Racist white people strike again. This time a Black man was waiting for his Lyft in his new New York building lobby when a white man approached him and accused him of not living there.
In a video that was published on Dec. 25, 2018, a white man who claims to have been a resident in the Upper East Side apartment building can be seen harassing 29-year-old #ChikaOkafor while Okafor was waiting to be picked up by a Lyft. In the video, which was posted by Okafor, the man kicks off the interaction by asking “What are you doing in my building? You don’t live here.”
Okafor, who is a social media producer for sports website, Bleacher Report, shows the white man pressing him for more information. “You don’t live here… I’ve never seen you before, I’ve been here 27 years,” the man says. Later on in the video, Okafor reveals that the harassment began prior to the recording when the white man first saw the two Black men he asked “‘Who the f— are these guys?,'” Okafor told The New York Times.
Okafor says he’s been living in the four-story walk-up on First Avenue near East 74th Street since last year in a sublet. The white man denies that race had anything to do with him questioning them, as he claims he does “that to white people, too.” “If you live here, why can’t you be a neighbor? I’m asking, I’ve never seen you before… so what apartment do you live in,” the man pesters on. Okafor then responds saying, “Don’t worry about it.”
The white man has now been dubbed “Hallway Harry.” Okafor says the entire ordeal was insulting. “I felt insulted,” Okafor told the New York Times. “I felt violated. To me, his behavior suggested that, one, because we were people of color we were a threat to their safety, and, two, because we are people of color we can’t afford to live in that type of apartment complex.”
Okafor told the Times he will not pursue legal action, but instead wants an apology from the man and wants him to be evicted. He has reported the incident to the building manager, but she told him she couldn’t address personal matters.