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The restaurant’s customers—who, on a Sunday morning across from the University of Texas, were probably a lot of bleary-eyed college students nursing hangovers—all decided that their own personal policy was to let this happen in front of them and pretend that it didn’t.
We spend a lot of time talking about how bystanders should react in given situations—the phrase “bystander intervention” is a part of the discourse around campus sexual assault.
Sirat Al-Nahi and Leilah Abdennabi, who visited Kerbey Lane’s Guadalupe Street location near UT-Austin’s campus on Sunday morning, both wrote about what happened after the encounter.
As Al-Nahi wrote on Facebook: I have never felt more dehumanized and humiliated than I did this morning.
That doesn’t excuse the fact that an entire restaurant full of people sat by as two Muslim women were aggressively harassed.
Rather, it’s to note that, even in supposedly progressive Austin, we’re good at finding ways to fail the people around us who need our help.
When we spoke to management, they basically said they were sorry it happened, but they can’t do anything. The man is across from and watching this whole thing unfold and Leilah goes to talk to him and he says the same things in front of the entire restaurant and nobody says a single thing. Abdennabi added in a separate post that this is the first time that she had experienced Islamophobia in Austin.
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