As if being a teen girl isn’t hard enough in this day and age, we still have to add racism into the mix of things they have to deal with. Last week, two girls were harassed on a train for being Muslim in Portland, Oregon. Jeremy Joseph Christian was supposedly yelling at the girls, telling them that they should kill themselves and go back to Saudi Arabia, all because one of the girls was wearing a hijab. The two girls, one named Destinee Mangum, supposedly moved away from him on the train, but he continued to follow them.
That’s when three strangers began defending the girls and tried to stop the man who was harassing them. After being confronted, Jeremy Joseph Christian then took out a knife and started stabbing those who were defending the girls. Two men were killed as a result of their injuries, and one man was injured and brought to the hospital, and is expected to survive.
Joseph then ran off the train, but was caught by police and is now being held in jail without bail. He has supposedly made racist and offensive rants towards Muslims before, and was reportedly caught on camera the night before, saying that he would start stabbing people soon.
After the attack, Destinee issued this heartbreaking statement, thanking the men for their help while appearing horrified that they had to die in such a horrible situation. She said, “Thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me ’cause they didn’t even know me, and they lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we looked.” She continued to thank them and their families, saying, “Without them, we probably would have been dead by now.” You can watch the statement below:
Destinee Mangum, one of the targets of hate speech on a MAX train, thanks strangers for saving her life. pic.twitter.com/sefmOAyIVt
— FOX 12 Oregon KPTV (@fox12oregon) May 28, 2017
This is, obviously, devastating for so many reasons. It’s horrible that these young girls were being harassed for their race and religion. It’s terrible that this man felt so justified in his actions that he did what he did. It’s disgusting that he killed innocent men for no reason other than that they were trying to help two innocent victims. It’s disturbing that we can’t feel safe anywhere anymore, no matter where we are or who we’re with. It’s infuriating that this kind of thing is still happening, and that people in this world are still trying to say racism is a thing of the past. It’s absolutely miserable that two people died because of this disgusting man. It’s traumatic that these young girls have to live with this now, for the rest of their lives, even though they did nothing wrong.
This is also part of a much larger issue: the racism that is still running rampant in this country, and actually, all over the world. While we would like to think that this story is uncommon, it happens a lot, something you know if you pay even a little bit of attention to the news. These girls were clearly just trying to take the train and be undisturbed, as everyone does, and they were harassed and verbally attacked because of the way they looked. This disgusting act of racism cost the lives of two men and just goes to show everyone that racism is very real, and very dangerous.
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