Stupid girls, stupid pepper spray, stupid racist cab driver

A listing of grievances:

  • Two stupid girls have a hair-tearing fight on the bus
  • Liquid and curly fries fly everywhere
  • The guy in front of me puts up his arm, so I do too
  • The fighting high school girls roll out the door as it stops
  • I continue listening to my podcast, because, meh, stupid girls
  • People start coughing and opening windows
  • PEPPER SPRAY! Hooray!


  • The guy in front of me has pepper spray in his eye
  • I have some on my face
  • The fighting girls are long long gone
  • We all have to get off the bus
  • We are coughing
  • We are annoyed
  • The 24 bus comes roughly every three years
  • Why can’t they fight on a busier route?


  • My cheek hurts and I want to go home
  • I get a cab
  • I tell the driver what happened
  • He immediately asks “What race were they?”
  • I ask him what that has to do with anything
  • He tells me he is interested in “Sociology”
  • I say anyone who knows a damn thing about sociology knows better than to draw from a single data point
  • I tell him that we aren’t going to talk any more
  • He tells me he isn’t racist because he campaigned for Obama


  • I stiff him on the tip and go inside to take a shower
  • Stupid girls
  • Stupid pepper spray
  • Stupid racist cab driver

9 Replies to “Stupid girls, stupid pepper spray, stupid racist cab driver”

  1. What happened to them curly fries? I hope none of them dropped on the floor and went to waste.

  2. Whatever the cab driver’s reasons for wanting to know what race they were, “what race were they?” is a stupid question. I hardly think in the melee anyone would have time to ask the girls what race they identified themselves as. Appearances can be deceptive, so any response to that question would have been a guess at best, and at worst have been skewed by the prejudices of the observer. If he was really interested in sociology he would have known better.

    Unless what the cab driver really wanted to know is “what race did you *perceive* them to be?” which of course is a different matter altogether.

    I think my answer would have been pretty much the same as Erica’s.

  3. I would bet good money that Mark and Kent are white guys (like me!), quick to jump to the defense of anonymous guys’ freedom to appear racist.

    Look, Kent and Mark, if the guy was serious about the sociology of the thing, he would have said “hey, I’m actually doing my own data-collection on violence on public transit. Could I ask you for some more information about the girls who were fighting?”

    Knee-jerk “oh, well he didn’t *mean* to sound racist” responses? sounds like white male privilege in action!

  4. @Kent
    I wholeheartedly agree, thank you for pointing that out.

    I’m appalled that Erica would jump so quickly to such a conclusion. SES is a prime factor in sociology, and the driver seems to have an interest in understanding society.

    Or maybe I have the wrong take on this. Maybe blue collar workers are too ignorant to take intellectual curiosity—maybe they should just know their place and stay there. And if they ever express such an interest they should be sloughed off, ignored and stiffed.

    It would be funny if the guy was an out of work professor or grad-student, no? One should really gather more data-points about someone before making a snap judgment based on a single comment and shutting down the conversation completely.

    Then again Erica had a very hard day and it’s really not fair to judge her on a single post! :)

  5. You can’t automatically categorize the cab driver as racist. Why did you not take him at his word about being interested in Sociology? If he is a student of such, this would not have been HIS first data point. It was just a single data point being added to all the previous ones he may have collected.

    It sounds to me like you were just quick to judge, believe he was a liar, therefore classifying him as a racist. I suppose quick judgments of people are ok, but being a possible, but unproven, racist deserves instant condemnation.

  6. One of my fondest childhood memories is my mom stiffing a racist cabdriver. When I asked why he shouted at us before driving off, my older brother filled me in that the driver said, “Where’s my tip?” and my mom then tipped him a penny.

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