This weekend’s theme was racism.

It seems like I’m writing more and more about this.  Obviously racism is terrible, but I’m going to try and write about it as an observer instead of a political platform since I feel like I don’t have the depth of experience to cover all of the points as thoroughly as I could, you know, since I am a white woman.  I did, however, grow up in Southern California where there are a lot more people of color than there are in Madison, Wisconsin.  This has given me a cool perspective on the differences of the two locations and how it effects the minds of white people who are not used to seeing brown people.

I’ve had people of color in my cab comment on it to me, and I always feel the need to apologize for Wisconsin.  I love it here, I want other people to love it here.  My passengers mentioned how they can’t (or don’t know how to) really deal with it because it’s not an overt racism, but more a gentle, underlying racism.  There isn’t yelling or violence.  There is purse clutching, sideways stares, and following around stores to make sure things aren’t stolen.

An upper-middle class white couple I took home from State street were discussing “why State Street has turned so ghetto” on Saturday night.  I rolled my eyes and was thankfully not involved in the conversation.  I didn’t have the social energy to break up the conversation and point out how absurd they were being.  I let them have their insular talk, knowing whatever I said would be trampled by  their drunken argument.  Apparently, to the man’s pontification, State Street turned this way a couple years ago and it’s actually a bit better now since Wando’s switched back from having a DJ that plays “that music” that brought in the “bad crowd.”  The bartenders weren’t making any money because “those people” only asked for water and didn’t tip.  Did he honestly think the rowdy and privileged college kids that spill out of that bar fighting three times a night tip more?  And where was he getting this information?  Does he and his trophy wife fraternize with the young bartenders?  Whatever.  He’s an old white dude, he obviously knows it all and obviously needs to bestow his wisdom.  Still thankful I didn’t spend my social energy on a wasted cause.

Sunday I got a man going to the airport and he wouldn’t stop for breath the entire 12 minute ride.  He told me he once was a driver, then sat himself in the front seat.  He immediately delved into politics.  All questions he asked me he interrupted the answer, so I just stopped trying to answer and he didn’t even notice.  I started using a dead tone of voice and made the two and three word replies he was fishing for.  “Of course. You’re right.  How dare they.”

He mentioned over and over how he was a feminist and a liberal, but some women just can’t take a joke.  Did I know that he was really good about staying on this side of the line with his jokes and women he works with are supposed to tell him if he starts to cross the line, otherwise it’s not harassment because if they don’t tell him where the line is, they can’t charge him with anything?  I wanted to scream at him that maybe he should just try to NOT BE A JERK, shut his pie hole, and listen to someone else for a change.

His next soap box was that he and his wife went to a music festival.  I think he mentioned it was Mexican, but it might have been a different nationality.  His complaint was that they didn’t bother to have a translator.  Translating things to English.  Because he was attending their advertised not-English music festival.  He actually said it was “insulting” and “they should learn English if they bothered to move here.”  But then he reminded me how liberal he was.  “Of course you are,” I say in my dead voice.  “How dare they.”

He tips a dollar and some change, gets out, I get his bags.  I get back in the car as he is continuing to talk and he looks through the open passenger window, “Well you can at least say good bye!”  I look him in the eye, shrug, and drive away.  No, I do not have to be nice to you, Mr. Liberal Feminist.  I just need to take you safely from point A to point B.

Overall, though, the weekend went smoothly.  There was the huge annual beer festival that brought in a TON of money.  I made some sweet dough, as did all our other drivers.  The people were happy and nice, and I was good about making sure no one too drunk to ride* got into the car.  The last call of the weekend was my favorite bartender, who commiserated with me and, like always, made me feel like part of the community.  I’ll be having a drink tonight at Genna’s to see her.

About yellowandblackmail

I pick people up and take them where they want to go.
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