The Other Bubble

While freely flowing venture capital and hedge fund money has arguably created a new financial bubble, there is another bubble expanding at an even greater rate. It is a bubble that remains largely unmentioned and it normally does not affect most of us. However, I unfortunately experienced the consequences of this ’other bubble’ today.

Around 1pm I was jumped in a grocery store, two blocks from my apartment in one of the nicest areas of Washington, DC. It happened completely out of the blue. The guy was the stereotypical ’thug’ depicted on crap shows like cops. A large black man.

I wasn’t hurt but was shaken up, as were most other people in the store. Yes, it happened in a store with other people as witnesses. But, wearing a baggy sweatshirt the guy could have had a knife or gun so no one intervened (or that is what I’d like to think).

This other bubble I am referring to is the bubble that I and most of my friends live in. You might too. The bubble exists among those with steady jobs, a roof over our heads and money we can spend on extravagances like iPods as well as necessities like food.

What caused this guy to do what he did? Was he high or mentally disturbed? Was he resentful of a young white professional like me? Calling me a ’faggot’ multiple times, was it because he thought I was gay due to the Dupont proximity?

Regardless, I realized today that over the last several years I have gone about my privileged life with little thought to how lucky I am. I take safety for granted. The reality is that incidents like this happen all the time in underprivileged areas. Hate incidents happen frequently to certain minority groups. Iraqis risk death going the store.

These acts of hatred are what is really wrong with America and the world. Acts of violence and senseless crime perpetuate more violence and hate. It’s not a singular incident. Walking back from the gym, in the back of my mind I was definitely much more conscious of black males who I passed. At the gym I started pumping weights because I felt like I should be more muscular in case something happened like that again. When I told a friend what happened, he suggested just taking a class from some ex-special forces guy on close range combat. Transference.

While these emotions will likely be vanquished within a few days, the hatred that was unleashed on me today, the hatred that brought me momentarily out of my bubble, did not end with the my attack. Instead, the notion of violence and stereotyping transferred from my attacker to me, albeit in a more psychological, rather than physical or actionable manner.

There is another bubble out there and I’m not sure what can be done about it.


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