Monday, July 31, 2006


This morning I walked out of my house to catch the trolley to West Philadelphia to see a friend preach at a Mennonite church. I turned down Chestnut street. The sun was shining, and I was happy. So I smiled.

I heard a voice yell out, "fucking faggot!". I turned to see who was getting yelled at. On the other side of the sidewalk, a young black man was looking right at me. He repeated, "fucking faggot! what you smiling at?". I then realized he was yelling at me. He ran right at me and stopped a foot away, yelling, "FUCKING FAGGOT WHAT ARE YOU SMILING AT?" Just then, a father and his young son were right next to us, and they broke into a dead run to get away. Everyone on the street was looking at us.

I don't know why I did what I did next. I smiled at him, turned away, and signaled to the crowd that it was all right. Then I walked away. I could hear him behind me, murmuring, "faggot... fuck faggots... smiling mother fucker".

I guess I could have died back there. I'm glad I didn't try to fight him. I wondered how he saw me smiling and concluded, "faggot". And I wonder about what suffering he is in.

As I walked away, a toothless old homeless guy came up to me and signaled that he wanted some money to get something to eat. I smiled at him and said, "I'm sorry. I'm not in the mood to help now."

I'm trying to wrest a lesson for myself out of all of this.

UPDATE: See Hate 2: City Face.

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