Monday, March 29, 2010

I Met a Bigot Today

Copying and pasting from the story I told some close friends immediately after the incident:

So I'm at the Panera Bread in San Francisco, between meetings and trying to catch up on other work. Amidst everything I'm doing, I'm on the phone discussing the recent comments by the San Francisco police chief regarding the threat posed by members of the Middle Easter community. Part of the conversation is a discussion about the word "terrorism." I said something to the effect of "terrorism is a loaded word," and a man in a booth near me stands up and looks at me. He sneared as he said, "no it's not" and walks away for a drink refill (or something).

After completing my conversation I was torn about what to do. Should I let him be? Should I try to engage him.

I was having an interesting day, so I decided on engaging him. I grabbed one of my CAIR business cards and headed to his table. It took me a few seconds to get his attention. When he looked up, his expression was hateful. He said, "I'm listening to Michael Savage, you need to leave." Undaunted I explained that I just wanted to give him my business card in case he wanted to have a future discussion. His response, "I don't want that. Don't leave that here."

I left the business card on the table nonetheless, and walked away.

The most unfortunate, and striking part of the interaction was the hateful way in which he looked at me. Call me crazy, but I've heard of people who look at other people hatefully simply because they exist as "different" people. I had never seen it first hand though.

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