Not Being Insulted Enough - Ride The Bus

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Not Being Insulted Enough - Ride The Bus

CREATED Sep. 4, 2013

Let's make one thing clear from the outset.

If a white bus driver in Waukesha or Milwaukee or pretty much any place in the United States had told an African American passenger that she shouldn't complain because she's "short, fat and black", the bus driver would have been fired.  On top of that, we'd have all the usual suspects - including every cable television network - flocking to Southeastern Wisconsin to decry the pervasive racism in our community.

So, why is it different when an African-American bus driver tells a white customer in Waukesha that she's "short, fat and white" and shouldn't complain about the air conditioning on the bus being cranked up? And why is that bus driver still employed?

I appreciate that being a bus driver is a very difficult job.  I'm sure they have to put up with a lot from surly passengers. Still, that comes with the territory.

In addition, in the case of the Waukesha bus driver, I don't get the sense that the passenger was being rude.  She was simply asking the driver to turn down the air conditioning.  Right or wrong, it doesn't seem like a request that justified a nasty response - much less a racial put down.

The bus company says that the driver will continue in her job but that all employees "will receive refresher customer service training".  In other words, they'll remind their drivers not to insult their customers based on appearance or race!  That will certainly teach them!

If this is the standard discipline, so be it.  However, just remember this the next time somebody other than a person of color makes a rude remark about someone's race or ethnicity.  After all, we're either a color-blind society or we're not.

As for the Waukesha bus system, maybe this could be the basis for a new advertising campaign.  How about this slogan: "Not getting insulted enough at home or work, ride the bus".

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