Public transportation is, for so many reasons, is a breeding ground for racist attacks.
Unfortunately, we’re all aware that at any second on the train, some ignorant fool is ready to pop off. Even a place as progressive as Portland.
This Saturday, while riding the Portland MAX train, three brothers confronted a white man shouting racial slurs at a black woman. As told to The Oregonian, Emilio Herrera, 21, and his brothers Romeo, 18, and Pablo, 17, confronted the man by filming him to defuse the attack.
“That man was just yelling at this woman, yelling the n-word, kind of being belligerent,” Emilio said. “No one deserves to be called anything like that […] We told him to stop.”
Noticing the brothers were filming him, the man yelled “Film me, n*gger” before trying to push the phone out of their hands. He continued yelling at the three to remove the footage before pushing them.
A spokesperson for TriMet told The Oregonian the agency is “disturbed” and “in this type of situation, it’s appropriate for riders to contact the operator and request police to respond or call 9-1-1 directly.”
The brothers were reluctant to call authorities, explaining,
“I watch the news,” Emilio said. “We’re three young brown kids, so I didn’t know how that would turn out.”
After the footage surfaced online, the woman who the man originally attacked, Nitasha Sweaney, 27, told the magazine that the guy got angered after asking for 75 cents and flipped them off.
“I asked him ‘please sit down. please just sit back down,'” Sweaney wrote in an email. “He did not listen and came about a foot away from us and was yelling racial slurs and cussing in our face. At this point the only thing I could do was hold my daughter tightly and cover her ears.”