Being A Jerk On A Train Is White Entitlement And Racist Or Something

Leave it to one of the nuts at Salon, in this case Brittney Cooper, to equate someone simply being a jerk to someone who is also being an inattentive jerk

Listen when I talk to you!”: How white entitlement marred my trip to a Ferguson teach-in
A nightmarish train ride reminds me why too many white people don’t get how short black America’s fuse is right now

“Nightmarish”! It probably won’t surprise you that Ms. Cooper “teaches Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers”.

On Friday, I was on the train to New York to do a teach-in on Ferguson at NYU. Beats headphones on, lost in thought, peering out the window, I suddenly saw a white hand shoving my work carry-on toward me. Startled, I looked up to see the hand belonged to a white guy, who was haphazardly handling my open bag, with my laptop perched just inside to make space for himself on the seat next to me.

That he wanted the seat on the now full train was not the problem. That he assumed the prerogative to place his hands on my bag, grab it, shove it at me, all while my computer was unsecured and peaking out, infuriated me. I said to him, “Never put your hands on my property.”

His reply: “Well, you should listen when I talk to you.” That line there, the command that when he, whoever he was, spoke, I should automatically listen encapsulates the breadth of the battle against racism we have to fight in this country.

Buoyed by his own entitlement, his own sense of white male somebodiness, this passenger never even considered that he might simply try harder to get my attention before putting his hands on my stuff. His own need to control space, his own sense of entitlement to move anything in his way even if it held something of value to another person, his belief that he had the right to do whatever he needed to do to make the environment conform to his will are all hallmarks of white privilege.

There’s actually a couple things that could have happened here. First, he could have briefly tried to get her attention, she did not respond, so he moved her stuff. Second, he could have tried hard to get her attention, she didn’t respond, he moved her stuff. Third, he may not have even bothered, and moved her stuff. It was rather a jerk move, however, it was also a jerk move on her part to be taking up the extra space. This had nothing to do with “white male somebodiness” nor entitlement nor racism. It was just an encounter where people are being jerks. Ever had someone cut you off in traffic? Ever have somebody race you to a seat on a train? People jumping up on the airplane? People can be rude, inconsiderate, think only of themselves. Welcome to Life, honey. You were inconsiderate for taking up the seat.

If he was a racist, would he want to sit next to a Black woman?

Anyhow, the lesson here is not to assign wrong motives when being a jerk is the most simple explanation.

BTW, remember that little story Michelle Obama told the other day about her raaaaacist treatment at Target? Her tune was different while on Letterman. The sister of the lady Michelle called a racist is outraged.

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11 Responses to “Being A Jerk On A Train Is White Entitlement And Racist Or Something”

  1. david7134 says:

    My reading would say that the black woman is the racist. That has been my experience for the last 50 years, being that the great, I mean great, majority of racism is black against just about everybody.

  2. Kevin says:

    “I suddenly saw a white hand shoving my work carry-on toward me. Startled, I looked up to see the hand belonged to a white guy…”

    Imagine if it wasn’t attached to a white guy, or anything else. Now THAT would have made an interesting story.

  3. Bob says:

    “… too many white people don’t get how short black America’s fuse is right now.”

    Ms. Cooper has no clue.

    What she does not comprehend is how short white America’s fuse is…. and getting shorter. People everywhere are fed up with this savage lawlessness.

    Another Ferguson – or two – with all the rioting and looting and the lid just might blow clean off.

  4. Jeffery says:

    the great, I mean great, majority of racism is black against just about everybody.

    What she does not comprehend is how short white America’s fuse is…. and getting shorter. People everywhere are fed up with this savage lawlessness.

    Yes, the poor, oppressed white man.

  5. WhoHasMyChange says:

    all while my computer was unsecured and peaking out,

    “peeking”. She teaches, but can’t spell correctly or proofread for an obvious error like that? Tends to diminish any credibility she might have had.

  6. John says:

    Nutpicking again Teach ?
    Teach why not post about how we are now in the post racist period
    I mean just look!! We finally righted that wrong done in 1944 for the execution of that 14 year old boy in South Carolina who was executed 81 days after being accused of killing 2 little white girls
    Or post about the Ferguson marchers who were met by counter protesters with watermelon fried chicken and Confederate flags
    Or post about how the membership of the Klan is once again increasing, perhaps because of uppity blacks like that one on the train
    Maybe time to over rule Plessy and make them ride separately but equally?

  7. Casey says:

    Teh Stupid is strong with that one.

  8. jay says:

    It’s amusing to speculate on how the story might have gone if their roles were reversed. “I got on the train. It was very crowded and there was this white guy taking up two seats — he was sitting in one and he had his bag in the other. I asked him politely if he would move his bag so I could sit down, but he just ignored me and continued sitting there, staring out the window, listening to something on his head phones.” And of course the story could then have had almost exactly the same ending. “Buoyed by his own entitlement, his own sense of white male somebodiness, this passenger never even considered that he has no right to take two seats, and that he should listen when someone politely asks him to move his bag. His own need to control space, his own sense of entitlement to take up as much space as he feels like taking, his belief that he had the right to do whatever he needed to do to make the environment conform to his will are all hallmarks of white privilege.”

    Moral: No matter what happens in a human interaction, people can always find a way to say that everything is the other person’s fault. And if you’re someone who’s looking for proof that others are racist or sexist or homophobic or whatever aggressor group you want to put them in, you can easily construct a narrative that puts them in the box you want.

  9. Jeffery says:

    It’s amusing to speculate on how the story might have gone if their roles were reversed.

    Not exactly the same outcome. A Black man touching a white woman’s belongings would be in jail or beaten to death, and commenters and conservabloggers would bleat that the savage animal had it coming.

  10. jl says:

    “I suddenly saw a white hand…” How “racist” to just notice the color of the skin.

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