The Fairy Princess is having media overload – the rest of the country is suffering from it as well. There have been countless examples of inequality based on skin tone, which have been met with many articles, forums, news conferences, and marches.
All of this discussion is good. Even when it is uncomfortable. Even when the facts are hideous to face, it is good to have to talk about them. It is good to look underneath our society at the ‘mold’ that grows insidiously while unchecked.
However, all of it is having a toll – 0n everyone. On the men whose lives have been cut short and then dishonored by the lack of justice, on their grieving families, and on the population of our country.
The Fairy Princess blogs consistently on the issue of representation, and what it means for the world.
Entertainment is sometimes the first place that people who live in a homogeneous area get to see people who look different. It may be the first place that they ‘fall in love’ with a character who would walk a different path than they do, and it may help bridge that gap between ‘them’ and ‘us’.
The reason to need more diversity on television and on stage and on film is to share the thought that #alllivesmatter by showing us windows into people who may not look like us, but who share humanity as we all do.
The Fairy Princess wanted to share a story that happened to her – it is a personal story – but it has been on her mind over and over again, in the last few weeks, because it is a story of ‘us’, and she likes to think it shows the possibility of humanity.
Two and a half years ago, in late May, The Fairy Princess was exceptionally pregnant. She was ‘due’ at any minute, and thus, her husband decided to take her to see a Broadway show. We saw “Once”, with the original company, it was in previews at the time, and it was absolutely fabulous.
The Fairy Princess and her husband boarded a commuter train and they sat in the end seat. The end seats are for groups, so they have front and rear facing seats for conversation. Late evening trains are not generally crowded, so using TFP’s big preggers belly as a plus one, we were three in the seats.
The Fairy Princess‘s husband is a six foot tall Korean American who holds a black belt with multiple stripes in Tae Kwon Do and who used to play football in high school. (This becomes relevant later).
Two Caucasian individuals, male and female, entered the train and sat directly facing us. They were inebriated. They were in their 20’s. The female was definitely worse for the drink, and was muttering under her breath while staring directly at TFP’s and her husband.
She muttered things about ‘those people‘ and ‘stealing our jobs‘, and such, and TFP suggested to her husband that we move seats, because…well….
And if one is about to give birth, one really does not ‘have time for that’.
However, TFP’s husband has this stubborn streak, and he knew that when this couple entered the car, he was already seated, so they had no idea that he, if he rose, would actually tower over them by a few inches, and of course…if one holds a black belt, one takes very little notice of drunk people. Also, he has this sense of humor that is not easily defined, and he said “I want to see how this goes”.
TFP kind of hates when his sense of humor makes her sit opposite people who are drunken muttering, but when one is pregnant, it is kind of daunting to get up and down out of seats, so she thought….
The rest of the passengers boarded and the train pulled out.
Now, this train was, obviously, in New York, and was coming from New York City. New York City is, de facto, a diverse place – people of all colors, genders, and sexual preferences. The average New Yorker walking around or taking the subway sees so much diversity, that no one seems to blink an eye at sharing space with someone who does not resemble them exactly.
Except this drunk young woman.
Who loudly started to proclaim whilst staring at TFP‘s husband that he ‘should go back where he came from” (That would be Virginia, my dear), and that he and his kind ‘came over here to take our f**king jobs” (Actually, as we do not recognize you and he works in the Performing Arts, rest assured, your job is safe from him, good lady), and TFP was getting ready to say something. TFP was “getting her Irish up‘, as they say in her family, and it was not going to be pretty. (Plus, let’s been honest, she had just seen “Once’, so her “Irish” was pretty close to the forefront of her being that night)
However, another voice spoke up.
A gentleman from the seat across from us, also looking directly at this young woman’s face. He said “You should shut your mouth.” To which, of course, she responded. He said “You should shut your mouth. You have no idea where they came from, and you have no idea if they took your job or not, you are just being racist.”
He continued with some other pointed barbs – not using profanity – and as TFP looked over, she did think that perhaps he was one of her ‘tribe’, but some Eurasians are hard to pin down, but TFP knew one thing – he was one of her “Menz”.
The person sticking up for her husband, was Gay. He was a Gay man who saw, to him, what appeared to be a drunk Caucasian insulting an Asian man (he didn’t know about TFP’s husband’s sense of humor), and he said something.
At this point, the argument was getting loud, but everyone remained seated.
Until the drunk girl’s companion called that lovely man seated opposite us, “a Faggot“.
Which was NOT ok.
He also stood, this drunk man and threatened him with physical harm.
Which was when The Fairy Princess grabbed her giant belly and jumped in the aisle and told him to ‘sit the f*ck down”.
Then this drunk Caucasian man started yelling about Unions and jobs and all, and this was his giant mistake (other than being an admirer of this female he was traveling with), because if you have read this blog before, then you may know that TFP’s relative, Mike Quill, started the TWU (The Transit Workers Union).
TFP gave this drunk man a giant lecture on what Unions are supposed to stand for, and that he would not even have a Union except for her relation, and furthermore, non-discrimination on the basis of race or sexual preference is a tenant of Union by-laws!
The Fairy Princess knows a lot about Unions.
Upon which, this drunk man threatened to come over and punch her.
Whereupon, TFP told him that she would knock him into next week if he came anywhere near and gestured to her husband to stand.
However her husband had a big smile on his face, and pointed behind TFP and she glanced behind her where, unbeknownst to her, a GIANT African American Man was standing behind her, backing her up. He gave her the ‘go ahead‘ nod, so she knew it was going to be ok.
TFP looked, and half the car of passengers, who had been watching to see what was going to happen, many of whom were people of color, stood up.
They stood up, and they told this guy to sit down.
At which point there was a lot of yelling, and then the Conductor came through the car.
The Conductor was Caucasian.
He wanted to know what was going on.
The Conductor looked around, asked a few questions, and then told these two drunks who were harassing everyone to get off his train, and as we were pulling into a stop (which was nowhere near where they wanted to go), he threw them off, telling them to sober up, mind their manners, and learn how to behave because that stuff that they were doing was not going to fly on his train.
Upon which, the car burst into spontaneous applause, and The Conductor took a bow.
Then we all had a good laugh, and it turned out that one of the women in the car’s hair was all messed up because she had been to a club dancing, and the fellow who first responded to these people was a stylist and he offered to fix it for her if she came into his salon in the morning. She made an appointment with him immediately.
Everyone started laughing and chatting.
It turned out the reason he had said something was because his Mom was Hawaiian Japanese and his Dad was Caucasian, and he had seen people talk badly to his Mother when he was a kid, and he could not do anything about it. However now, he speaks up all the time, because he is an adult.
That is what happened that day on the train – we, the adults, all stood for one another.
We all had eachother’s back.
We united against something that on the surface seems trivial, but pulled back and exposed seems ugly and sordid.
TFP asked her husband later, why he did not jump up earlier, and he told her “You didn’t need me, you didn’t see it, but everyone was there for you. You didn’t even look around to see, but they all had your back, so I just watched the show.”
TFP may have mentioned that she does not always appreciate her husband’s humor.
He did follow with “I would have jumped up and clocked him if I had to, but you know if I hit someone…they are not getting up.”
Which, upon reflection, it was probably for the best that he had not had to get up.
The Fairy Princess was feeling media exhausted this morning, because she read about another school shooting. The Fairy Princess read about rape, and incest, and sexism, and political badgering, and environmental destruction, and captive orcas and deaths caused by lack of empathy for people whose skin color is different, and that was all before 9 A.M.
She was very, very sad.
But then she remembered this story, and she felt slightly better. She remembered that nod from that guy, that ‘go ahead, I’m here” nod that said she would be ok no matter what happened – and that, my friends, gives her hope.
Sometimes that is what you have to cling to, to get through the day.
Let’s all work towards that, shall we?