Journalist Nikole Sheri Hannah-Jones ridiculed a New York City woman who tweeted her concerns about the persistence of violence on the city’s subway under the current local administration.
Yiatin Chu, founding co-president of education advocacy group Place NYC, took to Twitter to call the attention of New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams to the conditions of public transit.
“Paid $2.75 to be in a subway car with a loud and aggressive man threatening to hit his female partner,” Chu wrote. “Switched cars at next stop to be in a public toilet / urine-odor, crowded car for the rest of my ride.”
“Hochul and Adams own it,” she then added in a second tweet. “They said so themselves.”
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Both Hochul and Adams have pledged to increase police presence in the subway system during their campaigns amid the rise in violent crime, including attacks targeting people of Asian descent.
In May, a man subjected two women of Korean descent to anti-Asian slurs and threw liquid at them. Earlier this month, a group of muggers punched and attacked an Asian man with a fake gun on the subway. Last month, an Asian couple was verbally attacked by a man for wearing masks. On Nov. 22 last year, a Thai model was brutally assaulted by an attacker at the 34th Street Herald Square subway platform.
Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on the controversial 1619 Project, retweeted Chu’s post, writing, “Yes, yes. This was absolutely unheard on subways until two years ago.”
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In response, Chu wrote: “I’ve been taking the subways since the 1980s. It’s not new but it is more widespread and not getting better. Our electeds said they would address it but we haven’t seen improvements. Why should we accept these conditions for our commute.”
Hannah-Jones’ tweet prompted some of her followers to similarly berate Chu, most of whom resorted to gaslighting and dismissing her claims.
“Congratulations on your very first ever NYC subway ride,” a user tweeted.
“$2.75 for a ride and a show?” one user joked. “What a bargain! What are you complaining about? In all seriousness this could be in any place with public transportation. It’s not a ‘New York issue.’”
“Pick any large metro area and you will find folks like this lady who always describe the urban core as a place that smells like urine,” another user wrote.
One comment read: “Honey, I remember paying 20 cents for all that in 1970, but you know, prices go up over the years. It’s always been like that. Welcome to New York. Now, if you don’t like it, I suggest you leave.”
Chu told The New York Post that the commenters became “purposely” unkind to her after Hannah-Jones sent her “huge platform” of nearly 700,000 followers after her.
“She makes these snarky comments and she’s inviting them all to pile on,” she added.
There were some commenters who defended Chu who pointed out that the advocate’s points were valid.
“It’s offensive and disrespectful to question the lived experience of a person of color,” a user responded to Hannah-Jones. “If you were white, it would also be racist. Sit with that for a while.”
Lawyer Maud Maron, who is one of Chu’s fellow Place NYC co-founders, wrote: “Nikole grew up in Iowa. Yiatin grew up in Queens. Yiatin went to public school in Queens as an English language learner and commuted to Bronx Science as a teenager in the 80’s…some of us have decades of NYC living to draw on, not just the last two (admittedly garbage) years.”
Featured Image via ABC News, FOX Business