Bus Ride Protocol

I entertained doing a political disclaimer on this post but decided not to. I think it’s important for folks to understand the real life implications of language that incites hate, language that makes bigots and racists feel free to avoid any kind of self-censorship, and language that makes my daughter send me text messages about what she’s observing while taking the bus to her tutoring center during our morning commute.

Trump’s antics are making my world more dangerous.

I know we brown and black folks have noticed the remarkable increase in nasty rhetoric. Folks seem emboldened to be outwardly racist, sexist and homophobic. Like just on the street, it feels different. You hear little snippets of language that seems intended to let you know that they don’t like you.

My parents, both in their mid-to-late 60s, remark that it echoes things they heard years ago, during the 50s and 60s.

I’m not a stranger to hearing nasty things, but since Trump came on the scene and has been legitimized as a candidate for president, folks seem really comfortable saying any old thing. If you’re not paying attention or you or your peeps aren’t the “topic of discussion” do you hear it? Do you notice it?

Hope texted me during her bus ride this morning. Here’s our confab.

Screenshot_2016-08-01-09-50-16Screenshot_2016-08-01-09-50-28Screenshot_2016-08-01-09-50-40

So there we were during our commutes, and this is going down.

Now, Hope might talk back to me, but she does NOT like to see other kids talk back to parents or people being mean to other people. She hates this behavior, I mean really hates it, and I see it as such a testament to her inherently kind soul. She also is one who swoops in to defend those who are attacked. She has, on more than one occasion, checked a kid who was too salty to a parent in her presence. I know my daughter and this exchange bothered her; I know she wanted to intervene on behalf of this bus driver. I know she wanted to show care and concern.

Me?

I just wanted her to get to the tutoring clinic safe and sound without using the S on her chest or the cape on her back as the anti-racist superhero, hence my initial response.

As I was illegally texting while driving, I thought to myself, “Dammit, you’ve to be kidding me? I’ve now got to teach Hope a protocol for riding the bus with racists.”

This is some bull-ihitsay, I tell you.

The current climate has emboldened folks who would typically be shamed into darkness by this behavior, but when you have a Twitter/trigger finger presidential candidate who says it’s ok to come out into the light, who retweets things from handles like “whitegenocide,” folks who should be shamed no longer are ashamed.

They feel perfectly entitled (<<<keyword here) to sit on a bus with my daughter, spout foolishness and harass the bus driver. And folks can miss me with that “free speech” mess; all speech isn’t protected.

And if the GOP nominee can claim that words hurt him all over Twitter, then certainly people of color can articulate how disturbing it is to have a candidate who spouts hate, racism, and misogyny in ways that embolden his followers to do the same.

I am trying to teach my daughter to live her values in a peaceful way. I hope that her kindness to the bus driver was noted. I hope it pricked someone’s heart as a bus of people during rush hour said nothing.

I am concerned for my daughter’s safety, but I’m so proud of her for wanting to do/say *something* in the face of foolishness. I hope that making a point to thank the bus driver gave Hope a sense of power to show how to “go high,” when they “go low” (Thank you Michelle Obama!).

I fret about the next few months, and possibly the next 4 years. I worry that there will be more protocols I will have to think through and teach my daughter as she navigates daily life in her skin. She, like all of us, should be able to go through life without all the extra things that require so much cognitive energy.

Can she just live?

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2017. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

4 responses to “Bus Ride Protocol

  • Jackie

    This made me feel proud of Hope for how she articulated her emotions, and how she handled the situation, and proud of you for helping her get to a place where she can handle it like this!

  • AdoptiveNYMomma

    WOW what an amazing young lady you are raising. Kudos to both of you. Way to guide her through how to handle things and rise above. Nice work!!

  • ValarieJ (@ValarieJ)

    So good that Hope thought to text you about it first! And of course the racists are emboldened now; if a Presidential nominee from a major party can say whatever nonsense he wants, why can’t everybody? There seem to be no consequences to this type of behavior anymore.

  • TheChroniclesofaNonBellyMama

    What I want to say is “Get that ish Hope!!!” But what I’m really gonna say is “Get that ish Hope, but get it quietly, in the seat behind the driver, and don’t make eye contact with those two boys!” It’s terribly sad! So great that she was able to communicate that to you, so shows you are doing the absolute right thing!!!

    Next thing, I remember being a teenage, and the only thing I knew about politics (like the 2000 election) was what my I heard my parents talking about, or overheard people in the line at Starbucks during that summer while dumbly drinking my Frap. So, makes you wonder what those 2 boys REALLY know about Trump and what he is being taught.

    ALSO, you ain’t lyin’ chile about people saying any ole ish they wanna say nowadays! It’s almost like Trump is their permission. “if he can say it on a national/global stage, it ain’t that big a deal to say it in my backyard” soooo…yeah…i can only image what we are gonna deal with if Trump wins the presidency. I’m already calling him the New Führer! I mean, a friend in Texas sent me a screenshot of her local newspaper 2 weeks ago. A HUGE FRONT PAGE picture of the KKK circling around their burning crosses with a huge lettering that says (i effing kid you not!) “Knights celebrate 150 years of Pride”. WHAT IN THE EVER LOVING F*CK!!! Chile, I’m done…

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