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Racial tensions?

Oxford
7 posts
1 review
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Racial tensions?

I'm sure this will be removed for being somehow inappropriate, but on my first ever day in NY on my honeymoon I experienced two instances of 'racial tension' - I wonder if this is usual, or if we were 'picked on' because we looked like tourists.

The first was when a guy was trying to sell CDs. I said 'no thankyou' and he asked my husband whether I said that because we hated black people, he said it was nothing to do with that. The guy proceeded to shout in the street telling everyone we'd said we hated black people (totally untrue, half my friends are of different ethnicities, but I don't even think about it -- they're just them, plus I'm an anthropologist!!)

Another guy was trying to sell entry for a comedy club. Again I said no thankyou and he said 'well there will be loads of white people there'.

I ended up really upset.... did we just have bad luck. We were in the area around Times Sq.

Sarah

Queens, New York
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6,176 posts
25 reviews
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1. Re: Racial tensions?

I guess so. Some people are just rude.If you bought the Cd they would have been sweet as pie.It happens to everyone sometimes, it is not just tourists.l would not let it ruin your trip.

best wishes!

West Palm Beach...
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11,328 posts
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2. Re: Racial tensions?

That's very strange and very isolated, at least in my experience. I was born and raised here, and can't recall ever feeling racial tension at any time.

Doesn't sound like you're enjoying your stay here, I feel terrible. Hope you have some good experiences along the way.

Oxford
7 posts
1 review
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3. Re: Racial tensions?

With hindsight I think we were just a bit unlucky... and stood out (I'm about 6 foot and blonde and we were wearing summery clothes as we'd been to Antigua before and totally underestimated how cold NY was going to be)!

My husband studied in the US and has visited NY 6/7 times and has never experienced the like. I guess I just wanted to vent off (and for someone outside the situation to reassure me it was just unfortunate).

I loved so many things and I don't want to sound like I had a horrible time - had some great shopping, went to a new Indian place (Devi?) for dinner which was fab, to see Frost Nixon, the Met, Lower Eastside Tenament Museum, the Folk Art Museum (great exhibition of Martin Ramirez paintings, he'd been interred in a mental hospital in the 50s but loved the way this didn't define him in the exhibition), to the Algonquin for cocktails, stayed at the Waldorf Astoria which was lovely, ate at a really basic (looking) veggie dim sum place in Chinatown (food awesome) and a lovely vegan restaurant and a number of 'fun' places.....

I guess my hope is I get this out of my system (I found myself telling my Mum about it when I called earlier, and I'd like to focus on the good things instead!

Thanks

:)

Sarah xx

New York City
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17,258 posts
3 reviews
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4. Re: Racial tensions?

Here is a question -- did you stop to look at the CD's, or to examine the flyers the tout had? Or were these peole who approached you?

If they were people who approached you, the proper thing to do if you do not want to have any transaction with them is to act as if they are not there at all. Even if they address you, you do not make eye contact or indicate in any way that you heard them speak, and you just continue past them. You will then be taken for someone who lives here, rather than a tourist, and you will be left alone.

Oxford
7 posts
1 review
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5. Re: Racial tensions?

He approached us, we were on our way to the cinema.... I learnt quickly not to bother responding...!

Sarahxx

Peterhead, United...
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338 posts
39 reviews
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6. Re: Racial tensions?

Sarah

We are just back from an Easter break and bizzarrely we had a similar experience. We were headng towards the B & H store on 34th street when for no apparent reason, this big guy started shouting at me calling me " White trash! White trash!"

I was utterly bemused but my wife was very nervous so told me just to keep walking and not look back. I was only too happy to comply as he was a really big guy!

Oh and yes he was darker skinned than me, but to be honest I don't think that had anything to do with it at all - you get nutters all over the world who will try to provoke you and this is regardless of what make up they or you are.

I must state that regardless of this minor incident which happened on our very last day, we had a spectacular time and everyone was really helpful especially the Grayline ticket sellers who were happy to give us directions.

I actually felt safer on the streets of NYC than I do in my own home town in the north east of Scotland, pop. approx. 16,000.

New York be very proud of yourselves - you are one big multi-cultural society and you are all far more tolerant with each other than other far smaller cities.

(Trip Report to follow)

Argassi1

Queens, New York
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25,046 posts
12 reviews
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7. Re: Racial tensions?

IMHO, street vendors, salespeople and beggars/panhandlers who are rejected by a potential customer often go for the jugular to retaliate and humiliate.

Maybe it's the tough dog-eat-dog life they lead, but, I've been hissed at, called names etc, by street vendors and - of all people - craft people at street fairs when I've shown interest and then decided not to buy anything.

It's amazing how, when I was a potential buyer, I was "Ma'am" and "Sweetheart", but, seconds later when I was walking away empty handed, I suddenly became a "fat a$$ed, cheap btch, etc, etc, etc..." (Hmmm, having a hard day, honey?)

P.S. Sorry to say, but, as a native NYCer, I have, indeed seen and experienced racism and racial tension, but these incidents sounds like intimidation and below-the-belt anger.

Portland, Oregon
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for Portland
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5,597 posts
145 reviews
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8. Re: Racial tensions?

My only racial experience in Manhattan was some guy who asked me for money as I was eating at a restaurant in SoHo. When I declined he informed me he was a black man and I owed him the money. I acknowledged that I recognized that he was black and did not give him money. He went away and I went away. That was it.

Brooklyn, New York
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6,527 posts
24 reviews
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9. Re: Racial tensions?

In a extremely diverse city of 8 million it would be naive to think that from time to time there are not "racial tensions" (like last week on the "F' train to Brooklyn when I saw a Latina woman tell an Asian woman that if "you touch me again I'm going to cut you bit*h.")

And, we have more than our fair share of crazy people who live and/or work on the street.

You may have simply run into crazy people with huge attitudinal behavioral problems ;-)

NYC
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3,422 posts
7 reviews
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10. Re: Racial tensions?

I once had a anti-gay slur thrown at me from that group of black guys who sometimes gather on 34th and preech some cult-like religious rhetoric. They're usually in gowns and other ridiculous faux religious looking garb, so without missing a beat, I quickly fired back.."well..sweetie..I'm not the one in the dress..now am I..?"

Don't know if they are still around..haven't seen them in years..thankfully.