• Wed, Jan 29 - 12:30 pm ET

It Happened To Me: I Saw A White Girl On My Train And I’m Suddenly Uncomfortable With It

white girl on train

Ed Note: In case you missed it, xoJane published a deeply misguided story by a white writer regarding her discomfort after seeing a “heavy” black woman in her yoga class.

The subway can be pretty crowded at night, especially coming into Brooklyn from Manhattan. We’re usually packed in like sardines before spilling out onto the platform in little clusters as we head deeper into the bowels of the borough. The scene was no different last Saturday night. After my evening of listening to raucous hip hop at a club, drinking my weight in malt liquor and tagging a few local businesses, I decided to head home. I was on the Brooklyn bound 3 train, ready to tuck into bed after a night of the blackest of black activities, when I saw her step onto the train at the Franklin Ave stop.

Her blonde hair was gathered in a messy bun, her skinny jeans were tucked into knee high rain boots, and she wore a colorful poncho that she either bought at a Bushwick thrift shop or for $200 on Etsy. She was elegantly disheveled, she was a hipster wet dream…she was a white girl.

I tried not to stare as she stepped on the train. White folks are allowed on the subway these days. I just don’t see them in my part of Brooklyn very often, especially going further east into Brooklyn. If I were her, I’d be terrified. There were all manner of black folks and Latinos on this train. She fought off a seat and sandwiched herself between a young black man, who had lust etched in his milk chocolate facade, and an old Latina who was speaking in Spanish to what appeared to be her grandson. But who knows? Maybe he was stolen.

Her sky blue eyes darted around the train compartment, I assume, desperately searching for someone who looked like her. They finally rested on an Orthodox Jewish man who was reading the paper and, somehow he didn’t seem to care about her poor, white girl existence.

A group of black girls cackled in the corner. She bit her thin bottom lip when the man sitting next to her reached in his pocket (was he reaching for a gun or drugs?). The conductor announced that the train was being held momentarily for train traffic ahead of us and I waited for a look of pure terror to cross her beautiful, alabaster face.

That’s when her cerulean orbs fell on my ugly, unremarkable, dirt colored ones. I knew that they were full of fear. What should I do? Should I reach out and say: “I know plenty of white girls! Don’t be scared!” I wracked my brain to think of some Seinfeld quips or my favorite Tina Fey moments, but I came up empty.

The train finally rolled up to the Kingston Avenue station and she dashed out as quickly as her quirky little rain boots would allow. She was gone, in a sea of black and brown bodies, but I could still see—feel—the difference she had made to my train ride. And yet, I had done nothing. NOTHING. To help her. And I had the nerve to call myself a feminist?

I went back to my apartment and collapsed on my bed, my Angela Davis and Waka Flocka posters staring down at me as if they understood the pain that was coursing through my veins. That poor white woman on the train! I can’t believe I went through my whole life without understanding how terrifying us black and brown folks are. How could we be so blind to her plight?

From that moment on I knew that I was going to make a concentrated effort to make white women feel safe in our presence at all times. They don’t deserve this culture of constant fear. Now, whenever I’m around a white woman who’s alone in this big, dark world of ours, I make sure she feels at home. I strike up conversation about things she can relate to, like Carrie Bradshaw quotes and how deceivingly spicy mild salsa can be sometimes. Every little bit helps.

This experience also single handedly stopped my addiction to crack cocaine and out of wedlock pregnancies. #Blessed.

Share This Post:
  • Kaitlin Reilly

    This is amazing.

    “I wracked my brain to think of some Seinfeld quips or my favorite Tina Fey moments, but I came up empty.”

  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    wtf TY for the diet coke out my nose lol4ever like Carrie Bradshaw quotes and how deceivingly spicy mild salsa can be sometimes

  • Anasfreebies

    LOL amazing articile

    “This experience also single handedly stopped my addiction to crack cocaine and out of wedlock pregnancies. #Blessed.”

    • girliepunk74@yahoo.com

      lol damn

    • TheTruthAsIKnowIt

      is what’s between those legs a freebie?

  • elle

    You are a bad person for making me laugh so hard my assistant came to check on me, I’m still crying with laughter …this was amazing and possibly the only good thing to come out of xojanes stupid piece.

    • jack_sprat2

      I found the xojane piece affirmative. It does one good to see the virtues of Marie Antoinette, through the patrician examples of Speaker Pelosi and Gwyneth Paltrow, passed down to the petite bourgeoisie. Here, narcissistic self-regard, informed by a fog of ill-digested ‘Progressive’ notions, tried to pass as so-called ‘white privilege’. Hope this girl’s got a nice trust fund, because her career’s now in a nose-dive.

  • Lindsey Conklin

    OMG. this is freaking hilarious. I can’t wait to read this again and again.

    • AnnaVienna

      Even better on the 3rd read..

  • Julia Sonenshein
    • Terry Teague SF

      This should definitely be a chapter in our Minority Pregnancy Book, Julia

  • CMJ
  • Courtney Talbott

    LOL…Seinfeld quips. Love it!

  • Heather

    This is racist.

  • geijutsuka

    This is the most amazing satire I have ever read. Thank you.

  • Hayley Hoover

    So, so good. You kill it every time.

  • Mandie

    “I wracked my brain to think of some Seinfeld quips or my favorite Tina Fey moments, but I came up empty.”

    Just choked on my sandwich laughing. This is perfect.

    • Euryale

      I just came to the comments to say the same thing. That sentence was inspired.

    • Mel

      Haha, my favorite line! The whole thing was hilarious.

    • DeEnergize

      Aohaahah, too fucking good!

  • jojo

    “But who knows? Maybe he was stolen.” ….lmao

    • AnnaVienna

      Yes, had to sneak off to the Ladies for a sneaky giggle over this.

    • alyse

      Probably was lol or wasn’t an American sitatsin

  • rayrayeeeeee

    Don’t be a cunt. Being anywhere alone at night is scary for any female. Maybe you actually should try to make people feel comfortable instead of being an asshole and making fun of people. Obviously she’s not racist because she was in ‘your part of town’ to begin with. Can you say the same for yourself?

    • Samantha Escobar

      Oh my god, your comment was so fucking stupid, it’s impossible for me to process and respond accordingly.

    • Ashley Reese

      It’s funny to me that you’ve bypassed all of the blatantly racist stereotypes of black people and Latin@s in this satirical piece to, instead, focus on how mean I was to this fictitious white girl. Cool.

    • Jack

      It isn’t blatant stereotypes…it’s true. A review of the statistics, contained in a report, “Crime Enforcement
      Activity in New York City,” shows that minority-group members also
      represent 89% of murder victims — and 86% of murder suspects.

      There are
      similar numbers for felony assaults — 81% of victims are minorities, as
      are 88% of the suspects. Citing an NYPD analysis of stats for the first six months of 2013, 96% of shooting victims are black or Hispanic —
      and in 97% of all shootings, the trigger was pulled by other blacks and
      Hispanics.

    • shesbenevolent

      Wow. You are a terrible person.

    • Mindur Beezwax

      You’re a fuckwit. Shut the hell up! Go take Sociology course so you can actually understand how to apply these statistics. How bout this one: People are more likely to be harmed by someone in their own racial/ethnic group! Duh. It’s who they have the most contact with … the scary Black or Brown boogie man trope is constructed by racist asswipes like YOU to scare whitey back to the suburbs … where they’ll likely be shot to death by some young, white, male whack job who can’t stand Obama! Take a stadium full of seats jackass!

    • average joe

      don’t matter the color of victim,
      these days those triggers are pulled by cops
      sad but true. {police state 2014}

    • lauren

      It appears that she doesn’t realize that this is satirical. Not surprising as it was VERY smoothly written.

    • Rose

      You weren’t mean to her, you were mean to yourself.

    • G.E. Phillips
    • CMJ

      Oh honey. Bless your heart.

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Beff

      Is “she was in your part of town” the new “it’s cool, I have a black friend”? In any case:

    • TwentiSomething Mom

      Being white and alone on the 3 train in Brooklyn is no less scary than being black and overweight in a yoga studio full of white women.

    • Nimue

      The point, you missed it.

    • Kay_Sue

      Yea…

    • Maria Guido

      Oh – this one, too. Stealing this, too.

    • Nerdy Lucy
    • Maria Guido

      haha! I’m stealing this for future use.

    • evr

      lmao y’all are killing me with these gifs

    • Maria Guido

      Um… wow. There is so much stupid here.

    • Sam Inoue

      Honey I don’t think you get it. This may not even be a real story so the person should not be sympathized with. The writer is making fun of that aweful piece some dumb girl wrote about yoga and her fear of the black woman standing nearby. Lots of people are uncomfortable alone on trains, but that’s not the point here.

    • BooHoo

      There, there …

    • The_A

      can’t…. breathe…………his face………

    • quantumff

      Oh sweetie, no.

      You need to read the first bit again. This is not a serious article.

      Your concern is very moving, though perhaps you’d like to direct it to the right people instead?

    • Joe_Elliott

      You’ve heard of satire and you saw the original piece the author is reacting to, right? A little awareness goes a long way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/wearethecypher fyghtorflyght

      Your comment is straight idiotic. “Obviously she’s not racist because she was in ‘your part of town’ to begin with.” Um, what? Girl, bye.

    • fustalker

      Sorry honey, all your comment did was out you as a racist.
      “Obviously she’s not racist because she was in ‘your part of town’ to begin with.”

      Really? LMFAO!

    • zerofucks

      Ummm. Your comments makes me think the racist here is you. Did you not get the premise of the whole article?
      Obviously in “your part of town” ,people don’t have very good reading comprehension.

    • AngelaElainGambrel

      Let me introduce you to the concept of “satire.” It’s supposed to be funny, see?

    • jack_sprat2

      It shouldn’t come as a surprise that some people don’t get satire, inasmuch as millions of men have caught holy hell, when the women in their lives don’t get sarcasm.

  • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Beff
  • TwentiSomething Mom

    I nearly died from laughter

  • Randi

    This is AMAZING!

  • http://www.ohitsjustawful.com/ Alana

    Finally, someone understands my battle with salsa. #cursed

    • alyse

      I’m a white girl. And I love really hot salsa spicy food. Doesnt affect me at al in a nagitive way. I think the whole “white people can’t eat spicy” is a stereotype.

  • hutchie

    This is awesome! Awesome!!

  • K

    This was awesome!!!!

    xoxo,
    A white girl with a sense of humor

  • Julia Fielder

    “…ready to tuck into bed after a night of the blackest of black activities..” ahahahha, best part IMO

  • Mouche Bonneau

    I know this is a bitchin’ smackdown and a snark fest (well done)… but this is also beautifully written. Like poetry. Wow. Probably my favorite thing I’ve ever read on The Gloss.

  • http://benditlikebecker.wordpress.com/ Sarah

    This is….. the greatest thing I’ve read in a few months at least. All the applause GIFs for you!

  • Bria

    So perfect I can’t even deal

  • Day

    This is so awesome! You should’ve made her get off at New Lots Ave lol

  • jontrott

    So the middle-aged white dude thought that was pretty darn funny. Poor lil’ white girl…

  • arrow2010

    So this blog has no devolved into “let’s hate white people” and laugh about it.

    • vexorian

      trololololol

    • Ashley Reese

      Yes.

    • BooHoo

      Aww

    • blackalaureate

      lmao

    • gnasher22

      this nig is chuckling its black bottom off! I’m so happy you could make it laugh and be cheerful! No one likes a sour nig!

    • blackalaureate

      zzzz

    • Gnash

      sleepy time nig!

    • jack_sprat2

      Well, it was a bitch, suffering under the lashes of our Nubian masters, as we built the pyramids of Egypt for them. It’s kind of you to acknowledge the historical injustice of the Anatolian and Balkans slave trades.

    • CMJ
    • Vaso Kay

      Laughing so hard!!!!

  • Daniel

    lol One time I saw this white woman on the A train in Brooklyn who I assumed was traveling seeing as she was on the A train which goes to JFK and she had two suitcases. This poor woman looked utterly terrified hahaha.

  • Pegah S

    For one click a day, you can help sponsor a yuppie. Her white tears
    will be collected in a thimble and sent to you along with pictures of
    her progress. But, you have to act now.

    • Cheri Ann

      Dying!!

  • ursanegro

    this is how i felt back in the day when i lived in dc and there were white people on the orange/blue lines after potomac avenue outside of rush hours or redskins game days [especially when they were still playing at rfk].

    were they lost? were they tourists? why are they still on the train? should i ask them if they need help? i wasn’t used to doing my “non-threatening black man” voice outside of work hours. i couldn’t react properly.

    • maryse89

      haha as a white girl who lives in SE DC and takes the public bus home from school/work every night, i can tell you that two days ago on my bus some man (who happened to be the only other white person on the bus), yelled so that everyone could hear, “i think that little white girl’s lost!” and then came up and asked me if I had missed my stop

      I was a mixture between amused, embarrassed, and uncomfortable (fortunately was getting off at the next stop)

  • jay

    oh man, this was hilarious. thanks for sharing.

  • Chris Watkins

    this is AWESOME!!!! Thanks for this. :)

  • Red Dee Lish

    http://calvincato.com/site/fujane-it-happened-to-me-i-saw-a-white-person-buy-jerk-chicken-and-i-couldnt-handle-it/
    lmao I cant

    I’m sorry, you guys, I just broke down. Jerk chicken restaurants are a safe space for me and they’ve helped me through difficult times like when I skipped lunch and needed to get dinner before running off to do a comedy open mic. Now everything felt deeply suspect. Could I eat chicken again, knowing full well what my ingestion of it can do to the psyches of those poor defenseless white stomachs? I couldn’t believe that this is how it feels to get a glimpse of the spice-shaming that I put white people through on a daily basis.

    • Jenny

      spice-shaming LULZZZ4EVER

    • ladydemeter

      hahahahahahahahahah

  • Chelsea DeLoney

    I can’t handle this I am laughing so hard. The blackest of black activities. Angela Davis and Waka Flocka posters. This is too funny. Perfect response to that piece of crap XOJane article.

  • Joe_Elliott

    This is the best post I have seen on this whole debacle. Thank you.

  • Andrea Hyde

    That was brilliant.

  • http://mindspill.bygbaby.com/ Tafari

    Love everything damn thing about this!!!

  • http://www.kweenskaleidescope.blogspot.com kweenkiwi

    I don’t know if I’m laughing more at the possibly stolen Latino child, the cerulean orbs or the deceptively spicy mild salsa…among so many other things…I live. lol this post is EVERYTHING!!

  • thefluter

    This post is everything! Love love love!

  • The_A

    Just when I thought I’d finished laughing hysterically & gasping for breath, I started reading the comments. Perfection. Bravo!! Thank you Ashley!

  • Q’s One Night Stands

    Brilliant! I pray to God the original author read this.

  • Mar Campos

    <3 this is pefect <3

  • QManchu

    This is fucking great.

  • DD

    Best!

  • AnnaVienna

    Superb.

  • Cecily

    GREAT PIECE!

  • http://www.kazzledazz.com/ Kadia Blagrove

    LMAOOO!!!

  • Vaso Kay

    AHAHAHAH! Damn.

  • Shana Bernache

    I’m late getting here but this made me ridiculously happy.

  • Alicia Moabitess Evans

    lmao…pure awesomeness

  • Jenny Belsito

    Lmaooo perfect

  • Oui Capitan

    HAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHA

  • tensacross

    You captured my fears as a white woman perfectly! :D

  • Peri Lyons

    Ashley Reese…Will you be my forever friend? I thinks I loves you.

  • MaiTime

    True story but in the past a Vera Bradly handbag puts them right at ease. I swear it was like I was a member of the club…Vera Bradley and natural hair!! works like a charm.

  • Raina

    OMG this is brilliant!!

  • Leah

    This is a lovely article. I know how this girl felt as I spent time alone in Indonesia. I often wondered, if I was attacked would anyone stop to help. Flip side of the coin, and I have seen prejudice against my African house mate simply due to the colour of her skin. Government legislation in many countries attempts to enforce equality. But until we, the people break down our prejudice how can change occur?

    • Brandon Joseph Feld

      WTF

    • jack_sprat2

      It’s not bigotry, just scalp burn from the wake of the ideas jetting through flyover country.

  • qued

    Ha, brilliant. Though it really should have ended with the narrator deciding to break down race barriers by… joining a yoga class!

  • PhDiva

    I am a black woman who works in Brooklyn. This was a hilarious response to the stunningly offensive xo article about the white woman who can’t bear to see a white woman in her yoga class. However, the fact is that there are wealthy young white people all over formerly black areas of Brooklyn, gentrifying areas and driving up rents that in turn are driving black people out. Within a few years, those subway trains will be packed with young privileged white people.

    • jack_sprat2

      Perhaps NYC should borrow a few pages from Detroit’s playbook, then. Until recently, there was no shortage of inexpensive housing in Motown. We white folks knew our place, by God, and it wasn’t lightening her soulful haunts and offending her happy faces with our unwelcome presence.

  • Kate Walter

    LOL..very funny

  • Guest

    “I went back to my apartment and collapsed on my bed, my Angela Davis and Waka Flocka posters staring down at me as if they understood the pain that was coursing through my veins.”
    Crying.

  • Rachel

    Ha ha ha – from a white girl!

  • Kate Walter

    this piece is hilarious. I remember one time when this Russian woman came up
    to me on the subway and started speaking Russian and I was like WTF?.
    Then I realized I was the only other white person on the car, so she was
    guessing I might speak her language. I don’t.

  • VaniyIsUnfair

    oh no, white people are scared on public trains!!!??? lets do all we can to make them feel comfortable in this oh so scary dark world of ours. fuck that. if you feel uncomfortable, oh well. it isn’t my job to make your train ride bearable. how do you think we feel in predominantly white spaces?

    • Ashley Reese

      …You realize that I wasn’t being sincere, right?

    • VaniyIsUnfair

      Yes, that was the saddest part of this article. Why do you feel bad?

    • http://SommelierinSneakers.blogspot.com/ SomminSneakers

      I don’t think you know what is going on…

  • Kyle Marissa Brooks

    I died at the Angela Davis and Wacka Flocka posters

  • Boodiba

    Brilliant satire! I swear, reading this & the Gawker spin-off that led me to it has made my Tuesday afternoon “en cubicle” much more hilarious than otherwise.