Monday, February 28, 2011

Two Minutes on the Bus

By Nicholas Stix

Today, at 2:10 p.m.

Big, fat, dark-skinned, black guy in his twenties, weighing about 250, sitting towards the back is playing a tiny radio loud enough for everyone in the bus to hear it. Playing radios is forbidden on all New York City transit.

I just sat down right by the middle-aged, black American driver. I’ll only ride for about two minutes, to pick up my kid at school. I’m sick as a dog, with pink eye, bronchitis, an earache, etc., haven’t slept in days, and am momentarily unarmed.

I’m not going back to confront him. He’ll spit on me or take a swing at me, blah, blah, blah; the black women will all lie for Radio Raheem, while none of the cowardly whites will support me with the police; and my kid’ll end up stuck at school, crying, while I’m in lockup. This is not speculation. Been there, done that.

But I’ve got to say something.

“Hey, you want to turn off the radio?”

He ignores me.

A middle-aged or older black woman looks at me, in an inscrutable fashion.

“He’s acting like he’s deaf,” I say, looking at her.

The other people act like nothing is going on.

“Hey, you want to turn off the radio?”

“Hey, turn off the radio.”

“What you say?,” he says, looking up at me, as if just hearing me.

“Three times,” I say, showing three fingers.

“Yo, suck my dick.”

Guy’s a real poet.

“No shame. No human shame.”

“I’ll fuck you up.”

“You punk. You racist punk.”

I’m at my stop.

Exiting the bus, I tell the Irish immigrant crossing guard lady.

“They [the drivers] don’t want to say anything,” she responds, continuing, “If it was a white guy, it’d be different.”

Note that this bus was driving through a lily-white neighborhood.


jeigheff said...

The printing company I work at in Austin, Texas is becoming/has become Ghetto Printing, Inc., thanks to amplified music. I'm not liked by some folks because over the years, I've sometimes asked folks inside my department (mostly white) and folks outside my department (mostly hispanic) to turn down radios, boom boxes, and even a stereo. The feeling of false entitlement that some of these people have is surprisingly strong; they deeply resent people like me. Needless to say, more than a few of these individuals aren't exactly the company's star employees, to put it mildly.

Unlike the bus driver in your story, our supervisors will usually make an individual turn down their music if push comes to shove. In spite of that, I suspect that certain supervisors are actually afraid of their employees. (This problem manifests itself in other ways, as one can imagine.)

Lately I've wondered if it would do any good to complain to upper management about this problem. I figure I have about a 50-50 chance of being taken seriously. However, I could also be branded as a troublemaker and put my employment in jeopardy. So I currently deal with noise only as needed, on a day-to-day basis. For what it's worth, our company's employee manual says it's strictly forbidden to interfere with the work of any employee.

The company's supervisors actually makes people turn off their music when important visitors show up for a tour of the plant or a press check. Fancy that!

I personally think it's dangerous to crank up music around sheet-fed presses, bindery equipment, etc., plus the decibel levels "on the floor" could well be an OSHA violation. Loud music creates an unprofessional impression on visitors and distracts diligent employees who want to work efficiently. And I'm sure it contributes to mistakes and "redo" jobs, about which the president of our company sometimes complains. Still, the music continues.

A friend of mine summed it up best: people who couldn't do without continual outside distractions (like music or TV) are afraid to be stuck alone with their own thoughts and feelings.

jeigheff said...

One last thing: your experience sounds really miserable, but I salute you for speaking up in a bad situation.

Please pardon the length of my own rant. I have no use for inflicted music myself. I believe there's some real hatefulness behind the craze for cranked-up music in our country, which you experienced first-hand.

On more than one occasion in the past, I've told myself that I'd be patient and hold my tongue when some idiot was doing something provocative. Then even before I knew it, words had escaped my lips.

Again, bully for you for saying something anything at all in the midst of a bunch of hostile blacks. I could feel adrenaline going through my own body while I read your story.

Sheila said...

I carry a pair of foam earplugs with me in my purse - to use in a situation like yours, or when stuck waiting at the doctor's office, or car dealer's, or wherever - because there's always a t.v. on, tuned to the best American culture has to offer. Yesterday at the gym (I use my own music, but can't avoid the bank of televisions if I ever raise my eyes) one channel featured a Nancy Grace show with a 33-year-old black single mother of six (her 12 year old son was accused, by another black, of vandalizing his car), one channel featured some soap with a blonde woman in a negligee and a shirtless large, dark black man (miscegenation quota for the day, thank you), and today's version of "Let's Make a Deal," with some black host (yes, I'm old enough to remember watching Monty Hall when I was home sick from school). Plus the usual political talking-heads with their quota of the purported "talented tenth." Usually, the overly-loud t.v. volume competes with individuals' loud voices, personalized ring tones, and/or piped-in music. Whites, in my experience, are equally guilty as blacks regarding noise pollution; they just aren't as aggressive about it and possess enough impulse control that you needn't fear for your physical safety when you confront them.

Christopher said...

I hear this crap on the subway.

"Radio Raheems on the subway?!?" you ask.

Sort of.

They (yes, blacks) play their rap crap on their headphones --wees, pees, or whatever they're called, SO LOUD, half the car can hear it.

Any advice?

Anonymous said...

Owner of blog with known racist agenda tells story (that could easily be fiction) involving a black character behaving badly, and racist commenters automatically believe the story as fact without need of evidence, because it reinforces their existing prejudices, and as a consequence of which their prejudices are further reinforced. Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

Nicholas Stix said...

Dear Anonymous Racist Troll, Sunday, March 6, 2011 11:06:00 PM EST,

"Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture?"

The only problem is that you're a racist liar.


Nicholas Stix

Anonymous said...

"The only problem is that you're a racist liar."

You're the one telling the race-baiting stories, Nicholas, not me.

Nicholas Stix said...


Stories can't be "race-baiting"; they're either true or false.

Anonymous said...

"Stories can't be "race-baiting"; they're either true or false."

Good. Give me some evidence your story is true. Until then, it is false.

Nicholas said...

New White Racism,

And how should I prove it to you? By going down to Beach 54th Street, and hunting up some shell casings, and sending them to you? Oh, but you forgot to give me your mailing address.

This is ludicrous. You’re an anonymous troll who makes impossible demands, and when I don’t meet them, you think you can brag that you’ve somehow shown me up. Meanwhile, you make no such demands of racist blacks and Hispanics, because you’re loyal to them. You’re not a “skeptic,” NWR, you’re a bigot and a phony.

Since the informant who reported the shooting to me was my wife, you’re either saying that she’s a liar, or that I lied, in saying that she reported it. That’s more than enough mischief from you. You’re done here. I’ve just switched the system to moderate all comments.

A lefty blog would have censored an idiot troll like you from the get-go—hell, they censor honest, right-of-center commenters—but I tolerated you. As my mom always says, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Dishonest mooks like you ruin it for everyone else.

Nicholas Stix