The woman, who Gawker identifies as "60-year-old Erika Winchester of Hingham, Mass." began cursing at him, calling him the "n" word, and ranting about the low intelligence of black people. She says in the video that black women are against black men and so is everyone else. Also, she warns him that when the white people find out how Jean's treated her, they'll beat him.
Generally, she portrays black men to him as having a hopeless existence in the world, and, of course, she tells him that black men's lowly state is their own fault. The woman was clearly projecting her fears and self-loathing onto Jean and black men, but she may have thought what she said made sense as she vomited onto the postal worker the negative image of black men from mainstream media that some whites and blacks have internalized. And we have only to listen to this Tea Party pundit on a news network speaking of African men working in the post office to see that this woman is not alone in her nasty attitude. (Winchester's older photo comes from Gawker.)
Through research, I've learned that the incident happened in 2009, but recently blew up on the Net with posts such as the one at Gawker and more at other websites, such as BlackAmericaWeb. The first Gawker has a headline calls Winchester "a Volvo-driving racist." The article says further that she is "a speech coach and citizen police academy graduate."
Some of her neighbors, according to Gawker, have come forward and called her "a nut." Well, she sounds like one in the video, right? So, maybe the mailman catching her on video can be seen as a kind of intervention from the universe, a shout to Erika to see herself as others see her so she will reform.
Whatever message a higher power may have for this woman, a Gawker update says that after the video went viral, people were so outraged that Ms. Winchester had to be put under police protection.
Per the Boston Globe, the police also took action against Winchester gone wild:
Peraino said Jean refused to press charges right after the video was recorded on Oct. 13, 2009. But Peraino said after seeing the video police went ahead on their own with a charge of assault and battery as a hate crime. Jean then wouldn't testify against Winchester at a probable cause hearing a few weeks later, Peraino said.A magistrate decided that the charges will go away if Winchester stays out of trouble for a year.
"I think he felt compassion for her, because he knew her as a regular customer on his route," Peraino said.
Jean has reportedly said he was fired over the incident. The Boston Globe reports that the United States Post Office says, however, his dismissal was unrelated to his filming Winchester and his being assaulted.