July 27 2016 – 7:21PM
A Brisbane man who captured video of an “unfortunate conversation” at a suburban bus stop wanted to remain calm when confronted by a woman who he described as a “little bit racist”.
Jerome Forbes, 19, said he walked up to the Mount Gravatt Plaza bus stop, in Brisbane’s south-east, where the older lady was sitting when he tried to strike up conversation on Monday.
Watch this teenager deal with xenophobe
A teenager is accused of being a foreigner and told his father should ‘pack up and go back to New Zealand’ by a woman at a Brisbane bus stop.
“We were waiting for the same bus so I tried to create conversation with her to see how her day was or see what she was up to,” Mr Forbes said.
“She sort of smirked at me in a way and it got me wondering why she would look at me like that, so I was just trying to be friendly to her.”
That was when the situation started to go downhill, according to Mr Forbes, who recorded the exchange.
“She started saying racist comments and then that’s when I pulled out my phone and started recording her,” he said.
The video was posted on YouTube on Tuesday. It had been viewed more than one million times and attracted more than 5000 comments by 6pm on Wednesday.
The camera is focused on the teen during the entire exchange, with viewers only hearing the unidentified woman’s voice in 1.54 minute clip.
She asks: “What do you think you are?”
He replies: “What do I think I am? I was born here, what are you talking about?”
She responds: “”I don’t believe that you were but if you say so, okay.”
The woman questions where his father was born and he responds “New Zealand”.
“Well, it probably would be advisable for him to pack up and go back to New Zealand,” she said.
His father also posted the video on Reddit under the headline: “Today my 19 yr old son taught me how to respond to bigotry with tolerance and integrity. Must take after his mother.”
Mr Forbes said he was “just started trying to have a normal conversation with her, trying to understand where she was coming from, like trying to understand what she had against me or foreigners in general, what her problem was”.
“It just went from there and the video explains the rest,” he said.
After the video stops, Mr Forbes said the bus arrived and the two went their separate ways.
“I think she was just ignorant, I don’t think she was trying to attack me personally or have a personal go at me, trying to bring me down,,’ he said.
“I think it was just more her personal views on, I guess, race, I guess you could say she was a little bit racist.”
Mr Forbes said his prior experience with situations that would have made others lash out helped him remain calm during the conversation.
“I’ve talked to enough people and had enough experience to know this lady wasn’t trying to bring me down as a person, she was just having a go at what she believed and what she stood up for,” he said.
“There wasn’t much I could do, she was an elderly lady, I don’t want to start having a go at her and bring her down because it just puts me in the same boat as her.”
His advice for others that may run into a similar situation was to stay cool and try to reason with them
“If that situation comes across just try and understand where they’re coming from and I guess don’t hype them up, don’t try and get them abusing you,” he said.
In a separate incident, Brisbane City Council is investigating a complaint that a bus driver made a racist remark toward a passenger.