Berger: ‘Why Are White People So Mean?’


THE METRO IS crowded today, and the 20-something, well-dressed white man has to stand, one hand holding the bar and the other his smartphone. It’s the end of the day. All the commuters—but one—are turned toward home. The young man’s face, like most of the others, is dulled with exhaustion. No one makes eye contact.

In a seat near the door, one woman sits facing everyone, looking backward. She studies the young man’s face intently, uncomfortably. He shifts. She rearranges the bags at her feet. Her reflection in the window shows an ashy neck above her oversized T-shirt collar. The train hums and clicks through a tunnel. As if in preparation, she takes another sip from the beat-up plastic cup she’s holding.

At last, she raises her voice and asks: “Why are white people so mean?” Boom! The electricity of America’s third rail crackles through the train. Faces fold in like origami or turn blank like a screensaver. …–Rose Marie Berger

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1 thought on “Berger: ‘Why Are White People So Mean?’”

  1. For some reason, I did not read this until Sunday morning when I wanted to read ANYTHING but the headlines in the media about a certain trial in Florida. Maybe we are not meant to understand the answer to HER question and yours but rather just to do as Jesus says of the Samaritan (Luke 10:36), “Go and do likewise.” Thank you.

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