Ellen DeGeneres meets the woman who defended a Muslim subway rider.

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Ellen DeGeneres meets the woman who defended a Muslim subway rider.

When confronted with bigotry and hatred, most of us would like to think we’d speak up and say something. But it’s not as easy: sometimes situations can become dangerous, or sometimes we’re just paralyzed.

Tracey Tong, however, refused to stay silent when she saw a Muslim man being berated by an older Latina woman on the subway train in New York. The older gentleman calmly defended himself when verbally attacked, but the woman kept yelling at him. Another passenger in accented English asked the older woman to stop, causing her to become combative.

Tracey then stepped in, asking the woman what her country of origin was. Once she revealed she was born in America but with family from Puerto Rico, Tracey reminded her that most Americans trace their roots from elsewhere, like her.

“We need to stick together,” she said, in a video of the exchange captured by another passenger, and then demanded all passengers be treated with respect.

That video went viral, and many called Tracey a heroine for speaking her mind. Tracey then went on to meet TV host Ellen DeGeneres. Watch the two discuss what happened below, and listen to how all of us can speak up when we can…

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