The White man who was caught on video berating another White man about his White privilege (and claiming he “settled” Brooklyn in the process) is speaking out about the footage that raised a few eyebrows.
Gothamist, the site that originally posted the short video, caught up with the jogger — identified as B.A. — in his Fort Greene studio to discuss the altercation, what he really meant when he said he “settled” Brooklyn, and just why he was so upset with the man who he says bumped into him with a stroller.
“I have a temper, when I start seeing red it’s like I lose it, I admit to that,” he told Gothamist. I lose it. I start screaming,” he said of his reaction to being hit with the stroller, which he said left a nasty gash on his leg.
“The woman is talking over her shoulder to her husband, and doesn’t notice,” he said. “So I said a snarky thing, which the brothers say to me when I bump into them, which is ‘excuse you.’ We all know that’s acceptable in New York. It’s a little dicky, but that’s what people say.”
Instead of apologizing or acknowledging the faux pas, B.A. says the woman “starts screaming at me, ‘Fuck you! Who do you think you are?’ Then the guy starts screaming at me, ‘Fuck you,’ and starts coming at me with his fists like this. Now as soon as the guy comes at me with his fists, I’m telling you, if you come at somebody with your fists, be prepared that [the other person] is going to put their fists back up.”
But what about that part where he screamed “White privilege” and claimed he settled (yes, as in colonized) Brooklyn for the White family? According to B.A., he’s lived in New York City his whole life. And even though he moved to Fort Greene in 1997, he has major street credit within the Black community.
We’re not kidding. B.A. actually said this.
“When I came down here, Myrtle Avenue here, it was abandoned. When I used to go down to the liquor store down there, the black people would all run, because they thought I was a cop! So when I tell you I’m having a fight about white privilege with this man, I’m slightly guilty because I’m moving in to gentrify a neighborhood, except I’m the first one here when nobody wants to live here.”
“My street cred, especially in the black community, in this city, is huge. I grew up on the West 4th Street basketball courts. I grew up multicultured. I grew up with Stonewall, I grew up on the laps of drag queens,” he said.
And although B.A. admits that he has contributed to the gentrification of Brooklyn, it seems he doesn’t understand the gravity of it all. How it negatively affected the historical multicultural neighborhood. For us, it reads as if B.A. feels some accomplishment for moving into a low-income area, making friends with his Black neighbors, and subsequently pushing them out to make room for other White gentrifiers who now see Brooklyn as the land of possibility.
That is, if you can afford the rent.
In the end, B.A. admits that his behavior wasn’t stellar. “I agree,” he told Gothamist. “It’s not really fair to go around screaming ‘I’m a native New Yorker no one can do anything.’”
But that’s exactly what he did. And in his rant, he exposed what we know isn’t an isolated thought process unique to B.A. It’s the same rhetoric used to justify gentrification and its ills and that propels the cultural co-opting that erases people of color from society.
Language and self-awareness, we hope this guy learns, is so important.
SOURCE: Gothamist | VIDEO SOURCE: NDN
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