I was just walking out of our apartment to the grocery on the corner, and a few steps past my building, I saw a crowd of young teenagers in dark clothes and hoodies walking down the street. No big deal, I see groups like that all the time.
I moved to the left of the sidewalk and they passed by, then one turned around and punched me in the back of the head and yelled "Merry Christmas!"
I turned around and yelled "What the hell is wrong with you?! Why would you do that?!!" and it startled him, so he scampered back to his friends, who were as surprised as I was. He stammered, "That's just, that's how it is," and I continued saying "No, that's assault, you know. What the fuck? Why would you ever think that's okay?!" and he didn't say anything, so I yelled "Yeah, big tough guy, don't even have anything to say. Go fuck yourself!"
I turned, furious, and a middle-aged guy came up to me (yeah there were people all around), asked if I was okay, and apologized for them. I said it's fine, they're not his kids, and he said "Well, I mean, I have a son that age, and I know how that kind of thing looks."
I kept thinking "Man, I should have punched that kid right back," and as this nice guy was trying to explain that they're not all like that, I nodded and was mentally calculating the odds of his friends jumping on me had I punched him.
I went to the grocery, my head and the ear he clipped stinging, and concentrated all my energy on not crying or getting upset because I know that was his intention. When I got home, I called my parents and what had been teary "why-me-ism" turned into thoroughly indignant outrage.
I called my local precinct and explained what had happened, and the guy said unfortunately, that's just the neighborhood. He was almost patronizing, saying he knows the buildings on my block are nice, but it's really a bad area, what with the projects on the corner and the poor neighborhoods nearby. I said, yeah I know, I've lived here two years, and this wasn't crime - it was just some idiot kid being malicious.
The police officer told me it wasn't technically assault and since there was no physical injury, it's only considered harassment, so there isn't much they can do about it. He said he knew the group of kids, they hang out at the bodega on my corner, and sometimes they do this kind of thing. I got exasperated and said look I'm not telling you how to do your job, but if my mother came up to visit or he happened to think it was okay to deck an elderly woman, someone could get seriously injured. It's not my fault I didn't lose my balance and fall forward and knock out my teeth or get a concussion, but someone should go talk to those kids and scare them a little.
At the end, the cop basically sighed and agreed to send a car up to the corner to, I don't know, yell at them?
It's just bullshit.
It pisses me off because I am really friendly to all the kids in our neighborhood. I am polite to them, I hold doors for them at the bodega, I say "excuse me" instead of shoving them or giving them attitude when they're blocking the whole sidewalk. I'm not one of those people who walks around with my nose in the air and a prissy attitude, nor do I walk around afraid, and it's bullocks that they would lash out at me and make it that now I'll suspect every young black kid I see of being the one who punched me in the head.
I hate that the friends of this idiot will grow up to be treated like thugs, whether deservedly or not, because they are from the same area and appear the same as this kid. I hate that their lives are so misguided and they've been raised so poorly that they have nothing better to do at 6:30 on a Friday night than hang out on the corner and punch random white girls in the back of the head.
Most of all? I hate that even the police have given up on them already and figure it's only a matter of time before they actually do injure or rob or rape someone and get into the system for real.
The future of America is as bright as ever. Motherfuckers.