Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:March 18th, 2011 12:18 EST

Video: White Woman Objects To Black Girl Eating Spaghetti On Subway

By Robert Paul Reyes

"A brawl broke out on a New York City subway car after one passenger apparently got upset over another passenger eating a big container of spaghetti on the crowded car.

In the video, which contains profanity, starts with some arguing. Then one woman says, `What kind of animals eat on the train?`


The woman eating the spaghetti responds, `What kind of fat ****** looks like you?`

I would be derelict in my duties as a journalist if I didn`t point out that the woman who said "What kind of animals eat on the train?" was a middle-aged white woman, and the person eating the spaghetti was a young black girl. Anybody who doesn`t realize that most things in America boil down to race and ethnicity has blinders on.

Let me begin by stating the obvious: It`s disrespectful for a passenger to eat spaghetti on a bus or a subway. In a public place we must always be mindful of how our actions will affect others who are forced to share the same space with us. When I worked in a large office we used to call one of our co-workers the " stinky fish lady", she would often use the microwave oven in the break room to reheat fish she brought from home. She left the break room reeking of fish, and her lack of concern for her colleagues made her a pariah.

A dog will eat anywhere, set his food on a bathroom floor and he won`t have any reservations about gobbling it up. The young girl was behaving like an animal, plain and simple.

The adult woman should not have addressed the young girl in such a rude manner. Hatred begets hatred, and any verbal confrontation on a crowded train has the potential of quickly escalating into a physical altercation. It`s no surprise that the young girl reacted by pushing the older lady, and then the two engaged in fisticuffs.

The older woman should have realized that her comment might be interpreted as a racial insult. I didn`t hear any racial epithets, but the audio is almost impossible to make out.

The only person who acted like an adult in this urban vignette was a black man who separated the combatants.

The girl eating spaghetti was an affront to everyone in the train, but trying to teach manners to a young person committing such a blatant breach of etiquette is a hopeless endeavor. I would hate to see how that young girl`s family behaves at home.

There is no moral ambiguity here, the lessons are crystal clear. It was wrong for the young girl to eat spaghetti on the train, and it was wrong for the lady to make her objections known is such an insulting manner. But is was the right thing to do for the man to break up the fight.

Follow Robert Paul Reyes on Twitter: