Friday, December 16, 2016

Answers to questions

On Sunday, I invited readers to ask me questions. I received just one question, which I am sharing today. 


Alana asked: I won't be writing with you today, but I do have an observation. I would like to get advice from an expert. Next Sunday, I hope to blog about an incident (speaking of standing up or not standing up) I was involved in some 25 years ago on a public transit bus. A white man, who looked to be mentally unstable (and also quite muscular and ready to fight) harassed various passengers especially a an Asian woman, calling her the most vile things (both concerning her ethnicity, and the fact that she was a woman). The bus driver did absolutely nothing. And then he came towards me.... I was truly scared for my life. If this ever happened again - and it just might - I don't know how to respond, how to try to defuse the situation. I am wondering if you know anyone who might have some insight.

Alana, what a tough question and how frightening for you! I had to do a good deal of research to find an answer. I found two major issues in your blog post:

  • how are police trained to handle aggressive people who have mental health issues? In this case, the bus driver did absolutely nothing while this man intimidated passengers. 
  • How can people defend themselves from a person who seems to be prejudiced and out of control?
I looked on line for answers to the second question. The man who was causing the problems in the bus that you were riding seemed to be mentally unbalanced and both a racist and a sexist. I get the impression that he was acting on his prejudices and that his behavior was extremely inappropriate and possibly dangerous. I found three articles that deal with these very issues and offer extremely helpful advice for how to respond to the frightening behavior that the man exhibited.

Article Number One: Here is a link to an excellent article in The Guardian, which addresses these very issues:


Article Number Two: Here is an article by a psychologist named Mandy about how to deal with intimidating people. She said people who behave in a negative and intimidating way tend to be projecting inner chaos and misery.

link to Mandy's suggestions for dealing with intimidating, aggressive people

Article Number Three: This third article deals with a situation that sounds very similar to the one that you experienced. This also involved a man who was very aggressive, as well as being a racist. The author, Cheryl Chan, gives a variety of suggestions of how to handle a person who behaves in a racist and intimidating way. The link is below.

"link to article on dealing with racist and intimidating behavior in public places"

I hope that this information helps you with your upcoming blog post, Alana. Thank you so much for asking!

1 comment:

Alana said...

Thank you, Alice. I'm sure you had to do quite a lot of research on this. Although this happened so long ago, in our current climate, this is something we all need to know, and I will be sharing it.

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