IN front of me and tries to get my attention ‘HELLO HELLO, TAKE OFF YOUR HEADPHONES… I say “good morning”.
He says ‘You’re Chinese, why did you bring Corona to America?’
I reply: “I am just trying to get home, just like you… Please leave me alone”… I also knew that I had to get up and walk away because he was blabbering other things that I was not listening to.
He proceeded to follow me but an UPSTANDER came to my rescue and got his attention; told him to stop bothering me and that we are all trying to get home.
This is what I was able to record. Even writing this down makes me really angry and disappointed in the people just sitting there, not doing anything.
Luckily, no one was hurt. This isn’t any time to BLAME others or find some reason to hurt others. Be an upstander.”