Anthony Washington: I thought Metro Drivers treated me horribly because I was Black.

A white man, with long dirty blonde hair, unshaved, and rocking a fresh shiner on his left eye, was stopped on a metro bus, route 11, headed towards downtown Seattle via Madison avenue, around 7 o’ clock, on a Saturday evening. He was stopped by a middle aged, African American Female Metro bus driver, one that felt the need to disrespect the man, while berating him for trying to gain entry onto the bus, that was stopped on 24th and Madison, using an expired transfer.

Tough life.

Tough life.

Some of us, are not fortunate enough to have a place to stay, and as a result, there are some people, who get on buses, just to escape the cold weather, in some cases for a few minutes, and in other cases on longer bus routes an hour or so.
The lack of empathy the bus driver showed towards the scraggly haired white dude, who had no money, and clearly needed to get somewhere reminded me of incidents, where I was treated the same way by white drivers. As the man was being kicked off the bus, I gave him two dollars, and even after the man paid two dollars in fare, the woman, who must have been having a bad day, decided, that was not enough, she told him that he needed to basically beg to get on the bus, talking to the grown man, as if he was a five-year-old at his grandma’s house, who just got caught, eating her butterscotch candy, even after he was told not to.
I was really disappointed in the way the Metro driver acted, in large part due to the fact that she was a Black woman. I was shocked, Black Metro drivers for the most part are extremely understanding of the fact that some people may not be able to pay the fare in order to get on the bus, even when people reveal their empty pockets by trying to scheme their way on the bus. The woman driving on this particular day was definitely an exception.
It was a very important lesson, although it is true the poor and demeaning treatment that I have received in the past, has to do with the fact that society associates poverty and crime with Black skin. This man had white skin, which was somewhat darkened by the elements one encounters when outside, forced to sleep on the ground, and walk around in a state of dismay, unable to wash off sorrow, or dirt. Despite not knowing the mans story, I can feel his pain, and the confusion he must have felt, when told that his two dollars was not enough. IMG_20160104_185404_hdr
Possibly able to understand why he was stopped for attempting to pull a “fast one” on the bus driver, I cannot understand why she chose to speak to him in such a disrespectful manner and treat him so poorly, as he did nothing that deserved her attack on him.
Although a large number of Black people are treated poorly simply because of the color of their skin, which is wrong, and very racist.  Experiences like the one I witnessed on the Metro bus, should also lead us to understand that poor people, are always going to be treated like shit, no matter the ethnicity.

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