When Is It OK To Ignore A Hate Crime Happening In Public?


When video of a trans woman being verbally and physically attacked by a stranger on a crowded New York subway train during rush hour hit the internet this week, reactions were mixed.

Some people were critical of the dozens of bystanders who sat just inches away from the unprovoked assault and did nothing. Others felt they were in their right to ignore the hate crime playing out right before their eyes.

Related: Video Captures Trans Woman Being Physically Assaulted On NYC Subway While Bystanders Do Nothing

“What were the other people on the train supposed to do?” one Queerty commenter asked. “They were all minding their business so they can go home to their families when they get off the train.”

“I think most NY’ers consider it personal policy to not get involved in anything that doesn’t personally involve them,” another person said. “I’m just glad the victim is physically OK.”

“I wouldn’t intervene, especially if I don’t know what’s going on,” a third person wrote. “It could be the continuation of something personal between them, for all I know.”

Related: Snickering Bystanders Do Nothing To Stop Violent Antigay Hate Crime Caught On Tape

Which begs the question: When is it OK to turn a blind eye to someone, particularly someone from a marginalized community, being violently attacked? Is the “This is New York” excuse an acceptable response, or is it just a way for people to shuck responsibility?

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