Donald Trump has labelled Mexican immigrants as drug dealers, rapists and murderers.
In my grandparents' generation, Italian immigrants were almost automatically seen as criminals and the Irish who came a generation earlier were viewed as drunken brawlers. And Asians, particularly Japanese-Americans during World War II, were depicted as shifty and untrustworthy.
These days, when someone uses the word "thug", it's assumed that person is referring to a black male. Likewise, "Arab" and "Muslim" are uttered interchangeably; both are used as synonyms for "terrorist."
Now it seems that, at least in the meida, "cyclist" has become the new stereotype. Whenever some drunk or distracted driver runs one of us down, we made the misguided choice of riding a bicycle--never mind that we were riding in a "protected" lane and the driver veered into it. But we are not, in those situations, labeled as "cyclists."
Instead, the c-word seems to refer only to those who are breaking the law--or, in one recent case, windows.
Now, I'll be the first to say that the pack who rode the wrong way on a Chelsea street--especially the member(s) who smashed the rear window of someone's new car and who smacked into a police officer--should be prosecuted. The news reports I've seen and heard about it, however, seem designed to whip up as much hysteria as possible against anyone who pedals two wheels on this city's streets. You can hear it in the way "reporters" (Where have journalistic standards gone?) elicit reactions from bystanders. To hear them, cyclists are as much a menace to this city as MS-13 is to some immigrant communities.
To make a bad "report" even worse, the accompanying video, which purports to be a record of the rampage, actually has nothing to do with it.