Racist Bus Passenger

Hello everyone. I know that I have been quiet for a while. It is because I gave been guest writing on another blog.

But the quote that I heard only half an hour ago on the bus that has compelled me back to my own blog is:

“I thought this is supposed to be Australia”

The quote was delivered to a packed bus by a well dressed, seemingly sane, middled aged boarding passenger.

She was complaining that the bus that she was on was predominately populated by passengers of a different demographic than her own.

She was ignored by most of the passengers, who may have been foreign students, as most of them boarded at the English Language school,  and therefore not wanting any trouble.

I, on the other hand, glared at her and made it clear in no uncertain terms that if she wanted a debate I was ready.

She looked at me, then began to hum loudly. I did not know the song, and I do not know whether the song was relevant.

Maybe the song was one of racial defiance.

I wondered whether she had realised that her audience was not so passive and was humming for comfort, or whether she had realised the racist connotation behind what she had said, and was humming to forget.

My anger welded up inside me as a planned my argument in my head, plotted my strategies and constructed my one-liner killer blow.

Then she struck again.

This time she turned around to the person sitting directly behind her and berated him with:

“Do you mind, you are talking very loudly in my ear, and you’re not even speaking English!”

Now I do not like it when someone speaks loudly on their mobile phone. It is like they forget that there is a microphone inside the phone and that they do not have to shout to make themselves heard by the person on the other end. It is like they do not realise that they are not talking to the other person via two tin cans and a piece of string. Maybe they are looking for attention, and want to relay their intimate details to surrounding strangers.

However once again, the racist passenger had removed all doubt behind her prejudice, by completing the sentence with “and you are not even speaking English!!”

Again I glared at her, only this time I refused to look away. My anger was barely contained, certainly not visually, and only just audibly.

I updated my rant with phrases like “so you are you annoyed that he is speaking loudly, or that he is not speaking English, because one of those makes you a racist” and “Are you annoyed that you do not understand his gossip?”

This time the woman actively avoided my gaze. I wanted to engage her, but I needed to be invited.

She continued the rest of her journey in silence, but my mind was anything but, as I formulated and reworded my final salvos.

Probably not understanding the irony of her destination, the racist then got up to get off the bus in a place called Footscray, probably the most multicultural area in Melbourne.

I had now revised argument to a departing one-liner and poised for delivery:

“Welcome to the changing face of Australia…” if she had responded I would have said “…you do not look Aboriginal, so if you do not like it, go back you where your ancestors came from.”

But I did not receive my ocular invitation, and upon her exit from the bus, the moment had passed.

My arguments, however, will live on. They will be stored, for another rainy day, on a bus to Footscray.

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~ by jeditopcat on 13 July, 2009.

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