13th and T St, NW “The guy who threw the punch said “what you gonna do about it, white b*tch ass f*ggot?”

love_trumps_hate
Photo by PoPville flickr user Jamelle Bouie

“Dear PoPville,

I was attacked by 2 teenagers Monday night in Shaw – both had on backpacks. They were both black and wearing black t shirts. One had grey shorts on and the other had sagging khaki pants. Happened on 13th between T and U.

By the time I could call the police, they’d run off. It took me a second to register what happened. Attack was highly unprovoked- I was looking down at my phone and walking to the gym. Literally hit me out of nowhere. The guy who threw the punch said “what you gonna do about it, white b*tch ass f*ggot?” (I guess he could tell by my demeanor and the neighborhood that I’m gay).

Filed a report today with the MPD’s LGBT unit.

Wanted to let you know so others in the area are aware.

Forgot to mention the cop said it could’ve been something called “the knockout game.” Apparently it’s a new trend/game among teenagers in urban areas to try and knock an unsuspecting bystander unconscious with one sucker punch. I hadn’t heard of it until he mentioned it.”

144 Comment

  • Not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things, and in any case what happened to you it terrible, but the “knockout game” isn’t new.

    • Ya I was thinking the same thing. Unfortunately I remember hearing that it was a big problem a few years ago on the news.

  • I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’m not sure if the knockout game is an urban legend, but either way, I hope these kids get what’s owed them.

    • If there are multiple reports (and there are, many) of people engaging in this kind of attack I think it’s fair to say it’s not an urban legend, no matter what name you want to give it.

      • Right, I don’t think it’s a game, more like people punch people unprovoked sometimes because they think they can get away with it.

      • I just more meant the hysteria around “The Knockout Game” awhile back seemed to be blown way out of proportion to what was actually going on. Not that that makes this any less scary or horrific. Just that the idea of this being a “game” black teenagers were playing in large numbers didn’t appear to be true when it was first reported.

        • There wasn’t any hysteria. Drudge linked a couple articles a few years ago. The liberal media in response went into overdrive to protect the image of black youths. So the impression many had was similar to yours, knockout game either didn’t exist or was muchado about nothing.

          The reality is that the assaults definitely occurred and the knockout game is very real.

  • Ugh, sorry you had to endure this abuse. I hope the police catch up with these punks soon.

  • Knockout game has been around for years, but there have been a few random attacks against gay guys in the last few years. Sorry op!

  • This is almost exactly what happened to me 7 years ago on Capitol Hill in broad daylight. The police could not have cared any less, and there have been several similar attacks both before and since mine in the same area. The MPD and city officials, in my estimation, seem to have reasoned that there is nothing they can do to stop or prevent these incidents and that the public will simply accept them as “the price of living in the city.” It’s an easy price to pay until you’re the one in the ER.

    • As this incident is a hate crime, might that result in some more action by the cops? Report it to the District AG, DOJ and any other agency that investigates such things. A simple assault may not get much attention, but assaulting an individual for their sexual orientation might prompt more action.

      • If this is true, DC police should be sued for 14th Amendment violations. I don’t want to be less protected than others from behavior like this, simply because of my sexual orientation.

    • Pretty broad blanket statement to say MPD and city officials won’t do anything to stop these crimes as a price of living in the city.–just because they couldn’t do anything for your incident. I was attacked by teens on the corner of 11th and V st nw, and the police were outstanding–and they do not get enough credit. Not only did they act quick enough to find the culprits, but they stayed with me and made sure i was okay and gave me their information in case I wanted to follow up and check the status of my case. I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but I think it’s totally unfair given how they were heroes to me in my time of need to say they all don’t care about assaults.

  • justinbc

    Hopefully there’s security camera footage of the guys from a neighboring building. Redditors helped catch 2 guys who did this just last week on the Metro.

  • 1) The “knockout game” is an old urban myth created in racist portions of the internet and popularized by Sean Hannity and the goons at Faux News. Google it and you’ll discover that. The cop is an idiot.

    2) That really sucks. Clearly its an assault, and possibly a hate crime.

    3) As you have an investigating police officer who is an idiot (see “1)”) I’d recommend you canvass the area around 13th and T for security cameras. Many businesses and even residences have security cameras set up. I’d bet the liquor store on that corner has a security camera – if these kids ran by that store, they’d be caught on video. If you do the leg work and bring it to the cop, he’ll make an effort. But unfortunately you appear to have ended up with an idiot/lazy officer that doesn’t know how to/doesn’t want to do his job (something thats unfortunately too common in DC).

    • um, you’re wrong, the knockout game is a term for a type of assault that’s sadly common in DC. happened to me too.

    • 1. The “knockout game” is not an urban legend? Why are you an expert in all things knockout game? We’ve seen it here in DC and I believe on PoP even multiple times in the past couple of years. One of my friends was a victim of it within the last ten years. I’m not fan of Fox News but just because Google told you it was made up doesn’t make it so. I’d even venture a guess that the “idiot cop” might have a little more experience and insight than you would. If you don’t believe me Google it.

    • This simply isn’t true. I’ve spoken with a number of “youths”, who have readily admitted its something that a number of their peers brag about with relative regularity. If you’re just balking at the word “game” and the implication that all young kids participate, then that’s fair – it’s a small minority that does, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it exists.

    • The knockout game is very real, as many victims can attest.

      • The calling it a “game” implies some level of organization. Unprovoked assaults happen all the time. But when a young black male commits the assault we think its part of some bigger conspiracy, which it isn’t. You can do the research on this yourself. This is likely a hate crime, or just a random assault by a troubled young man unable to deal with this anger/mental health issues. When a police officer says its part of the “knockout game” he shows his ignorance. So I’d suggest doing some of the investigatory work yourself, because you might have a cop that relies more on stereotypes than good investigative work.

        • It does not imply “some level of organization.” Like the stupid trend of planking didn’t require organization other than people playing the same game of planking.

          The “Knockout game” is a “game” that very much exists and people play it without coordination. Just like face slashing in NY were largely not coordinated (except for gang rituals) and people still played that fucking sh*t. But like, whatever, DAN, you clearly know the hood so well. It’s just a rumor, not a game that people have admitted to and gotten caught doing…nothing to see here because Dan is an expert.

        • if there’s no app for it, it must not be real

    • I know several people *in DC* who’ve been hit in the back of the head, unprompted by young kids. In clear view of their encouraging friends.
      Saying the knockout game doesn’t exist is plainly false. Think before you speak, even if you’re just pushing an agenda.

      • This happened to me, in the early 1990’s, in the Midwest. It’s an unprovoked attack and they’ve been going on forever. The “knockout game” is sensationalism.

    • i knew white footballer players at the university of kentucky that played this game in the early 1990’s and called it the knockout game.

      but whatever hannity says

    • Head over to the Website Worldstar if you think the Knockout game is an urban legend.

    • +1000 The “Knockout Game” is a media creation. Aggressive kids of all races do this, yet when it’s black kids, we have to give it this ominous name. That being said, sorry to the OP for enduring this.

  • I”m not gay and I’ve felt just as violated. Just saying that so you don’t feel you should be shamed for your sexual preference…could just as easily have happened if you were straight. In the vernacular, that phrase can be thrown around without having any genuine meaning behind it other than to be an insult. Regardless, this is terrible and inexcusable behavior. I’m sorry you had to go through this.

    • I doubt it impacts you the same when you’re called a faggot and punched in the face as it does someone who is actually gay, particularly if as a gay man you’ve faced harassment or abuse for it in the past. Appreciating you mean well, but no, it isn’t the same thing.

      • Agreed. This reminds me of the commenter in the thread about the lesbian couple getting harassed in Meridian Hill Park. Sure, straight men can be attacked or harassed… but it’s naive to think that LGBTQ individuals aren’t more at risk.

        • Can someone please explain to me when Q got added to LGBT? I am gay as they come, have been out for 20+ years and it seems like all of the sudden I’m now part of a group called LGBTQ. Who added the Q?

        • Wasn’t going to respond, but please. One group has a corner on the market for feeling violated? Ever heard of something called empathy? Seriously, look it up. I could post on and on about primary, secondary, and tertiary feelings…those that are hardwired into our being and those that are culturally influenced. Don’t think for a second that one has to go through a scene-for-scene reenactment of a specific incident in order to have a voice. If those outside of a certain group can’t possibly relate, who is supposed to stand up for those being oppressed? I don’t even want to hear the comments. Try opening up your mind for a second.

        • Nobody has a corner on the market for being violated/harassed/assaulted. But “[it] could have just as easily happened if you were straight” sounds like you’re saying that everyone faces an equal chance of this happening to them. And that’s not accurate.
          .
          I realize you’re trying to be empathetic. But it comes across as though you’re equating your experience, rather than finding commonality.

  • Put your phone away and be mindful of your surroundings so this won’t happen again.

    • justinbc

      If you’re hit from behind how would looking up have prevented it? Do you walk around taking in 360 degree views of the area at all times? It’s not like 13th and U is some desolate back alley…

      • You should always be aware of your surroundings when walking in the city, in front of you and behind you. Seemed like paranoia to me when I moved here but after two beatings I’ve changed my tune.

        • Can’t tell if trolling…

        • not trolling. i’m serious. you need to be aware of who is on the block with you.

          • Yes, yes… let’s blame the victim, shall we?

            While those two, eh, teenagers shouldn’t have punched a guy in the face, he also should’ve been more aware. Never know when a surprise punch is gonna come outta nowhere. Keep your head on a swivel folks- it’s your fault if you get beat up!

          • I used to live and walk that way in my dangerous city neighborhood in college. However, when you move to a city where there are more people on the street, and everyone you know isn’t constantly getting jumped, or robbed at gunpoint, or sexually assaulted, then you tend to relax those standards and be less vigilant. Obviously, you have had to be vigilant because of being attacked (sorry that happened to you), but most people here don’t walk around that way, as the threat doesn’t seem that imminent, and it is a city with enough population density that these attacks are not publicized and people are ignorant of how often they do actually happen. It is a stressful way to live – so even people who do have some idea of the frequency of these attacks tend to put them out of mind and figure they won’ t happen to them, as it is a pain to think about it all the time. Also, even if you see it coming, you can’t always avoid or outrun the attack.

          • Whether or not this is victim blaming is irrelevant. I was a victim twice and I do blame myself for walking home in the dark (from U street to Bloomingdale) late at night. Very stupid move that I won’t make again. And I definitely make sure I am aware of who is behind me and who is coming towards me on cross streets and alleys, and won’t hesitate for a second to escape immediately if anyone remotely suspicious is coming.

          • and how do you tell who is likely to have that kind of behavior ?
            it’s close to profiling in a way. There has been a lot of discussions here on whether or not people should be wary of a group of teenagers close to you.

            Being aware of surrounding is not what i m questioning but what are you supposed to do ? A group of black kids => you crank your vigilance up to 11. What if it’s a mixed group ? only 7 ?

            Don’t blame the poor dude on what happened to him. These idiots are to blame.

          • Any group of people who appear to be under 20 unless they’re very obviously non-threatening – all wearing matching Vacation Bible School shirts, for example. You can call it profiling, I stopped caring what people call it right about the time I was put in an ambulance after being beat down.

          • Facts, I’m with you. If you’ve lived in a city long enough, you have to be wary of people and personally, i treat everyone as a potential threat because they are and you never know what’s inside this guy or girl’s head.
            I was just saying that victim blaming here is a bad idea in any case and that the assumption that black kids can be dangerous is not welcome everywhere including here

          • Dumb presumption that he wasn’t aware simply because he looked at his phone. I bet he was more than aware and has lived here for a decade. The city has some shitty young thugs, and yah, ill call them thugs, that never get real punishment and exist to torment everyone. Blame a city political culture that not only tolerates the idiocy, but then claims the idiot kids are the victims.

            One day some people are going to fight back and beat the living daylights out of these thugs. I gurantee they will be tried by the courts and convicted of hate crimes. The not-so-soft bigoted double standard.

            (Ps-born and bred n
            DC ative here)

          • I wish everyone here would read The Gift of Fear as soon as possible if they haven’t…also followed by others like Left of Bang. This has nothing to do with victim-blaming, but if you want to be convinced that all violence isn’t random and that there are things one can do to make this less likely to happen to them, there are resources out there.

      • I agree with JustinBC on this one. I am almost never looking down or on my phone when I walk (maybe 1% of the time, ever, and I usually pull over to the edge of the sidewalk) and I don’t know that I would have seen someone coming up behind me depending on where they came from. And I’m paranoid-ly aware. Sometimes things just happen.

        • I don’t think that you would see them coming, but perhaps they wouldn’t view you as an easy a target?

          • Oh, I don’t disagree. But this city has shown over and over again that it doesn’t ALWAYS matter if the target is easy because random violent crime occurs occasionally in most neighborhoods in DC and not always to people who simply aren’t paying attention. (See, pregnant lady pushed off her bike that one time, AU student stepping out of his Uber and being shot, etc.)

  • Taking into consideration the amount of occurrences of this same scenario- bystander sucker punched out of nowhere by teenage kids- it makes me wonder if this really is a made-up phenomenon. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of it and it happened to my roommate (who is a white male) a year or so ago. Perhaps the racial implications of the “game” make it less palpable to news media in the BlackLivesMatter era? It is an oddly frequent phenomenon to have gotten no traction from reputable news sources. A quick google search reveals only icky right wing outlets talk about it.

    I have to say- had this been two white guys attacking a black man and calling him something racist and homophobic, I wonder if it would be handled differently.

    • How so? the kids got away. Had they been apprehended they would be booked for assault.

      • and then they would have been released the next day to carry on their merry way.

        • That is up to the court system and one would hope isn’t the case but the pre-trial release thing is real.

          The guy that killed that 68 year old man to joy ride and eventually crash his Charger was on pre-trial release for another armed car theft, smh….

    • Actually, this “game” has gotten a lot of traction from reputable media outlets. I have seen articles in national newspapers and seen stories on national news networks. So it’s not only right wing outlets that are talking about it. There is no racially biased cover up here. There is a legitimate question of how much coverage you give these kinds of incidents and how many make a meaningful trend.

      • I agree, I am aware of the game from several news sources – primarily NOT those considered conservative. I think like so many other things, it got attention for a bit and then went in the background as hotter stories took over. While it is bad, there are a lot of other horrible things going on for everyone to focus on. In DC alone there are plenty of people who are beaten and robbed (or shot/stabbed), so a single punch isn’t headline news.

  • oh my, he said all of that? and the “knockout game” is some faux myth concocted by media platforms a few years back to re-brand simple assaults.

  • You, sir, have no idea what you’re talking about. Happened to me several years ago, and I woke up in the ER several hours later. The police said that there had been several similar attacks and explained the fun new game. Thanks for lobbing racism into this thread with no factual or even anecdotal basis.

  • This is a topic that is very uncomfortable to talk about, but the truth is that as “gay” of a city DC is perceived as being, it is incredibly homophobic. And there’s not an easy or PC way to say it — but the homophobia I experience is overwhelmingly from black people, particularly young, black men.

    I was never raised to walk across the street when I see a couple of black teenagers walking my way, but that is something I now do out of fear. I moved here in early 2014 and in my entire adult life prior to that, could count on one hand the number of times I’d been called a f*ggot. Down here, it’s not uncommon at all.

    What disturbs me the most is when you have children lobbing homophobic insults at you. I don’t even know how to respond to it. They’ve been raised in households where they are taught not to value gay lives, and what’s worse is that they’ve been raised to harbor hostility to it — and often enough to aggressively act on it. And that’s why you have teenagers who are ticking time bombs ready to do something like this.

    I’m very sorry for what happened to you, OP. I’m lucky enough to say I’ve never had a situation as extreme as yours, but I empathize with you and stories like yours are the reason I never feel 100% safe in DC. I love it here, but it scares me.

    • Gay and Latino here. The only racism or homophobia I have encountered in DC and the surrounding areas is mainly from black men and black youth (both male and female–but they mainly just throw insults). Been attacked a few times by black men and required hospitalization.

    • Thank you for bringing this up. I, too, have been surprised at the hate I have experienced on the street, and in DC the perpetrators have been 100% African-American. What saddens me most is that as a white gay man, I can go home and find support from my family and friends. My black gay friends, who also experience abuse, do not have the same feeling of security that I enjoy. They are often from neighborhoods and families where being hateful towards gay people is tolerated and even encouraged.

      I’ve also been shocked at some of the hateful comments directed towards the LGBT community online by some of the ANC commissioners (and that means you, ANC5B!). Some of these so-called “community leaders” and “role models” fan the flames of hate and prejudice.

    • I concur with this. I recently was walking my dog and a group of young kids (like 10 years old maybe) threatened to kill my dog (for no reason, we were not even near them – they just yelled out they were going to come kill my dog). I turned around and asked them what they said (knowing what they said, but wanting to hear them say it again when I was actually paying attention to them). Then they threatened to kill me, called me a faggot several times, etc. I was not particularly scared of them despite the fact there were five or six of them, but still. I honestly do not know if it’s totally homophobia or frankly just literally no adult supervision or lack of “manners” or as my mother would say, “they haven’t had any raising.” Also, on the bus once some girl did not like that I made eye contact with her and spent the entire 20 minute bus ride threatening to punch my faggot ass. For the record I barely looked at her.

      In my 20 years living here, any harassment I’ve experienced for being gay was from African Americans (men and women, typically minors).

    • I’ve lived in DC for several years, and I’ve been called faggot about 5 times — always from African-Americans. The last time, my partner and I were walking through our neighborhood in Bloomingdale. When we passed a middle-aged black woman, I said a friendly hello. She responded with “I don’t say hi to no faggots.” It surprises me how easily the F word rolls off the tongues of people who would go ballistic if I referred to them with the N word. Not surprisingly, it has affected my views on politics, the BLM movement, affordable housing, etc. It’s hard to be sympathetic after being insulted over and over and over and over and over again.

      • Why has it affected your view on the BLM movement? Has being called the F-word (which I don’t even come close to condoning, for the record) made you decide that black lives do not, in fact, matter?

        • He feels if every Black person doesn’t support him then he can more easily ignore those issues that affect Black lives. I guess he feels the same way re: affordable housing under the assumption that the people harassing him fit that demo. Politics; l’m stumped.

        • The question we all should be asking is how a community so singularly focused on justice and human rights can treat another minority so poorly yet expect support for its own cause. Things become murky when you are a perpetrator as well as a victim.

          • Thugs are thugs and those seeking justice are those seeking justice and often times are not the same people.

            People that go around assaulting strangers aren’t for empowerment or social change for anyone but rather just criminals.

            When we step away from judging a community by the criminals in that community, we can easily see how these do not intersect.

          • justinbc

            Yep. We should not be judged by the worst among us. I sure don’t want to be lumped in with Ted Bundy, Tim McVeigh, Jeffrey Dahmer, Donald Trump, etc just because I’m white.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I think George W. Bush put it very well when he said, “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” I completely get the strong temptation to conflate every single member of a group with a single one of them who somehow wronged me (women, men, police officers, lawyers, teachers, cashiers, nurses, teen-agers, elderly people, dogs, dog owners, feminists, whatever), and I have allowed myself to fall victim to that sort of thinking for perhaps a couple of days after something bad happened, but deep down I know that sort of thinking is wrong, and I bet you do too.

          • How do you expect me to fight for your rights and respect you when your demo occasionally shoots up a school, church, etc?
            That sounds just as ridiculous as what you said above.
            I’m not clear why you being called a slur about once/year by Black people in a city that is majority Black (meaning an awful lot of Black people aren’t doing anything to you) should quash an entire groups fight for human rights. Seems to me like you’re just looking for an excuse to rail against Blm, affordable housing, etc.

          • Unfortunately it often goes both ways between black Americans and non-black gay Americans.

          • My experience is that calling strangers “F_____” or other slurs is not unique to any ethnic community. It does seem prevalent among people who seem low-income, young, etc. If you’re in a place other than DC where there are more very poor people of various ethnic groups, you’ll hear such slurs from almost the whole gamut.

    • Agree, the only homophobic aggression/slurs/intimidation I’ve had hurled my way has come from AA men (primarily) and women (once or twice). Having been in DC for over 20 years I can’t say it’s ever been better or worse, but certainly there’s not much respect for the gay community among certain AA’s in the dc area.

    • I’d like to just point out that I don’t hold this against black people at-large (many of our biggest advocates are black, and obviously the LGBT community consists of black people just like everyone else). But it’s so overwhelmingly lopsided in this city, where I can honestly say that 0% of my homophobic encounters were from Latino, white or Asian people and 100% have been from black people. Frankly, I almost wish my homophobic aggressors were all white because then I wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable talking about it. But this is an everyday experience that makes me feel racist, and I hate that. I wasn’t raised to avoid black people on the street, but it’s hard to do here when you feel like you’re constantly on guard.

      • You shouldn’t feel racist PA. I can’t blame you for being more leery of Black dc folks. The few negative interactions I’ve had about being gay or dating interracially have only come from other Black people. You have to do what you have to do to feel and be safe.

      • justinbc

        If it makes you feel any better, the ratio isn’t really any different for aggression against heterosexuals in this city either. Of the handful of threatening encounters I’ve had in 9 years in this city they’ve all matched the same demographic, and it’s the same as what I read in my crime report emails every morning. Frankly put, those kids have less to lose than your average (likely more wealthy) white teenager living in the District. Go out to the suburbs, or exurbs, and you’ll likely see it shift to a more balanced crime rate, but if you’re a white kid living in DC you’re likely a lot more privileged than your counterparts elsewhere. It’s a damn shame that society has put them in that position, but it doesn’t change the reality that exists for them right now.

      • Thank you for bringing up this topic, but your line “frankly, I almost wish my homophobic aggressors were all white because then I wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable talking about it” is a big part of the problem. I know I’m going to get a lot of flack for saying this, but why can’t we hold everyone accountable for their actions and the things they say regardless of a person’s skin color? Why would you feel better if the people doing this were white? Why can’t we have open and honest discussions about things like this going on in our city and demand more from people? I know there’s a lot of hurt and anger in this city and that there are many reasons behind that, but we’ve got to start having these conversations, letting people know that this behavior is not acceptable, and demanding more from members of our community.

        • justinbc

          “Why can’t we have open and honest discussions about things like this going on in our city and demand more from people?”
          —-
          I’m going to over-generalize here, so try not to take offense if this doesn’t describe you personally, but when it comes to race 1) conservatives are looking for any reason to have a “gotcha” moment, and 2) liberals are tripping over themselves to defend a minority group at all costs, both of which have a detrimental effect on actually examining an issue objectively. This does pose a particular scenario of one aggrieved minority pitted against another (with many people existing in both), so it’s a lot more difficult to guess how each side will weigh in.

      • If most of your negative experiences involve one group of people it stands to reason that you’d form negative opinions of that group. Human beings are wired to stereotype as to protect us from harm. No amount of sappy lingo is going to change that.

    • This absolutely true. I’ve been attacked twice by male black teenagers, one was just earlier this week while I was walking through the union station bus bay with my BF. We were just minding our own business, not even holding hands. One of them (in a group of five) threw a half empty soda bottle which hit me in the head and yelled faggot. I reported it to the employees who worked there but they ran off. Ill be getting MACE soon. I don’t like to be racist, but I have never felt so physically intimidated accept around black youths.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I suspect that your observations are largely attributable to the segregation by race and class in DC. It is not the case that all black families in DC are poor, but poor whites are vastly under-represented in DC. The same kinds of crimes happened in other places where I have lived, and were predominantly committed by the types of teen-age boys who likely didn’t have a lot of adult men in their lives who made good money doing jobs that weren’t illegal; there, most of them were white.

    • Sadly, have experienced similar. On metro especially. And by a lot of muttering middle-aged people of questionable mental health.

    • SilverSpringGal

      Being out and black isn’t something that accepted in the black community, especially in the ‘South’ which DC is apart of. People come here from all over – from very stringently closed societies and from very liberal havens like San Francisco. And they expect the city and its people to be exactly like where they came from. It’s not. You have to realize that. Nothing changes overnight just because you decided to move in.

      • I know that black people becoming less homophobic isn’t something that will happen overnight, and I’m not dense enough to think that me moving to town would make it happen. I didn’t post here so that I could catch your judgy tone — I already told you it’s not comfortable to address the fact that 100% of the discrimination I (and obviously many others) receive comes from a specific demographic. And that’s what is so uncomfortable about it — they’re already a struggling group. I’m not trying to bring them down a peg. But someone telling you that things “don’t change overnight” doesn’t make you feel any safer every day. I feel bad when I’m blatantly walking to the other side of the street because it isn’t fair to all black people — I probably do it to plenty of nice, law-abiding people. But it’s my gut reaction to keep myself safe.

      • What is the point of your comment? You don’t even know where the poster came from, whether it’s a “liberal haven” or from somewhere even more conservative. Plus, you have other people who have lived in DC for years and years referring to being abused for being gay as well; doesn’t sound like these are people who JUST moved in.

    • I don’t think the LGBTQ community should let ourselves be intimidated into not raising the issue of homophobia within the African-American community in DC. Are all black people homophobic? Of course not. But not all cops are racists either, and we’re still discussing that issue. And I guarantee you that if a group of gays and lesbians was attacking black people and calling them the N word, the city’s leadership would talk openly about it. Suicide rates among gay kids are terribly high, and gay adults, in particular, have a responsibility to stand up for them and ourselves. Think about it. We feel racist saying black people shouldn’t call us faggots? How f*cked up is that?! We as a society need to make clear to everyone — including this city’s A-A community — that LGBTQ Lives Matter, and you reap what you sow.

      • I see no issue in raising awareness to homophobia but I do not feel that it needs to be tied or compared to officers killing unarmed men with impunity. This idea that cops are racist is inaccurate and divisive. The only justice that anyone has ever sought is that those that commit crimes are tried like everyone else.

    • I’ll be honest, when I read the first comment or two of this nature, I was thinking “yeah, but, anecdotal…” Now of course all these reports are anecdotal, but the volume is pretty staggering. I’m a straight white woman who uses my cell phone on the street and fortunately has never been attacked in this manner, and I really wasn’t aware that it was this much of an issue. Please don’t feel racist about speaking up to address a problem (you came across as respectful here, which I’d say is key in discussing sensitive subjects like this, so keep that up). The rest of us who may not experience this kind of thing first hand do want to know!

    • I am going to have to say ditto, I have run into the same issue. I will say it has both hardened my heart and made me more pro-gentrification as well. Because as areas become more gentrified, it also usually means safety improves substantially as a LGBTQ person. The homophobia and transphobia from part of the low income black native population is pretty off the charts, and violent hate crimes from this group towards LGBTQ people happen. As does outright harassment.

      I should note, I have not run into this issue with professional and more middle income blacks, or transplants. It really does seem to be class correlated. It’s not even all poorer natives, but there is definitely a subset that seems to think this type of things okay. While not all black people in DC are homophobic and violent, the violent homophobes are almost universally black. By the way, I don’t accept excuses for such behavior or the culture. If this is acceptable, your culture is broken, whether you are white and rural or black and urban.

      A portion of the black population in DC has a homophobia and transphobia problem, and violence and harassment is part of that. We have every right to call them on it if they are the core part of the problem, no matter our race.

      Also this is not anecdotal. DC had one of the highest rates of hate crimes against LGBTQ folks in the country. There is a reason MPD has a special unit just for this type of thing. There is a real problem, it is decreasing with gentrification though, it used to be much worse years ago.

      I should note, my black queer friends have had to put up with even more of this crap. But almost every LGBTQ person I know, no matter the race, has run into an issue, often multiple issues, with violence or harassment from a homophobic or transphobic native. It is far too common. It needs to stop.

    • I’m Latino and have had similar experiences with the African American community. Almost all, well come to think of it ALL, of my experiences of homophobia have been with blacks. Just a few months ago while walking to the metro a young black male “shoulder checked” me. When I turned around to see who it was he mouthed off a “what you going to do white faggot”….mind you, I’m not even white. I was on my way to work so arguing with some thug was no on the daily agenda but it did make me incredibly. I had everything to lose, while to this thug, it was just an oridinary moment. Not talking about the elephant in the room, that the black population of DC tends to be very homophobic won’t solve anything. I try to be as polite and civil as possible, but it’s becoming incredibly difficult to maintain a level head with this type of nonsense becoming commonplace…

  • PUT THE DAMN PHONES AWAY AT NIGHT AND WHEN WALKING ALONE. Short of a medical emergency nothing can’t wait. If unexpected broken jaws, eye sockets and worse can and will result. If you fall, zero prevents a head stomp and then you wind up like the gentleman in Los Angeles who requires around the clock care and was a lawyer, now handicapped mentally.

    PUT YOUR PHONES IN YOUR POCKET WHEN YOU ARE ALONE. And if they stop after one and move to continue that have that dance and take it to the extreme. Throat punch, torn ears and the like. Be the one standing at the end and deal with the consequences later. Just be the one standing at the end.

    • justinbc

      What if you’re lost and looking up your destination? There are certainly acceptable phone requiring tasks between the extremes of “playing PokemonGo while listening to music with headphones on” and “never touch your phone unless you’re securely in a building”.

      • You can either live in a city that invests heavily in low income housing and operates a humane justice system, or you can walk around the streets of the city at night obliviously playing Pokémon Go. Personally, I don’t think video games are that important, but if you do, feel free to move somewhere where those community choices have been made.

        • Again, why is someone looking at their phone to blame for being physically assaulted? As justinbc said, there are many legitimate reasons why someone may need to look at their phone. But regardless of why, it is not OP’s fault. End of story.

          • samanda_bynes

            lol. shawz vision of some apocalyptic city crumbling while pokemon go players are roaming the street. ok.

        • This!!!

          Cause gentrification hasn’t made it better for the people who were here before… Just more appealing to the invading suburbanites

        • justinbc

          You completely missed the point, but nice effort.

        • There are plenty of parts of the city where this is not a serious concern.

    • This kind of assault DOES NOT ONLY OCCUR when people are alone, looking at their cell phones. Seriously, get out out of here with your victim blaming. If a person is choosing to assault someone, they are going to do it. And it is THEIR FAULT. It is never the victim’s fault.

      • To those of you criticizing my comments about being vigilant and avoiding being engrossed in your phone, you are outright fools and there is zero victim blaming here. I understand from the responses why people get mugged and then tell others to be careful. The original poster is fortunate he wasn’t hurt and can post this. Others not so lucky. Feel good about being righteous and discussing socioeconomic issues when you are getting stitches or sadly worse. I would call each of you an easy mark for a would be mugger. That will not be me I can tell you that much and I have been attached here twice and left both attempted criminals worse off for trying. Done here with folks who are true fools about personal safety.

        • justinbc

          So we’re the fools for being “easy marks”, but you’re the one who’s been attacked twice? Eh?

          • Justin,
            Crime is crime and it happens. One got a dislocated shoulder and the other his wrist snapped. I got one black eye. Could be Ive trained for it so I’m not a victim and I’m not.
            Enjoy the safety of your keyboard.
            Adieu.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I think Eric has a very crass, offensive, politically-incorrect, important point here. Of course if somebody assaults me without provocation, it is their fault and not mine, but I’d rather have it not happen at all then engage in a stupid debate later about whose fault it was.

  • I don’t get all the silly “knock out game” is just a myth comments. Now sure it may be over-hyped by right wing media. But, there are tons of documented cases of teenagers committing random assults for seemingly no reason other than peer approval. The phenomenon is real, reguardless of whether people actually say “lets go play the knock out game today.”

  • What time of the day?

  • I’m so sorry you went through this – I’ve had the exact same thing happen to me on New York Avenue last summer. Despite DC being the highest population of gay people per capita, hate crimes still happen here!

  • I Dont Get It

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. I walk that block all the time and admit that I just falsely assumed it was 100% safe. I know now to keep my guard up!

  • I’ve been in many conversations lately where these acts have been discussed and I’ll say that more and more people are sadly losing interest in the black lives matter movement because of this.

    • This isn’t new at all and i don’t see that as a reason to drop out of BLM, whatever that is supposed to mean anyway.

      Sadly, homophobia appears (and i write appears) to be a bit more prevalent in DC among black people. Could it be because they already have their own issues and don’t care about other minorities ? Lack of education at home/school on other minorities ? Impunity since at worst they’ll be caught and released and have some sort of tacit approval from their peers ?
      I don’t know the answer but the worst is that DC does not seem to even be asking the question.

    • Crime has always been here and always will be. In a perfect system, those that commit crimes are apprehended and punished according to the law regardless of occupation, race, social status, etc. Losing interest in prosecuting one offender because of the actions of another offender doesn’t quite seem to add up to me.

    • No other group is expected to get crime by their peers to a rate of 0% before they’re allowed to act for equality. If you’re moving away from BLM because some kid punched a man, then you were never really here for them to start. Yes, you can care about 2 issues at the same time, and many BLM folks also work within the community trying to stop violence generally.

      • Given the strict rules to adhere by if you want to be “with them”, whoever them is, it’s not hard to see why you would stop to care

        • What rules are these?

          • Ever checked the laundry list of rules to be an “ally” ? it’s a lot of work and commitment.
            I can understand that some people may not want to be actively engaged after some events like this if you have to constantly check if what is you do is kosher / hallal

          • You still haven’t given any examples.
            I know a bevy of amazing allies who simply call out the bs from their demo when they see it. If you consider that a “lot of work and commitment” then being an ally is never something you wanted to do in the first place. Please take this tripe somewhere else.

  • I’ve been provoked on many occasions….not to hurt someone, but to literally knock some sense into what seems to be legions of people who insist on walking around in public with their heads down (in their phones) and their ears plugged (to their phones). I realize that this may not necessarily prevent something like this from happening, but situational awareness would likely dissuade an opportunistic thug from acting on his impulses, or at the very least, would give a person a fighting chance to avoid being completely blindsided. It’s unbelievable that grown adults need to be told this. And now, there’s Pokemon.

    • First Trump, now Pokemon. We should really make america great again
      #weareallgonnadie

      Seriously ? Pokemon may be a fad but instagramming this dog poop on the sidewalk or other smartphone based stuff isn’t brand new. OP was punched. Enough said. Whether he was catching pokemon, checking google maps, or changing song, that does not make it OK in any way, shape or form.

      • @ParkViewneighbor
        I don’t know what world you might think we live in, but you should recognize that this the real world. And in the real world, bad things often happen to good people. It’s a shame, but it happens. So now what are we going to go about this?
        We can sit around and cry about things over which we have little control (Like other people’s behavior, criminal, or otherwise), or we can deal with what we can control. We can all control our own behavior. And ignoring the fact that our own behavior is often tied to what does or does not happen to us in life is sorely naive.

        • @E
          We agree. Poop happens to everyone even good law abiding citizens. People arent really good.
          but don’t blame Pokemon or the OP. The dude got punched. That’s already enough no ?

          • No. Most people ARE good. But unfortunately, too many of them would rather dwell in making ridiculous arguments, rather than LEARN from each other acknowledge the need to take basic responsibility for their own well being.

  • Just to be clear..if I “look” gay and someone calls me a “faggot” and punches me, I can have them arrested on hate crime charges?

    • I believe the laws usually require the crime to be motivated by “actual or perceived” membership in a minority group, so, yeah. You can totally be a straight white dude and be the victim of a hate crime, if the perp thought you were a member of a minority group and attacked you based on that.

      • From MPD’s hate crimes FAQ:
        .
        “… a hate crime is not really a specific crime; rather it is a designation that makes available to the court an enhanced penalty if a crime demonstrates the offender’s prejudice or bias based on the actual or perceived traits of the victim.”
        .
        Perception is enough, if that was the motive for the crime.

    • YES. This would be covered by DC’s hate crime provision.

  • “What you gonna do about it, white b*tch ass f*ggot?”

    Everyone here is assuming you were attacked because you were gay. By your own words, he also called you a “white b*tch ass…”.

    I would suggest, based on the number and scope of documented “knock out” (it’s not a game) attacks against non-blacks of all sexual orientations, that the attack was as much about — maybe primarily about? — your white skin. Sad to say, “f*ggot” is in some circles still used as a powerful insult against any man or boy.

  • Very sorry this happened to you. EVERYONE!!!! STOP STARING AT YOUR PHONE!!!!! PAY ATTENTION!!!!!!!

  • northeazy

    Read through the 125+ comments and felt I just needed to clarify a few things. The “faggot” in “bitch ass faggot” no more is identifying you a homosexual then “bitch” means you’re a female dog or “ass” means you are a donkey. The phrase “bitch ass faggot” is pretty popular in hip hop and urban slang generally. Really no reason for the LGBTQ section of MPD to get involved IMO.

    What is more disturbing is they identified you as white. We could all agree if a white perpetrator punched an African American and called him black, it’d be racist. I actually think this should constitute a hate crime.

    The distinction between racial and sexual orientation hate crimes is important for two reasons. 1) although DC recognizes hate crimes based on sexual orientation, the Feds do not. And 2) it is important to document instances of racism, especially when little focus is given to black on white crime, however rare it is (crimes tend not to be inter-racial).

    And sucks this happened to you on your way to trying to be fit AF.

    • justinbc

      “especially when little focus is given to black on white crime, however rare it is”
      Statistically speaking, at least according to the FBI, it is more than 8x more likely than the reverse.

      • But the full context of those statistics is that according to the FBI’s crime numbers from 2014, 82% of white murder victims were murdered by white people and 90% of black murder victims were murdered by black people.
        It still remains the case that however more likely black on white crime is than white on black crime, the vast majority of violent crime that happens involves a perpetrator and victim of the same race.

  • I don’t think the issue with black urban dwellers is homophobia per se but perceiving weakness. They live in a world where might makes right, where the physically stronger pick on the weak. So when a non-threatening appearing dude walks past them they take the opportunity to show off their strength to their peers. It earns them street cred.

    Matt Yglesias is straight but has been assaulted several times. He has the look. You rarely see the knockout game committed against young more masculine appearing men.

  • What time Monday night/evening did this happen?

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