Around 18:20 EDT today, I finished today’s work at our New York office, I was heading east on East 8th Street to a restaurant for dinner. I started overhearing someone ranting something around me but I didn’t pay attention. Suddenly this person passed me from my right, cut in front of me to my left, kept on ranting and used their index finger pointing at me. Again I didn’t pay attention to what they said and I avoided eye contact, with a poker face, and kept walking with same pace. I don’t understand what this person said but I can tell it’s not friendly because I heard “fuck”,”you”,”me” respectively. Soon this person walked to another direction without stopping ranting. I didn’t feel scared any time when and after it happened, because I am confident Manhattan is a safe place. But I don’t know what could have happened to me instead and what I could do if that had happened.
And I am sure I am right to be optimistic, I was welcomed in the restaurant, I had great conversation with restaurant servers, food was great, it warmed me up and healed me. Every person I smiled to afterwards I got a smile back. But still, I didn’t manage to hold my tears on my way back to hotel.
I feel empathetic to people in hardship, I don’t know how can I be more empathetic to this person, and should I be more empathetic. I don’t understand why this person started doing this, I don’t look any special from my appearance, I can imagine people just saw me as an East Asian male, walking alone with poker face, wearing a company hoddie but you can’t tell which company it is unless you watch me really closely, and a stuffed backpack. I also don’t think this would happen a lot, I visited New York a lot of times and it’s the first time I encountered this.
So what do I feel most? I feel very sad. I work in a company whose mission is to make world more open and connected and now I see how hard it is. Lots of problems worldwide, if not all of them, are due to lack of communication, lack of openness. If there is no misunderstanding, no bias, no stereotype, we could have avoided many unnecessary disputes, fights, killings, wars, where we should all be happily living in. But it’s of course impossible for every each other to fully understand each other. So the mission is so hard to achieve, reasonably and ridiculously. I won’t be the last person to feel it.
Thank you for reading this, it’s 19:50, I feel OK now.