On a recent midday subway ride, I moved cars to get away from a man loudly threatening his companion and wound up on a car that smelled like a urinal — and I tweeted about it.
Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times’ 1619 Project could not resist the urge to call into question the point I was making: that our current political leadership is not going to fix the crime problem in our subways because it refuses to acknowledge we have a crime problem.
She responded to my tweet with her trademark snark: “Yes, yes. This was absolutely unheard on subways until two years ago.”
Big Apple bona fides
I have known New York City for more than two years. I came here when I was 8 years old and grew up in Queens attending public schools. My first day of third grade I did not speak English. Five years later I took the SHSAT, got accepted to Bronx Science and began commuting three-plus hours each day on the same subways I wrote about last week — during the crime-ridden 1980s. My daughters are New York City public-school kids, one graduate and one middle schooler.
The gaslighting from progressive journalists and the city’s overwhelmingly Democratic political leadership is increasing almost as fast as the crime statistics. As an Asian-American woman, I am keenly aware of how much less safe the subways are than a few years ago. I have decades of experience to draw on and I refuse to be lectured to about what I can see with my own eyes.
The responses to our two tweets — mine outlining a bad but mundane experience on the subways and Hannah-Jones’ dismissively waving away my concerns — caused a flurry of comments. The dividing lines are clear. Many New Yorkers agree with me: They see, feel and resent the staggering crime and increasing lawlessness in our subways.
But others supported Hannah-Jones. They mocked me and suggested I must be a recent immigrant or a tourist. There is a desperate attempt to insult New Yorkers who wish to live in a safer, cleaner, more orderly city — one that anyone over 5 years old can actually remember.
The state’s recent elections were a mixed bag. Gov. Hochul was reelected, but Republicans had significant down-ballot success — so much so that New York played a big role in flipping the US House of Representatives. And in New York City, where Democrats enjoy a 7 to 1 registration advantage, Rep. Lee Zeldin won 13 Assembly districts, which included 23 predominantly Asian election districts.
One thing was very clear from the 2022 election: Asian Americans will not vote for the party that pretends there is no crime wave. If the star writer of New York City’s paper of record is any indication, the woke liberal elite of our city will continue to insist that up is down, east is west, and the crime wave is not that bad.
Can’t gaslight all
It is evident Asian Americans are leaving the Democratic Party, but what we’ll learn in the upcoming elections is whether we are trailblazers. The subway that I took last week had New Yorkers of every race, age and creed trying to get where they were going. You can’t gaslight everyone. We can all see what is in front of us, and New Yorkers of every race want and deserve a safer city.
Yiatin Chu is president of Asian Wave Alliance and cofounder of PLACE NYC.