A Latina recently shut down one woman’s xenophobic rant on the New York City subway and schooled her on the importance of solidarity.
Tracey Tong, a self-described Chinese and Peruvian woman, defended two passengers on the E train from another woman’s verbal attacks in a viral video. The altercation was posted on YouTube by Mañanero TV earlier this month, but started going viral after Mic and other pages recently posted it on Facebook.
At the beginning of the video, the aggressor is heard asking a man, “Why are you here? Why are you in this country if you’re not with us?” His response is barely audible. Another woman also chimes in, asking her to stop with a slight accent. The woman ranting responds angrily, “No, you don’t understand. You’re not even from here.”
That’s when Tong steps in and asks the woman ranting where she’s from. When the woman responds that she’s Puerto Rican, Tong begins to try to talk some sense into her in Spanish.
“I think you’re being unfair, we have to be united,” Tong tells the woman. “This is absolutely ridiculous and disrespectful.”
The two go back and forth as the woman inaudibly says why she’s upset. Near the end of the video, Tong asks if she’s upset because another woman, who is off-camera, is with a man that “looks Indian/Muslim.” The woman responds, “Yes.”
Tong explained to Univision that the Puerto Rican woman began harassing another woman who “looked Muslim” and an Indian man that were sitting together. The woman, Tong said, had a small briefcase with her and the Puerto Rican woman raised her voice and began asking her what was in it.
“I didn’t even think about it, I gave her two minutes to calm down and she didn’t do it,” Tong told the Spanish-language news outlet.
Tong is seen passionately defending the two passengers in the video.
“I’m not telling you to be quiet, I’m asking you to please respect her in Spanish, in English, in Chinese, in French ― whatever language you want me to tell you in. I will say it to you,” Tong says in English while raising her voice. “Whether you’re born here, Puerto Rico or wherever you are from. Because I am born here and I don’t like the way you’re treating her. It’s rude. We’re here in it together, OK? We’re all in this together, whether we like what’s going on in the government or not. F**k it, we have to deal with it. You’re a grown woman, you suck it up and you defend your brothers and sisters because that’s what you are. If you’re a part of this country, you’re brothers and sisters.”
Watch the video of the altercation above.
This article has been updated with information from Tong’s interview with Univision.