Black on Black Nihilism

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 7:37 PM EDT

I just read something both horrifying and so, so sad on The Root.

It happened two months ago, and this is the first, and probably only, time I'll hear about it: A young, bipolar black woman on an Atlanta bus went manic and terrorized an elderly black woman while the rest of the riders did nothing. Well, except for the ones who laughed and helped the deranged woman freestyle rap lyrics with which to terrorize all our grandmothers. And, of course, the one who was busy taking the video. The other riders didn't respond until she went after them.

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As for her helpless victim—a study in dignity and courage. She said nothing, never asked for help. I guess she knew by then it would be pointless to ask. If I'd been looking for a better way to reinforce my post onheat waves, I'd never have found it.

Too bad that grandmother wasn't assaulted by a crazed white girl. Then, her fellow riders would have responded and it would have been all over the news. No, it was just someone who could have been her granddaughter, and therefore just one more instance of black-on-black nihilism that only an Uncle Tom would discuss 'in front of white folks'. Someone should track down that lovely, dignified lady and have her tell the truth on national TV, and shame the intracommunal devil that allows such things to happen.

I once came to the aide of an elderly lady being similarly terrorized by a deranged man in a crowded public place, as everyone else just gave them a wide berth. I didn't confront him—he was terrifying, ranting and raving at her—I just said "Mrs. Smith, there you are! We're late, let's go." The crazy are easily confused, and he just watched stupefied as I led her away. Both of them were white, as it happens, and I could have never slept well again if I'd walked past that poor woman, just glad he wasn't after me. I wasn't proud of myself at the time. It just seemed like something that needed doing. But now, I guess I deserve a medal.

What a pass we've come to. Shame on everyone on that bus. Shame. And one more thing: Why didn't someone call the police? Anyone can see she needed to be in a hospital. But they just laughed and egged her on to run amok in their own community, destroying herself and everyone around her.

If you're black and want to hang your head in shame, watch the video.