I take the bus to work these days, not because we can’t afford gas, but because my employer pays for my bus pass, and it gives me more time to read. Seriously, that’s why I started taking the bus: so I could read more.
I take two buses to get to work: one that picks me up near my house, and the other I pick up at the Transit Mall that takes me to work (or near work). My favorite bus driver is now driving the first bus I pick up in the morning. He’s nice and he has the cutest dimples. I can look, right? I might be married, but I’m not blind!
Last week, the driver pulled to a stop and walked to the back of the bus. He told the kids in no uncertain terms that foul language was not tolerated on his bus, and if they continued to use that language, he would drop them off at the nearest bus stop.
So this morning, the driver pulls over at a bus stop, despite the fact that the stop wasn’t requested and there’s no one waiting at that stop. He turns around and points at one of the kids and says, “YOU. Yeah, you. This is your stop. You’re using bad language and I TOLD you that’s not tolerated on my bus. So I figured you wanted to get off.”
After some grumbling, all the kids get off, and while they’re exiting, one of them says, “Dirty ass n!gger.”
The bus driver just says Yeah yeah whatever and dismisses their comments.
But me, I can’t believe that in 2008 in a tolerant town, I just heard the “N” word come out of some kids mouth. And my first thought? What the hell are the parents teaching this child?
I know the parents may have taught cute little Johnny not to use racial epithets. But it’s hard for me to believe that’s the case when he dresses like a little gangsta. And, AND, these same kids happened to make it to the second bus that I grab to go to work, and they happened to have to stand near where I was sitting, and what were they talking about? How drunk they were that weekend. So I’m sure parental involvement is minimal at best. (I should mention here that when they got on the second bus, I’d decided that if I heard them saying bad or mean things about the bus driver that kicked them off, I would speak up and tell them what I thought of their use of the “N” word, but they didn’t.)
I know I don’t have kids. And I know it’s a lot different when I talk about what I will do with my kids. But you can bet that we’ll have plenty of conversations about racial epithets, and you can bet that I will do my darndest to raise upstanding citizens. I’m not saying raising kids is easy and if you just set your mind to it your kid will be molded into exactly what you want. But have these parents TRIED?
All I can hope is that one day that kid will look back and be embarassed and ashamed. That’s my only hope.