A young Portland man of Middle Eastern descent was reportedly subjected to racist attack by a white woman after she allegedly crashed into his car and tried to get away with it.
Bassel Hamieh, an honor student from Portland State University, had just finished an exam and was sitting with a friend when a woman hit his car. She didn't stop and pulled into a nearby parking garage.
In a video uploaded on Hamieh’s Facebook account, the woman denied hitting the car and refused to show her ID and insurance.
As the clip continued, the woman in question grew exasperated by the 23-year-old’s repeated requests for her insurance card and decided to bring his race into the argument.
“You don’t look like a Portland guy,” she told Hamieh and went on to make fun of his accent and assumptions about his ethnic origins.
“Some of you are terrorists,” she said later.
The encounter between the two went on for over three minutes and the woman, who reportedly sideswiped Hamieh’s car, only gave away her details when an Oregon Health and Science University officer intervened and defused the situation.
The 23-year-old was reportedly born in Portland and lived for some time in Lebanon, where his parents are from. Sadly, the altercation served to be a bitter reminder for Hamieh, who had experienced similar incidents of racism in Portland.
For instance, he said he was beaten up in school after a classmate realized his family was of Middle Eastern ancestry and a high school teacher told him he would “grow up to be a terrorist” in front of the whole class.
Such a troubled past of being a frequent victim of unprovoked racist attacks prompted Hamieh to document the ugly encounter. However, as per his Facebook post, he didn’t take joy in shaming the woman.
“At first, I didn't think this was going to be an issue at all. I explain that she hit my car, show her the damage, get her information and we both move on with our lives. But then when she started bringing up my race and making this about more than what it was, I decided to record it because I didn't feel safe, and I felt I needed something to protect myself in case she later said it didn't happen,” said Hamieh.
“Regardless of this, I will proceed with a kind heart and hope that one day all things will change,” he wrote. “Though I felt defeated for an instance today, the support of my friends and family has reminded me of my worth as a citizen and a human being.”
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