Thursday, June 17, 2004

Slightly Racist?

Please people tell this white man what is up. As a Puerto Rican woman I would be slammed to saying how fearful I am at the St. Patrick's day parade because if the tons of drunk white men. Or how about my fear everyday of the police, of being raped, etc.

Hmm maybe a boycott of Metro? A protest in from of it's offices? Definitely a write in campaign, at least.


The Ugly Truth of the Puerto Rican Day Parade
By Will Johnson
Metro, June 16, 2004

When I heard that, once again, apartments and businesses were
boarding up in preparation for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade
(as if it were a literal Caribbean hurricane) I, like any fair
person, was offended. Most of us NewYorkers, myself included, are
wise and experienced enough to know that, like every ethnic group, 99
percent of Puerto Ricans are quite all right; good people;
hardworking people; people who just want to go out and have a good
time without being insulted by the plywood covered windows and
mosquito netted shrubbery of Upper East Side rich folk.

My own curiosity piqued by the news, I decided to—for the first time
ever—check out, for myself, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.

So, after spending several hours in the blazing heat and suffering a
horrible sunburn, did I feel that the Upper East Siders were in
anyway justified in shoring up and barricading their property? In a
word, yes.

It pains me to tell the truth, but the truth is that I found the
entire event to be way too rowdy and way too menacing.

I know that, as a white man, my use of the word "menacing" could be
construed as slightly racist, but what other word would do after my
own witnessing of so much misogyny? Many of the women at the parade
were—in front of my very eyes—videotaped, photographed, ogled,
harassed, groped, cajoled and verbally assaulted. If a female at the
parade so much as rebuffed a young man's crude "romantic overtures,'
she was typically battered with a standard line such as: "Well f-k
you, bitch! You ain't sh*t anyway!" I heard "Well f*ck you, bitch!
You ain't sh*t anywayl" or its equivalent at least 15 times
throughout the course of the parade. The words "bitch" and "ho" by
themselves were so frequently used, I had no chance of keeping count.
Isn't that kind of abuse a little bit too much for our mothers,
daughters, sisters, wives and girlfriends? Why weren't more men at
the parade standing up for their women?

In addition to the rowdy abuse of the women present, there were drugs
everywhere; at every corner, on every block. Marijuana was being
smoked openly in front of small children and even in the presence of
police officers. (I even witnessed a very pregnant young woman
smoking a blunt in front of a policeman.)

So, my question is: What does a rich, slightly prejudiced Upper East
Sider think when he or she looks out his or her window and observes
open drug use and women being assaulted? If I (like many East Siders)
wasn't exposed enough to the real world to know that even the "bad
apples" of a minority group are usually harmless, I would be quite
perturbed by such a scene of misogynistic decadence and would, I'm
quite sure, go to some little trouble to secure my windows and

No one reacts in a vacuum.

What does a rich, slightly prejudiced Upper East Sider think when he
or she looks out his or her window and observes open drug use and
women being assaulted?

Will Johnson is a Bronx based freelance journalist and commentator.

Metro has no official opinions. Views are the author's own. Please
send 500-word submissions to


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure this warrants as big an outcry as you think though. It's a real piece. In an opinion piece. I understand that there is a need to, a. show the "terrorism" of the police, and b. show that their is a similarly violent and rowdy crowd at the St. Paddie's Day parade. But this was a white dude who went to see the parade and felt compelled to write about it. I mean, I think white people who try to write about white people and analyze their actions, are people that can be easily swayed to the Dark Side of the Force, oh wait, you're not a Star Wars chick at all, yeah, watch Star Wars...

The real beef should be if Metro doesn't want to publish YOUR story about the St. Paddie's Day Parade. I mean, you writing about your "... fear everyday of the police, of being raped, etc." Sounds like Dubya and Rummy talking about our "everyday fear of terrorism" and thus the need for shit like the Patriot Act. I would love to read what you have to say about being in the crowds in the nitty and gritty of the parade. Or get the hottest girl you know to walk around in daisy dukes, and watch her, observe her... (I'll watch her too!)

White people are scared too. They just seem to make their fear recognized. Why is that?


6/18/2004 10:37:00 AM  

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