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Fight On AC Transit Bus Caught On Camera
February 17, 2010 11:46 AM   Subscribe

A racially charged fist fight on an Oakland, CA bus is caught on camera (youtube). The internet is there.

CBS 5 has a good overview of the incident, which occured just before 3 p.m. Monday on Oakland's NL Bus line near the Thomas Berkeley stop.

Since Monday a second video of the incident is released, and then a third, alledgedly of the same older white male tasered by the police at a baseball game. A Facebook page appears, and then a statement from 4chan.org's /b/:
WRITE THE UPLOADER:

SUBJECT LINE: The Man's Bag

Hello,

If you are the woman who took the man's bag in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQJFv9SMSMQ we demand you return it to him.

We do not tolerate racism (from either side) and we ESPECIALLY do not tolerate the people egging it on (which you can observe YOURSELF doing at 1:12 and 1:17)

What the man did was in self-defense, as we can see the black man threw the first punch, therefore justifying the proceeding retaliation. Your claim that you can prosecute him would fall through the court system because of what transpired in the footage.

You yourself will be charged with explicit theft, as there is proof of it at 2:16, and the intent to "rummage" (2:27) through it is an invasion of privacy.

You may try to take the video down, but we have it, and will re-upload it. You may try to omit the footage of your theft, but we have it, and will re-upload it.

We look forward to your response.
In the span of 48 hours, internet sleuths from reddit.com, 4chan.org and other sites identify the camerawoman's name, Myspace.com account, school and address (not reproduced here).

Two hours ago, a video response to /b/ is posted.
posted by 2bucksplus (94 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Man, this is really ugly and the /b/ stamp of approval really doesn't help anything. -- cortex



 
[MANY OF THE VIDEOS ARE NSFW due to violence or language]
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:47 AM on February 17, 2010




I just watched the first video, and clearly this has a lot more to do with that guy's mental illness/PTSD/whatever than it does with racism. IMHO.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:52 AM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


[MANY OF THE VIDEOS ARE NSFW due to violence or language]

These elements typically do not require a NSFW tag on MetaFilter.
posted by hermitosis at 11:52 AM on February 17, 2010


"The white guy was asking the black guy for a shoeshine"

Maybe you didn't hear about it, you've been away a long time. They didn't go up there and tell you. I don't shine shoes anymore.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:54 AM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Almost every single link in this post is b0rked for me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:56 AM on February 17, 2010


Your first youtube link is now unavailable.
posted by spicynuts at 11:57 AM on February 17, 2010


Just another day in the East Bay.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:57 AM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lot of movement on the links, I tried to get the original story and videos where possible. Here is the current CBS 5 update (the original disappeared in the past 5 minutes for some reason):

http://cbslocalblogs.prospero.com/kpix_eyeonblogs?entry=8049
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:59 AM on February 17, 2010


It seems as though the younger man picked a fight with the older man. The older guy tried to defuse the situation by moving away (while still maintaining face by countering the stream of insults).
posted by KokuRyu at 12:00 PM on February 17, 2010


What the man did was in self-defense, as we can see the black man threw the first punch, therefore justifying the proceeding retaliation.

"The white guy was asking the black guy for a shoeshine," said Iyanna Washington who shot the video with a small camera. "And I guess the black guy took it as a racist comment...

Acting in self-defense. I don't know how it works in California, but in Philadelphia a white man asking a black man for a shoeshine on a public bus is throwing the first punch.
posted by three blind mice at 12:01 PM on February 17, 2010 [15 favorites]


This is childish nonsense.
posted by The Potate at 12:01 PM on February 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


I know this whole thing is supposed to be lulzy, I get that, but Jesus every link is just making me more and more sad.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:01 PM on February 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Two hours ago, a video response to /b/ is posted.

Internet mobs give the word "mob" a bad name. Did you know something in your kitchen cupboard can kill you? This and other top stories at 11.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:02 PM on February 17, 2010


SFist has more background on the old white man, Thomas Bruno, in the fight video, and he has a colorful reputation:

[H]e is best known to SFist readers as the guy who was tased during an Oakland A's game last year. Troy Holden of CaliberSF, who captured this image of the man, notes that in 1996, "I was working at the intersection of 2nd & Market. Each and every day the man pictured above would walk by my shop, wave a loaf of sourdough in my face, and scream obscenities about the San Francisco 49'ers."

The unhinged man got into further mischief after the initial fight on the AC Transit, which Washington also managed to film.

posted by KokuRyu at 12:02 PM on February 17, 2010


When I saw this mentioned on MSBNC today I thought the story was that it was faked, what with the guy also being in the tasering video.

If it's not faked I'm not sure why I care.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:02 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just because you're a mentally unhinged racist provocateur who's off his meds doesn't mean you don't deserve to get hit first / arrested.
posted by markkraft at 12:02 PM on February 17, 2010


CBS 5 has a good overview

This is not a good overview. Where's the discussion of "pinky" and the other egging on?
posted by rr at 12:03 PM on February 17, 2010


He could make your shoes look like fucking mirrors.
posted by fixedgear at 12:04 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love you, Oakland.
posted by bradbane at 12:06 PM on February 17, 2010


The additional videos and information show that dude is clearly a shitstarter. I feel bad for the dude who caught a beat down. If he could have seen that the guy was wearing the "i am a motherfucker" shirt (or maybe he did, in the other video) maybe that would have helped. You don't mess with somebody who is begging to be messed with. Who is instigating.
posted by cashman at 12:07 PM on February 17, 2010


...from the makers of "Just because you're a mentally unhinged, loud, drunk, obnoxious ass who's off his meds doesn't mean you don't deserve to be repeatedly tazered / arrested!"
posted by markkraft at 12:07 PM on February 17, 2010


Managed to finally watch the first YouTube video. Don't really know what to say about it, except this is exactly why it's better to defuse a situation than ratchet it up. You never know who is going to be able to kick your ass in two seconds flat.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:07 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


We do not tolerate racism (from either side) and we ESPECIALLY do not tolerate the people egging it on
That's the joke of the week. The whole reason this thing captured the attention of the nihilistic collective id that is /b/ is the race angle. Most of the million different threads that posted about it there yesterday could hardly have been more explicit in their racism. Anyway they seem to have mostly moved on to stalking the bored-looking hipster girl in the video now.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:09 PM on February 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


This could easily be avoided if the left coast just went by NYC rules: whoever is first to the crazy gets the right of way.
posted by any major dude at 12:09 PM on February 17, 2010 [20 favorites]


You never know who is going to be able to kick your ass in two seconds flat.

You do if they leave the front of the bus to racially provoke you, then talk shit on the way back up. Plus when they weigh more than you and are a full head taller than you, and not backing down in the least, plus wearing a "i am a motherfucker" shirt - well I mean shit.
posted by cashman at 12:10 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


in Philadelphia a white man asking a black man for a shoeshine on a public bus is throwing the first punch

Provocation is not a defense for an assault and battery. See also: sticks and stones, [song].
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:10 PM on February 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think this is a pretty good counterpoint to everybody in the Google Buzz thread who said privacy is overrated.
posted by one_bean at 12:14 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


More on the bored-eyed hipster girl.
posted by tmcw at 12:14 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, that bus sure cleared out fast.
posted by smackfu at 12:14 PM on February 17, 2010


That's the joke of the week. The whole reason this thing captured the attention of the nihilistic collective id that is /b/ is the race angle.

Seriously though. I had no idea that so many people thought my hometown was such a shithole just because it has a lot of black people in it. Well, I actually did know that I was just sort of surprised that everyone was cool being so goddamn overt about it.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:15 PM on February 17, 2010


This whole thing is just sad noise but I have to say the woman who shot the video is a fucking virtuoso of the bullshit apology for one so young.
posted by nanojath at 12:15 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


strangely stunted trees: The whole reason this thing captured the attention of the nihilistic collective id that is /b/ is the race angle.

I thought it was because the old dude had a shirt emblazoned with I AM A MOTHERFUCKER on the back.
posted by flatluigi at 12:17 PM on February 17, 2010


I watched these videos last night, and what stood out to me the most is how the person taking the video and her cohort were just laughing the entire time. At both of the parties here. I don't live in the city, and I am always intrigued by public transportation scenarios such as this -- is that normal behavior? Is it so common that people just don't think of the consequences?

To just gawk and laugh while so obviously recording (and constantly making a point of mentioning so) the entire thing.. without thinking for a second that either one of them would come at you out of rage and humility? I was just waiting for the second the camera got slapped out of her hands.
posted by june made him a gemini at 12:17 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you look at the Facebook group made for the bearded guy, it becomes pretty obvious that 99% of the members who are lulzing about their new hero are white.

No, seriously. If you ask a black guy to shine your shoes when he clearly isn't a professional shoe polisher, you're asking for a beating... hopefully even from the rest of the white guys on the bus.
posted by markkraft at 12:18 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't live in the city, and I am always intrigued by public transportation scenarios such as this -- is that normal behavior?

It's normal teenagers-in-groups behavior, not normal transit behavior. Hang out in a movie theater lobby or a mall on a weekend night if you want to see more.
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:19 PM on February 17, 2010


(also, even though both sides of the fight made racist comments to the other, it's worth noting that the video starts with both of them already angry at each other. Angry enough for the woman behind the camera to start filming it, at least.)
posted by flatluigi at 12:19 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


What happened before the shoeshine comments?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:19 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those damn Bay Area peaceniks and their hippy love buses!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:21 PM on February 17, 2010


This is ugly.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:22 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


The whole reason this thing captured the attention of the nihilistic collective id that is /b/ is the race angle.

A critical examination of that aspect of this is worth a thousand YouTube videos.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:22 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


No, seriously. If you ask a black guy to shine your shoes when he clearly isn't a professional shoe polisher, you're asking for a beating... hopefully even from the rest of the white guys on the bus.

This is most likely an ignorant question, but why is asking the younger gentleman for a shoe shine racist? That must be a stereotype I'm unfamiliar with. Is it really offensive enough to justify punching a seated, elderly man?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 12:22 PM on February 17, 2010


I know a gal who married a fellow from Mexico. They were married a year or more, and then broke up, and all of a sudden she started Tweeting stuff that was deragoatory to Mexicans. All Mexicans.

I realized for a lot of people, in order for them to express racism, all they need is to feel they are right, and to feel they are justified. In her case, she felt she was right, because she had been married to a Mexican, and so felt she had the inside dope, somehow. And, because she was angry the marriage didn't work out, she ahd the justification.

I never felt Obama getting elected would lead to some sort of postracial society. Far from it. I've never seen so much blatant racism in this country, and I think it's being egged on, because it's useful. Racists always think they have the inside dope -- I mean, just look at the neighborhoods that black people live in! just look at how many black people commit crime! Look at gangsta rap! Look at bling ! Look at look at look at! -- and, thanks to the heightened racial anger that has been fanned against Obama, they now think they have the justification. Finally, after years of keeping silent, they get to say what they have always known to be true, and if they have to use the n word to make their point, well, they get to use the n word.

The old guy is possibly crazy. But there are a lot of sane people celebrating him as a hero, and there are a lot of sane people using this event to express racial hostility.

And fuck them. It's a fucking tinderbox, and they're lighting matches, because they've given themselves permission to hate.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:23 PM on February 17, 2010 [23 favorites]


Earlier today on CNN they reported that some believe that this was a set-up.

And what's with that first YouTube video being tagged as "comedy?"
posted by ericb at 12:23 PM on February 17, 2010


I understand it's hard to restrain yourself when angry and provoked, but even leaving aside that you can't legally throw a punch at a guy because he said something racist to you there are two possible scenarios for a situation like this:

A) The old guy is mentally ill. In which case you are beating down a mentally ill guy.
B) The old guy is deliberately provoking you. In which case you are almost certainly about to get your ass pummeled.

There is no upside for the angry young man.
posted by Justinian at 12:24 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Next time, I'm gonna f*ck you up!"

510, baby.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:24 PM on February 17, 2010


It's normal teenagers-in-groups behavior, not normal transit behavior. Hang out in a movie theater lobby or a mall on a weekend night if you want to see more.

I can understand that, but it was just two girls, and the one - while at first trying to hide her amusement - was trying to get her to shut it off throughout. I'm just in awe, I guess, at the all-around lack of respect. And then to just sit there after he sat down bleeding all over the place and still laughing.

I guess maybe it's time for me to get a lawn.
posted by june made him a gemini at 12:25 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


And what's with that first YouTube video being tagged as "comedy?"

Comedy = tragedy + time to upload to YouTube
posted by KokuRyu at 12:26 PM on February 17, 2010 [20 favorites]


"I don't live in the city, and I am always intrigued by public transportation scenarios such as this -- is that normal behavior?"

I was across the aisle from a fistfight on a Minneapolis bus in 1997 or 8. I had the window seat and a girl I did not know was next to me. No one was pointing or laughing. Most of us who were seated were covering our heads and some of the guys standing in the aisle pulled them apart. Of course, I doubt any of us were carrying anything that could take video. The combatants were strangers, a teenager who wanted two seats to himself and a guy about 35 years old who sat next to him because the bus was crowded.
posted by soelo at 12:26 PM on February 17, 2010


Don't fuck with Santa.
posted by benzenedream at 12:28 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated by the collective metafilter position that this guy deserved to be assaulted.

Not only is the pre-cursor to the shoe shine comment in doubt, but (a) the guy got up and tried to avoid the situation as one should, (b) did not throw the first punch, (c) there is plenty of explicit racism in that video from the other participants and (d) that's some really weak apology spin from the person who was shouting "Beat his white ass." Put aside that the guy is in his 60s.

Can someone explain how this works?
posted by rr at 12:29 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated by the collective metafilter position that this guy deserved to be assaulted.

Wut
posted by rollbiz at 12:30 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I'm fascinated by the collective metafilter position that this guy deserved to be assaulted. "

Where do you see that in this thread?
posted by soelo at 12:33 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated by the collective metafilter position that this guy deserved to be assaulted.
wtf are you talking about
posted by bam at 12:36 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


We do not tolerate racism (from either side)

From either side? What a fucking weird way to put it.
posted by ODiV at 12:36 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Generally I think it is bad form to comment on a post if you haven't read the links, but there's no fucking way I'm going to click those links, and I still want to come in here to say, I grew up in East Oakland and I live here now, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that 20 years of gutted mental health services, a school system that is so broken that up to half of any given high school class does not graduate, few to no meaningful job opportunities for young poor people, persistent racial segregation of certain key neighborhoods, a long history both of racist police violence and of anti-authoritarian activism, and a larger culture that celebrates violence has created an atmosphere in this city where public cruelty and physical abuse are more or less unchecked. It is terrible and it is tragic and I don't want to watch a video of it in action because I see it in real life and it leaves me feeling hopeless in real life and I can't imagine what value I could get out of seeing it on YouTube.
posted by serazin at 12:36 PM on February 17, 2010 [25 favorites]


Ok, seriously, how did the driver not stop the bus before then? In Canada the driver would've asked them if they both wanted to walk.

Except the driver of this bus.
posted by Beardman at 12:36 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


See also: sticks and stones, [song].

More Bluebook on MetaFilter, please.
posted by cribcage at 12:36 PM on February 17, 2010


I know a gal who married a fellow from Mexico.

You've got yourself the beginnings of a shanty there. Just saying.
posted by Grangousier at 12:37 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


More on the bored-eyed hipster girl.

This is weird.
posted by Think_Long at 12:41 PM on February 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Okay, I just watched the second video, outside the bus. That's crazy even by Oaktown standards.

Honestly though, even though he was talking a whole lot of shit, Taser-bait walked away from the guy in the plaid shirt. The guy in the plaid shirt followed him to the front of the bus and threw the first punch.

It's just afterward that Taser-bait did his crazy dance out on the street screaming "VIETNAM!".
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:43 PM on February 17, 2010


I'm fascinated by the collective metafilter position that this guy deserved to be assaulted.

While I certainly didn't argue that the younger (black) man deserved to be assaulted, I did say that it seemed like the older guy was trying to move away.

After reading more of the links (they were either b0rked or were not up yet when I made my first comment), I sure wish I could retract my first comment.

I'm just not used to the craziness that is public transportation in the USA.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:43 PM on February 17, 2010


Looks to me like the exact same dynamic that made Glenn Danzig look like a chump -- if you want to start a fight, then punch first, don't shove somebody. And if you're not prepared to fight, whatever you do, don't make the argument physical... because once you touch somebody in anger, you have zero control over how they're going to react.
posted by vorfeed at 12:45 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Uh, the younger man was not assaulted; he initiated the attack.
posted by rr at 12:45 PM on February 17, 2010


I'm thinking the black guy was at the back of the bus. The white guy was seated at the front, then comes back there to fuck with the black guy. That's when the video starts. That's why the black guy says "....you better go back up there", and then eventually the white guy goes back up to his seat at the front of the bus, still provoking and talking shit.
posted by cashman at 12:47 PM on February 17, 2010


Ryu, I think rr was referring to the comments of markkraft et al, that putative statements made about shoe shines (?) would have been tantamount to throwing a first punch.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:47 PM on February 17, 2010


I'm fascinated by the collective metafilter position that this guy deserved to be assaulted.

Not only is the pre-cursor to the shoe shine comment in doubt, but (a) the guy got up and tried to avoid the situation as one should, (b) did not throw the first punch, (c) there is plenty of explicit racism in that video from the other participants and (d) that's some really weak apology spin from the person who was shouting "Beat his white ass." Put aside that the guy is in his 60s.

Can someone explain how this works?


I'm sorry. Did you forget your hamburger? Everyone involved was clearly escalating the situation.

FWIW, I would have had the cops on the phone about ten seconds into the first video. I wonder if anyone thought to use their phones to call 911 instead of as camcorders.
posted by The Potate at 12:48 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you throw a punch, don't be surprised when one is thrown back at you. Pretty basic stuff.
posted by Aquaman at 12:49 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


without thinking for a second that either one of them would come at you out of rage and humility?

This. A thousand times. I have never understood this.
posted by grubi at 12:51 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is weird.

Yeah. I think I've finally gotten to that place where I think the whole internet is weird. Time to log off and rent me a bed down at the old folks home.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:51 PM on February 17, 2010


markkraft: If you look at the Facebook group made for the bearded guy, it becomes pretty obvious that 99% of the members who are lulzing about their new hero are white.

No, seriously. If you ask a black guy to shine your shoes when he clearly isn't a professional shoe polisher, you're asking for a beating... hopefully even from the rest of the white guys on the bus.
As Civil Disobedient noted, provocation with words does not justify violence.

Unless your point, markkraft, is that black guys are just so obviously violent and hair-trigger-tempered and unable to control themselves, that really to be safe white people should always be afraid of them, expect to get beat up or assaulted. Heck, to be really safe be sure cross the street to avoid them, refuse to make eye contact with them, sit as far away as possible from them when riding public transportation...

... oh hey, markkraft, turns out there's a Facebook group now just for people like you!
posted by hincandenza at 12:52 PM on February 17, 2010


I'm thinking the black guy was at the back of the bus. The white guy was seated at the front, then comes back there to fuck with the black guy. That's when the video starts.

The video is the epitome of a plate of beans, but the old crazy guy claims the other guy said something to him when he walked past him on the bus, and the other guy concurs (near the start of the first video). Of course, that 2nd video would surely bias anyone's opinion of what happened in the first.

I don't want to see any more of this story (it was all over the news last night), but it seems we don't know what really happened before the first video.

Both parties seem to be highly at fault here. The fact that the old guy likely has PSTD from serving in Vietnam only makes the story more tragic.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:54 PM on February 17, 2010


Attention Non-U.S. Countries:

I am now accepting proposals on moving to your fine country. Please send MeMail outlining your immigration policy and the salient features of your country. English preferred, but not necessary.

Line forms to the left...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:54 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ryu, I think rr was referring to the comments of markkraft et al, that putative statements made about shoe shines (?) would have been tantamount to throwing a first punch.

The more I understand, the less I understand
posted by KokuRyu at 12:55 PM on February 17, 2010


Well, whatever will get people to shut up about the Kevin Smith/Southwest kerfuffle.
posted by grubi at 12:55 PM on February 17, 2010


Ryu, I think rr was referring to the comments of markkraft et al, that putative statements made about shoe shines (?) would have been tantamount to throwing a first punch.

Yeah, I'm still waiting for rr to explain how the collective opinion of Metafilter was that the older dude deserved to be assaulted because, that's kind of a bullshit thing to say, especially if he's not going to back it up.
posted by rollbiz at 12:56 PM on February 17, 2010


I'm thinking the black guy was at the back of the bus. The white guy was seated at the front, then comes back there to fuck with the black guy. That's when the video starts.

Note that the white guy says something like "what'd you just say when you walked by me?" amongst all the shoeshine stuff, further suggesting that this started at the front of the bus. And the black guy responds with "I said, 'why's a fuckin' brother got to spit shine your shoes!'", which makes it seem as if the shoeshine thing had already been brought up before the camera started...? I'm guessing this was Round Two (if not Round Three) of the shit-talking on both sides.

on preview, looks like mrgrimm caught this, too.
posted by vorfeed at 12:57 PM on February 17, 2010


Maybe I'm sexist, but I saw a couple of men being macho idiots, both refusing to back down, while the middle-aged woman in the middle of the bus tried to tell them to chill. Okay, maybe it's not a male thing (I hate when people essentialize women, so I shouldn't essentialize men), but this kind of idiotic "leave me alone or I'll whup your ass" attitude is a part of the masculine culture in many places. I've also seen it among teenage girls, and it's still idiotic.

The white man's shoeshine remark was reprehensible, and lost me any sympathy for him, but had the black man just ignored him or responded as one should in these cases -- with polite distain -- he would have come off looking like the much bigger person. And if the other man threatens you, you go up to the bus driver and tell them that you are being threatened by another passenger.

Yes, I was called a tattle-tale in school -- how did you know?
posted by jb at 1:02 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe nobody has linked to this yet.
posted by nushustu at 1:03 PM on February 17, 2010


I think the reason that people are reacting badly against the white man is that he responded to what was apparently a light cuff with disproportionate force. One punch was enough to stop the other man, but he kept hitting him and he was the one who drew blood. Defending yourself does not give you the right to beat someone up, if they stop hitting you before that.
posted by jb at 1:04 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated by the collective metafilter position that this guy deserved to be assaulted.

Not only is the pre-cursor to the shoe shine comment in doubt, but (a) the guy got up and tried to avoid the situation as one should, (b) did not throw the first punch, (c) there is plenty of explicit racism in that video from the other participants and (d) that's some really weak apology spin from the person who was shouting "Beat his white ass." Put aside that the guy is in his 60s.

Can someone explain how this works?


Um, I'm the one that questioned the "pre-cursor to the shoe shine comment." Guilty. I'd like to know how asking a question is the same as justifying assault? Perhaps you could explain how that works.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:05 PM on February 17, 2010


Yeah, I'm still waiting for rr to explain how the collective opinion of Metafilter was that the older dude deserved to be assaulted because, that's kind of a bullshit thing to say, especially if he's not going to back it up.

Probably not the best choice of words, however...

The story has been making its way around the internet all day; I expected that once it showed up on metafilter the focus of the comments would be (quite unevenly) on the racism angle (focusing strictly on the alleged shoe shine offense and completely ignoring the active racism of the other participants).

This expectation was met immediately in this thread and I was not at all disappointed.

Focusing on one half of the racism in the incident is tantamount to approving the behavior. It is unbelievably racist to take the position that some obnoxious comments between a thug and a psycho should naturally lead the thug to be justified in the commission an assault. It's like, "Oh, he's just an uneducated black guy, how could he control himself when he's being (allegdly, there's no evidence of this) provoked by some old guy who looks like Santa?"

It is fascinating to me that there is such a focus on the fans of the elderly psycho with the assumption that the reason for this is that the fans are racists in some way ("The old guy is possibly crazy. But there are a lot of sane people celebrating him as a hero, and there are a lot of sane people using this event to express racial hostility." and so on) given the vast implicit racism of the posters doing so.
posted by rr at 1:05 PM on February 17, 2010


Yeah, well it's definitely clear that the old dude was seriously trying to start shit. The young dude should have figured that out. Plus even if he had beat the old dude down - what do you think people are going to do after you beat down a 67 year old crazy dude? They're going to look at you like you're a fool.

but had the black man just ignored him or responded as one should in these cases -- with polite disdain

Well there is definitely a history in this country that kind of makes that a little harder. But you have to be tactical and hit hard. Like "Shine your shoes huh? Who is the president?" Then everything the old dude said after that, my response would have been "President". "President of the United States, what." But I understand how it is to get caught up in your emotions. When you have family members who have told you about the times they did have to shine white people's shoes, polite disdain isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But that response never fails to put a smile on my face, and that old dude on the bus can kick and scream and wear all the shirts he wants, but the president, what.
posted by cashman at 1:07 PM on February 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think the reason that people are reacting badly against the white man is that he responded to what was apparently a light cuff with disproportionate force. One punch was enough to stop the other man, but he kept hitting him and he was the one who drew blood. Defending yourself does not give you the right to beat someone up, if they stop hitting you before that.

Are you also one of those insane people who ask why the police had to shoot the guy in the chest instead of shooting the gun out of the assailant's hands?

Let's talk after someone assaults you amongst a crowd that is cheering them on.
posted by rr at 1:07 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Unless your point, markkraft, is that black guys are just so obviously violent and hair-trigger-tempered and unable to control themselves, that really to be safe white people should always be afraid of them, expect to get beat up or assaulted. Heck, to be really safe be sure cross the street to avoid them, refuse to make eye contact with them, sit as far away as possible from them when riding public transportation...

... oh hey, markkraft, turns out there's a Facebook group now just for people like you!
posted by hincandenza at 12:52 PM on February 17


You have been ridiculous lately. What markkraft is saying, accurately, is that when you provoke people, shit happens. And when you provoke men who are about fifteen to thirty, regardless of color, they are far more likely to throw a punch than walk away. Asking a random black guy on the bus to give you a shoeshine is provocation surely as using the word "nigger" is. Now, I don't know who said what to whom and when - the accounts are pretty scattered - but it's clear that both of these people are probably assholes.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:08 PM on February 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


As Civil Disobedient noted, provocation with words does not justify violence.

Unless your point, markkraft, is that black guys are just so obviously violent and hair-trigger-tempered and unable to control themselves, that really to be safe white people should always be afraid of them, expect to get beat up or assaulted.


The fact that a random guy getting into a heated argument with another random guy can often lead to a violent altercation has nothing to do with race. Aggressive verbal confrontations can easily escalate to physical violence, and a lot of people seem to have a line that once crossed will lead them to retaliate physically. People who want to pick fights can use this to their advantage, by hurling verbal abuse at random people who they think they could beat up, and waiting for the inevitable first punch to be thrown.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:10 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


You have been ridiculous lately. What markkraft is saying, accurately, is that when you provoke people, shit happens. And when you provoke men who are about fifteen to thirty,

Don't let me distract you from your "old guy started it" meme and all, but the video makes it pretty clear that the young man is the one who initiated the encounter.
posted by rr at 1:10 PM on February 17, 2010


it's clear that both of these people are probably assholes mentally ill.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:12 PM on February 17, 2010


[this is bad]
posted by shmegegge at 1:12 PM on February 17, 2010


It is unbelievably racist to take the position that some obnoxious comments between a thug and a psycho should naturally lead the thug to be justified in the commission an assault

It's also pretty racist to refer to young black guys as "thugs".

It is fascinating to me that there is such a focus on the fans of the elderly psycho with the assumption that the reason for this is that the fans are racists in some way


What other reason would there be for people to be "fans" of his, exactly?
posted by rollbiz at 1:12 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't let me distract you from your "old guy started it" meme and all, but the video makes it pretty clear that the young man is the one who initiated the encounter.

No, it really isn't.
posted by rollbiz at 1:14 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


There isn't any "justified" to be found here. What this is, is a consensual arrangement. Old white guy wants to get into a fight; younger black guy obliges.
posted by furiousthought at 1:14 PM on February 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


some obnoxious comments between a thug and a psycho

First off, young dude may be sterotypically dressed like the thugs you saw in Boyz N the Hood™ but he is not a thug. Unless your definition is based purely on dress.

when he's being (allegdly, there's no evidence of this) provoked by some old guy

No evidence? Did you watch the same "It doesn't have to be you, it could be a 'Chinaman'" comment in the video I watched, along with the other videos?

but the video makes it pretty clear that the young man is the one who initiated the encounter.

There were multiple encounters. The final (fight) encounter, yes. But the preceding encounters where the old guy came back to where the young guy was - no - the old guy was initiating that.
posted by cashman at 1:15 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, well it's definitely clear that the old dude was seriously trying to start shit.

What happened before the shoe shine comment?

Did the guy get on the bus trying to start shit? Did the other guy say something to him? Did they bump into each other? Did the black guy step on Santa's shoe?

Nothing is clear from the video other than that the situation reached an irrational level.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:16 PM on February 17, 2010


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