Intra-Class Hostility in the New Barbarism

The sun had just set and I was walking home, through Brooklyn. My arms were full, as I was carrying a large bag of groceries in front of me. Approaching an intersection, two teen-aged Latino males appeared, walking toward me. As we passed one another, the teenager closest to me swung his open hand at my face. I weaved away, avoiding the strike (something I haven’t had to do since I was in high school, when Reagan was president).

Stopping, and turning, I called the kid a punk, or something equivalent – a reaction that caused the two to stop as well. Each in his own way told me to fuck myself.

“You know,” I said, as we stood there, across the street from a bagel shop, confronting one another, “what you did is illegal. It’s called menacing.” (The common law crime – intentionally making another apprehensive of an imminent battery – is assault, but in New York it’s known as menacing.) “And you could get arrested for that.”

“Oh yeah?” he replied, “that’s funny, because my name is Menacing.”

“Really?” I asked, incredulously.

“Yeah, because you’re a Trump supporter,” he said.

“What?” I replied, wondering whether I looked like a Trump supporter to him (though, as Don King and Kanye West demonstrate, anyone can look like a Trump supporter), or whether ‘Menacing’ was just screwing with me.

“Trump wants to kick out all the Mexicans,” he continued, as his sidekick sidled up to me in a fighting stance. “He says there are too many Mexicans.”

Moving out of Menacing’s sidekick’s reach, I took a step back.

“Why you stepping back?” the sidekick asked.

“Why are you standing like that?” I replied.

“Trump wants to kick out all the Mexicans,” Menacing repeated.

“I’m Jewish,” I responded, “the Trump people want to get rid of me, too. And I fucking hate Trump. I can show you articles I’ve written explaining why I hate him, if you want to see them.”

“You’re Jewish?” the sidekick asked. “The Jews are all going to go to Staten Island.”

“What do you mean? They’re going to turn Staten Island into a giant concentration camp?”

“No,” he rejoined, “all the Jews are moving there because it’s too expensive. The rent’s too high.”

“Well, I haven’t heard anything about that,” I said, thinking that he must be referring to the ultra-orthodox Jews who live in the neighborhood, who tend to be poor. “But listen,” I continued, “I hate Trump, too. We’re on the same side in this. We shouldn’t be fighting each other. We should be talking about all of this.”

“No, we’re not gonna fight you,” ‘Menacing’ rejoined. Then he called me something that I couldn’t quite make out. It sounded like he said: “you’re a coaster guy.”

“What?” I asked. “A coaster guy?”

“Yeah,” that’s right. “You a coaster guy.”

“What’s that?” I replied. “I don’t know what that means.”

“That means you like to suck dick, faggot. Fucking Trump supporter. Come on,” he said, turning to his sidekick, “let’s leave this dick-sucking Trump supporter alone.”

“Fuck you,” I called out to them, impotently, as they walked off laughing. “You’re a couple of fucking punks.”

More articles by:

Peter Berllios is a Brooklyn based writer and artist. He can be reached at peterberllios@yahoo.com and on Twitter @PeterBerllios

January 27, 2020
Elliot Sperber
Sunset’s Soon
Weekend Edition
January 24, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
A Letter From Iowa
Jim Kavanagh
Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Camp by the Lake
Chuck Churchill
The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?
Robert Hunziker
A Climate Time Bomb With Trump’s Name Inscribed
Andrew Levine
Trump: The King
Jess Franklin
Globalizing the War on Indigenous People: Bolsonaro and Modi
James Graham
From Paris, With Tear Gas…
Rob Urie
Why the Primaries Matter
Dan Bacher
Will the Extinction of Delta Smelt Be Governor Gavin Newsom’s Environmental Legacy?
Ramzy Baroud
In the Name of “Israel’s Security”: Retreating US Gives Israel Billions More in Military Funding
Vijay Prashad
What the Right Wing in Latin America Means by Democracy Is Violence
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden’s Shameful Foreign Policy Record Extends Well Beyond Iraq
Louis Proyect
Isabel dos Santos and Africa’s Lumpen-Bourgeoisie
Nick Pemberton
AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Promtheus’ Fire: Climate Change in the Time of Willful Ignorance
Linn Washington Jr.
Waiting for Justice in New Jersey
Ralph Nader
Pelosi’s Choice: Enough for Trump’s Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Don’t Kill 72 Grizzly Bears So Cattle Can Graze on Public Lands
Joseph Natoli
Who’s Speaking?
Kavaljit Singh
The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic
Cesar Chelala
The Coronavirus Serious Public Health Threat in China
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Must Remain Vigilant and on Guard Against US Hybrid Warfare
Robert Fantina
Impeachment as a Distraction
Courtney Bourgoin
What We Lose When We Lose Wildlife
Mark Ashwill
Why Constructive Criticism of the US is Not Anti-American
Daniel Warner
Charlie Chaplin and Truly Modern Times
Manuel Perez-Rocha
How NAFTA 2.0 Boosts Fossil Fuel Polluters, Particularly in Mexico
Dean Baker
What the Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With Productivity
Mel Gurtov
India’s Failed Democracy
Thomas Knapp
US v. Sineneng-Smith: Does Immigration Law Trump Free Speech?
Winslow Myers
Turning Point: The new documentary “Coup 53”
Jeff Mackler
U.S. vs. Iran: Which Side are You On?
Sam Pizzigati
Braggadocio in the White House, Carcinogens in Our Neighborhoods
Christopher Brauchli
The Company Trump Keeps
Julian Vigo
Why Student Debt is a Human Rights Issue
Ramzy Baroud
These Chains Will Be Broken
Chris Wright
A Modest Proposal for Socialist Revolution
Thomas Barker
The Slow Death of European Social Democracy: How Corbynism Bucked the Trend
Nicky Reid
It’s Time to Bring the War Home Again
Michelle Valadez
Amy Klobuchar isn’t Green
David Swanson
CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Dire Need for “Creative Extremists”—MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Jill Richardson
‘Little Women’ and the American Attitude Toward Poverty