A British tourist’s first day in America and in New York City, 1992

Stuart L. writes:

Thanks for your blog. It’s been a revelation over the last couple of years and you’ve helped save me from libertarianism and to reconnect with Christianity.

You’ve impressed me so much that I sent you a donation a few months ago, and plan to again in the future.

Your blog entry, “The Wilding in Times Square,” reminded me of my first day in the United States. I’m British born but live in New Zealand.

I flew from London to New York City on the first Saturday night after the L.A riots in 1992.

Being a bright eyed young tourist who has always admired America, I got up on the Sunday morning and walked to the famous Times Square.

But unbeknownst to me a demonstration was being held by NYC blacks in solidarity with their West Coast cousins.

Sensible whites kept away, but being a naive tourist, I didn’t really appreciate what was going on (or the depth of black anger) and wandered too close. For this crime I was subjected to foul racist (and I mean disgustingly so) language from a man on a soapbox with a megaphone, spat on and twice shouldered and nearly knocked down by members of the crowd. And there were various other insults.

It was an unnerving experience at the time, and one I don’t wish to repeat, but it in no way diminishes my respect for America and all it stands for.

I’m 45 now and came of age during the trendy “anti-Americanism” of the ’80s, yet my worldview was somehow always out of step with that of my peers.

My parents’ generation have a better grasp of reality, and growing up I often heard that we’d be speaking Japanese if it wasn’t for the Americans.

Anyway, enough from me. Regards and all the best.

Stuart continues:

I thought about this again last night.

I did a lot of adventure travel/backpacking in my early twenties, mostly through the third world.

An irony of the Times Square situation was that three years earlier I’d spent eight months traveling right through the continent of Africa, from North to South (15 countries) and probably knew more about Africa, its history, politics and geopraphy than any of the African Americans in the crowd.

Also, this familiarity with Africans may have been a factor in my not realizing the danger of the situation, which led to my “temerity,” i.e., my getting too close and “disrespecting” them.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 06, 2010 12:11 PM | Send

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