Insult to Injury (SOLSC 15)

Really? Was I really just on the train next to a man who called me Mr. My President’s name in an effort to insult me? This after making hog-calling noises and chanting “la fea” (ugly woman) at me for five straight minutes. When none of that had any effect, he moved on to, “Another dirty Obama.”


I’m just tired, people. To the marrow of my bones. Tired.

And, too, there is the stupidity:  he really thinks comparing me to a well-educated, intelligent, powerful person is an effective slur? Please. Whether he thought he was comparing me to Mr. or Mrs., he needs to develop his understanding of the concept of insults.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe being well-educated, intelligent, and powerful are three things to which he doesn’t aspire. In that case, his slur was right on target.

But the Obama business aside, what was any of that about? What about me made him need to do any of what he did? Yes, my size makes the hog-calling an easy default position … you know, for a jerk. And, if he doesn’t like big women (or brown women?), then I would certainly be ugly in his eyes. But really, is he traveling the city hog-calling and “la-fea-ing” brown-skinned women of size from one borough to the next? That seems like an invitation to get smacked around a good deal.

I know, it’s the Ides of March and all, and I should clearly have been on my guard. I also know that his ugliness is his way of telling me about himself and has nothing to do with me. Still. I am just brain-freezingly tired.  I am … but then I feel guilty because I’m too over this crap to engage.   “Another dirty Obama?” Is this who we are?

And I’m always and always asking that question, aren’t I?  I really debated with myself about posting this story.  Every time I write about something like this, people express shock that such a thing could happen to me.  And that’s okay.  Obviously, I’m shocked, too.  But this isn’t just happening to me.  It’s happening to people of color everywhere.  And I don’t know what to do with my shock, or yours, or anyone else’s.

And this, of course, is the real problem with my comic: there is too much material, and the volume is ever increasing.

michelle-obama-vogue-april-2013I’m saying. Punto.


Find the rest of today’s slices at Two Writing Teachers.



18 thoughts on “Insult to Injury (SOLSC 15)

  1. I’m sorry that happened to you. I want to hurt that man. And I don’t know you or him, but it just makes me really mad. I hope something really great happens to you tomorrow, in fact, I’m counting on it.


      1. I thought of you tonight when I read this in proverbs. “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)
        You showed your patience and wisdom and it was to your glory not to engage with him in responding to his vicious attacks. By not engaging, you showed great strength and power to all those who are insulted whether it’s race, weight or belief system. I can’t really explain it but I sense despite your weariness, it was a position of power I thought that this insight might encourage you and lift you up..


    1. Yes, the lack of a filter is something I’ve noticed, too. What do you think that’s about? I don’t get it … but it makes me wonder about my own filters and how much they’ve been stripped away without my noticing.


  2. Paul

    Wow. Just, wow. I always appreciate your writing’s bravery and openness; here, it unfortunately has to deal with hurtfulness and ignorance. Stay strong.


    1. Thanks, Paul. Writing it out always helps. I didn’t want to talk to that man — and he couldn’t have heard me anyway, so trying would have been wasted energy — but using this space to say what I was thinking definitely helped.


  3. This is one of those posts that’s hard to respond to except to say my bud, that we are a in this together. What that idiot says to you he says to all of us. I’m getting ready to join my good friend in Finland soon. What she’s feeling there is a sense of social responsibility to the common good. I wonder if this incident happens there’s, of course that country is more homogeneous.
    One thing’s for sure, Obama, even though he bombed on education is our President and he won with ease.


    1. The population in Finland may be homogeneous, but we do always seem able to find ways to “other” people and set ourselves apart. In Finland it may not be about race, ethnicity or size, but I, too, am curious to know what kinds of incidents happen there.


  4. What an idiot. I think the election and the rise of the Tea Party/birther crowd seemed to have become tacit permission for idiots like these to be open about their racism. What stuns me is that no one around you said anything. I thought we had come further than this.


    1. Thanks, Tara. I agree with your take on where the rise in blatantly racist and disrespectful behavior is coming from. In defense of the other people on the subway with me: there weren’t many of them, and most were sitting far enough away that they wouldn’t have heard him. He wasn’t loud, just focused on me. There were two adolescent boys sitting near me. They were maybe 13 or 14, and they definitely heard his hog-calling … but I don’t think they knew that’s what he was doing. I think they thought he was just a random crazy person making strange noises. I’m pretty sure they didn’t hear the rest.


  5. i just want to beat that man to a bloody pulp, or have someone do it. What a stupid creep he is. Maybe we should make up signs that say “You are a disgrace to humanity” and flash them at such assholes as we get off the train. I was thinking of a sticker (like the old “this ad insults women” stickers we used to put on subway ads back in the early ’70s), but then you’d have to touch them.


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