It looks like my blog post yesterday about confronting a racist guy on the tram got a bit of attention, with almost 8,000 views of my blog during the day.
It also got a run in The Age – Yarra Trams investigates alleged racial abuse – which also got a number of views (at least until Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 took over the front page again).
My first mention in the media was in the Melbourne Express section of The Age at 7:34am. Journalist Angus Holland compiles the section, and he follows me on Twitter, which probably explains the fast response.
By 8am the flood of messages on Twitter started – first contact was another journalist from The Age, followed by Nine News dropping me a line at 9am. Soon after that I got a message from somebody else from Nine News, as well as a third journalist at The Age (turns out story leads at a newspaper get passed around during the course of the day, depending on which journalist is available).
Radio stations got into the act later on: around 11:30am somebody from 3AW wanted to get in touch, with Austereo (home of Fox and Triple M) dropping me a message at noon, and 774 ABC Melbourne a few hours later.
While Channel Nine was the first television station to contact me, it took a bit longer for the other two commercial stations to track me down: 7 News Melbourne didn’t message me until almost 2pm, while Channel 10 took a different tack – they got in touch via a little used email address and contact details tied to my domain name registration.
I wasn’t that keen to take up the radio and television interview requests, so I asked my friends on Facebook for a second opinion. One of them summed it up my concerns far better than I could have ever written:
You will have no control over what the message is, how the message is portrayed, and where it goes from there. The question is; what are you hoping to gain?
In the end, I only had a quick chat with Mex Cooper from The Age, and declined all of the television and radio interview requests.
Following people’s reaction around the place, they fell into four groups:
- Well done, good on you for saying something.
- Public shaming of racist idiots makes my day.
- I wouldn’t get involved, who knows what they will do you and anyone else nearby.
- Defending the guy in question, stating that he is entitled to his opinion and I should but out.
In the case of the latter, there is a difference between whispering something ‘politically incorrect’ to your travel companion, and muttering it in a passive aggressive way to make the people around you feel uncomfortable and threatened.
People are entitled to believe whatever they feel like, but if you’re out in public sometims you just need to hold your tongue.
In the mood to wade though pages of comments from Reddit users? Have fun.