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Video of Man Hurling 'N-Word' at Woman on Bucktown Street Goes Viral

By Alisa Hauser | June 8, 2016 9:52am
 Netta Williams used her cellphone to record a man harassing her with racial slurs early Monday in Bucktown.
Netta Williams used her cellphone to record a man harassing her with racial slurs early Monday in Bucktown.
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BUCKTOWN — Netta Williams, a Lincoln Square resident harassed by racial slurs as she walked through Bucktown early Monday, said she wants others to know about the hateful incident.  

"Yes, we have made some progress, but I got this video against this guy, and [Donald] Trump is talking about building a wall. Let's not rest on past laurels about progress and equality. We've come far, but we have so much further to go," Williams said Tuesday.

Williams' 2½-minute cellphone video, posted on her Facebook page, had gotten over 10,000 views and 250 shares by early Wednesday.

The incident began around 2:30 a.m. Monday, as Williams walked on the east side of the 2000 block of North Western Avenue, she said. 

"He told me to go back to Africa. I've never been to Africa. I think Africa is dope, personally," Williams says in the video, which she narrates.

Williams, who was coming back from a friend's party in Hyde Park — she'd taken the Red Line to the Blue Line and got off at Western to take the No. 49 Western bus — first walked by the man while he was harassing a group of Latinos at Armitage and Western.

"'A woman was screaming at him, 'I was born here,' and before I started recording him, he was saying, 'Get the Mexicans out of the country,'" Williams said. "I think he was just angry. First, he had tried to hit the girl, and then was chased by the guys."

Williams, 30, a couples massage therapist, was born and raised in the West Side's Austin neighborhood and attended North Side College Prep.

Outside of her first experience of being called the "N-word" at age 8 by a grammar school classmate, she said that she has not experienced racism at "the overt level" that she did early Monday.

"He was definitely drunk. He was upset. I put the camera on him, so I could say, 'I see you, I'm not intimidated by you.' He knew he was being recorded," she said.

Williams said she shared the video because she wanted to show others that this type of racism exists "up North" and also to capture the man on camera for her own safety.

"If he decided to run he could have gotten me in four steps," she said.

Williams said she wants to emphasize that racism runs much deeper and more insidious than calling someone the "N word."

"I don't know how you can say we are past this; we are obviously not past this," she said.

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