Into My Mind

Thursday, April 07, 2005

....................Playing the Race Card..................

This morning, I was lucky enough to make to class on time because someone on the bus decided to act like a total and complete drama queen. Ms. Drama Queen tried to pay half of the bus fare and use a student pass. Only junior high and high school students who attend public school are allowed to have and use a student bus pass. There are absolutely NO exceptions to this rule. The state wisely chose to only include public school students because Massachusetts has the most colleges in the country. If all college students were only permitted to pay the student fare (which is 50 cents, regular fare is 90), then the MBTA would be bankrupt lol.

Anyway, Ms. Drama Queen (who is African American and in her mid 20’s) stepped onto the bus flashed her student ID and student pass (which is required) to the driver (he is Caucasian) and only paid fifty cents. She is a college student. Keep in mind that I was sitting directly behind the bus driver, so I unfortunately, had a front seat to the drama. I guess for the first time, the driver noticed this and told her, in a very polite tone of voice to pay the rest of the bus fare. She rudely replied, “Call Carmen!!!” As she sat down she repeated this twice. The driver stopped the bus and again he politely asked her to pay the fare because she is making everyone on the bus late. She yelled out, “I don’t care! I can sit here all day! Call your supervisor Carmen!” So, he did but the nearest supervisor was not Carmen, it was some guy named Lou. We had to wait for over ten minutes until he came!

Lou came onto the bus and looked at her ID. He calmly explained to her that just because she goes to a state college doesn’t mean that she’s eligible for the student pass. As expected, she rolled her eyes and said that it’s not written that college students are excluded (even though it’s on ALL the schedules and the website). He sighed and told her that she can ride today but she can’t do this again. Defiantly, she said that she’s done it before (most bus drivers are oblivious) and would continue doing so. And that she was going to report them both to Carmen. Frustrated, Lou told the bus driver to not let her on tomorrow before stepping off the bus.

Two stops later, two teenagers came aboard, one was a boy and the other happened to be an African American girl. She tried to pass the driver without paying the fare. He kindly told her to leave and she stepped off. One older lady paid for her and she came back on. Ms. Drama Queen began ranting and calling the bus driver a racist and that he was prejudice! He was completely ignorant, she called him a specific orifice and she threatened to call Carmen! Finally, the bus driver told her to stop distracting him (he was almost missing stops) and that he was making the passengers uncomfortable (which was very true). After five minutes, she stopped and stepped off the bus when she saw her stop.

I’ve been taking the bus for a couple of months and the bus driver never once indicated that he is a racist. Actually, he is very polite to all of his passengers. He greets them when they first come on and tells them to have a good day when they step off. He has denied all individuals who refuse to pay the fare, not just the minorities. If Ms. Drama Queen happens to try to pull the same thing again, I will definitely come in defense of him because it is would so wrong if he were to get punished for her IGNORANCE and disrespect for the rules.

I have to make this perfectly clear, I am Cambodian American. I have unfortunately seen and experienced racism many times in my young life. So, I am in no way naïve when it comes to racism. However, I cannot stand it when individuals find any reason or excuse to “play the race card”. And, I especially hate it when it is used inappropriately. Ms. Drama Queen seemed to already have a horrible attitude from the start and I have the feeling that she is the type of person that ALWAYS has the race card up her sleeve so with just a flick of the wrist she can used it without any discretion.

Personally, I have NEVER done this to anyone! I like giving people the benefit of the doubt. And when someone disagrees with me or points out one of my mistakes, I don’t automatically assume that they’re doing so because of my race. I’m a rational person and I don’t live my life being angry at everyone all the time. Constantly being on the defensive is not living. It’s exhausting and pointless.

So here's an update on Ms. Drama Queen. When I came out of my house I saw her waiting at the stop and groaned. Suprisingly, when we boarded the bus she didn't say a word and paid the full fare. Of course, she didn't apologize to the bus driver but that was expected. I guess she called "Carmen" and found out how wrong she had been. I doubt that Carmen exists and if she does, then she was completely misinformed.

And I have another bus story that happened to me this past week. And, it did not invovled Ms. Drama Queen.
As I was boarding the bus home an African American man (who was in his 40's) only paid 50 cents!!! He refused to pay the rest because he claimed that he didn't have it and had such an attitude. The bus driver (who was an elderly Asian man, he had to be in his 60's) yelled at him but didn't want to hold up everyone so he drove on. When the African American man went to step off the bus the driver said that next time he'd call the police. The man said, "Yeah, call the FBI!" He got back on the bus and tried to PUNCH the driver! He missed and a man that was larger than him got in front of him. He stepped off and repeated his FBI line again. What the heck is wrong with people?!


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