When people don’t understand something, they usually react with hatred. It’s the easiest emotion to follow and doesn’t always have to have a reason before turning into something horrible. When people spout hatred and intolerance, they usually cover it with a blanket phrase like, “it’s my opinion.”
When an opinion crosses the line, however, it’s up to the people around to say something – especially when someone else is being harassed. In this case, the onlookers did not stop to defend the person being attacked…but after reflecting on the incident for a few days, one woman decided that she could no longer stay silent about what she witnessed.
I was at the pharmacy on Friday evening when that man started screaming some of the most sexist, racist, hateful words I’ve ever heard. In the moment I froze and immediately welled up with tears and sadness for you. You were so brave for responding to him and defending yourself so eloquently. I wanted to let you know how sorry I am that you had to experience such a traumatic event, and let you know that I’m thinking of you. I hope you never have to experience anything like that again in your life. I’m thankful for you, for the wonderful work you do, and for inspiring me to find strength during these times of unrest in our world.”
Although the woman wasn’t able to step up and defend the woman being verbally abused, she was able to recognize that she should have. She was able to recognize that no one deserves to be treated in that way, and that she admired the girl’s calm in the face of blind hatred. The woman may not be able to step up in the future, but her letter may inspire others to do so in her place.
Sometimes, that is the best that we can hope for.
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