Prius drivers get tax breaks, why not transit riders?
“Because it’s entirely different,” a person who knows where I’m going with this, but wants to stop me, because bringing up race and class is divisive and makes people feel bad.
Well too bad.
Ever since I’ve given up my car I realized some things:
People who take the bus are treated very shittily.
The bus takes way too long to come.
It is very easy to not pay and take the Red Line.
I get treated way differently than my white boyfriend in regards to not having a car. No one ever asks Bob if he has a car when he’s applying for some little shit job to make some extra cash, but that’s one of the first questions that will come out of their mouth with me.
“Do you have a car?”
I applied for a job at an environmental organization and they wanted to know if I had a car?
WTF? If I can do the job what does it matter how I do it, especially if other people there don’t have a car?
What the fudge kind of environmental agency are you anyway?
I’ve always been asked this question, but now I don’t have a car, so I think about it more.
If you’re African-American or Chicano and you’re an environmentalist and you don’t have a car people don’t think you are revolutionary. People don’t think you are cool. People don’t want to interview for newspapers. People don’t want your book ideas. People simply think you’re poor and they treat you accordingly.
I guess an alternative Chicano or African-American is suppose to aspire to be a rich middle aged slightly pudgy white man with a Porsche.
When people think you’re poor, even if they are very progressive, they treat you very condescendingly.
Now I could go into the whole reasons to a potential employer why I think driving is bad and the war is bad and my feelings that public transportation will only get better if more people like me (college educated with a way to get the message out effectively) take it, but usually I’m not given that chance.
It’s like when I was volunteering at the KPFK for the Women Network thing. That ended pretty much with me leaving and never coming back owing to the fact that they felt they were helping the poor little ethnic girl get an opportunity. I thought everyone got treated like morons and I would get my chance to share my wealth of knowledge until another non-ethnic girl from a shittier college and with less experience got asked about her opinion, so at that point in a restaurant in NoHo I realized it wasn’t my age, but my minority status that made my opinion worthless.
While I have an idea of who I am, that idea does not seem to match with other people’s idea of what I should be.
To people who don’t know me I am poor, I am dark, I am young, and I probably don’t understand much.
No one cares I’m not nearly as young as I look.
No one cares that I’m a fucking genius.
No one even cares that I have a bad attitude, worse than that of Charles Bukowski’s in fact.
I’m not bitter about it, but this is the truth. I have no say in other people’s issues and lots of people have these same issues when they see me.
But it’s good though. I’m glad, because it lets me fight for people who are dark and poor and powerless all of the time, not just in other people’s minds, some of the time.
People don’t ask people they think are poor about their opinions on larger issues or more complex issues they simply assume poor people don’t have an opinion or poor people are too worried about picking up their food stamps.
I probably could be more assertive at interviews or social gatherings, but why? My interaction with one person does nothing, but my interaction with one person, letting them be a complete ass, remembering that incident, writing it down, and sharing that person’s ignorance online with ten people ( or twenty people if I email it to my friends) is so much more helpful.
That’s like historic. I get to freeze their ignorance forever, so that maybe they can know what it looks like to people who they think are dark, poor, and powerless.
Besides people never react well to you calling them a racist or classist or something in between there.
The world is not color blind or maybe I should say the world notices if you’re a little different. I think to expect the world or want the world to be color blind is a silly goal. The goal should be different doesn’t mean bad. Different doesn’t mean poor. And if different does mean poor it doesn’t necessarily mean stupid. And different might just mean the same as you.
I think that would be a much more realistic a goal.
Maybe if we thought the different people were just like the same people, their impact in helping the environment would be thought of as just as valuable as people who seem to all be the same and maybe I could get my public transit tax break.
by Browne Molyneux
Post-post info: Do you think me adding that little part about the white boyfriend shows that I can’t possibly be a “reverse” racist or that I really know white people, well that’s not very smart.
I’m not saying I am or not or I even think “reverse” racist makes any sense, but just because you’re going out with or married with someone who is of the blah blah race doesn’t make you an expert or less offensive…I’m just throwing that hint out to other bloggers out there and who like to defend offensive comments with, “My girlfriend is blah, blah, so how could I be an ass?”