"There's this man who stands out on the corner selling things. He talks all the time. He once said that 'the subway is like an equalizer.' Like everyone can be different, but once you put them down there and squeeze them all together . . . you know, like, there's no first class seats down there."
race, class, value, and worth are all concepts integral to The Other Ones. At the center of the story is Elliot Vaughan, an African-American gulf War veteran, who on his way home from work one day becomes one of four people seriously wounded in a shooting aboard a New York City subway.
"The man once asked a question, to anyone who would listen, he said, 'How often does a person have to look at himself to measure his own worth through the eyes of others?'
The three other people injured in the subway are all, like Elliot, innocent bystanders. There is an older white woman who works as a housekeeper. There is a black woman who is a doctor. And there is a very prominent Latino businessman named Michael Starr. The story of the shooting garners immediate public attention, but it soon becomes clear that although the victims' injuries are similar, the media's focus is entirely on the celebrity businessman.
'And what would that person do if what he saw, what he measured, came up short?'
Elliot and the other victims are ignored by the media, slighted by the police, and forgotten by the public . . .
'If he found that he actually didn't measure up to anything at all?'"
. . . and it's something that he must fight to correct. The Other Ones is about invisibility. It's about fairness. It's about being heard. It's about issues of human value that in some way affect us all—especially the other ones.
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