I have a friend who lives about as far from the PG Plaza metro as I do from the Shaw metro. He drives to the metro, parks in the garage and takes the metro into the city. One (but not his only) reason for doing so was to avoid the Northwestern High School kids. When I was commuting into Maryland I would encounter some Northwestern boys who I swear were trying to see how obnoxious or how ignorant they could be, loudly. Occasionally an adult, who wasn’t the bus driver*, would turn around and rebuke them. Very occasionally, because most of us just wanted to get to our destination and tried drowning out the degrading sex talk, the ignorant racism, and glorification of violence. Currently, my commute rarely has teenagers, and the offensive chatter regarding Latinos, the Plan to keep the Black man down and other theories, is at a lower volume.
Yesterday, I had some Christmas related shopping to do and was heading home around 6pm on the Green Line to Greenbelt. At Mt. Vernon Sq. three screaming yelling teenage girls boarded onto a crowded car. They remained loud and decided it would be fun to bang hard and loud on the Plexiglas partition during the ride. I’d been finding the ride home weary 2 stops before since I transferred at Gallery Place, and couldn’t wait to get the heck out of the system. Doors open and apparently the girls decided to strike out at everyone disembarking. They called the tall black man in his 30s or 40s and ‘old man’ and the thin 20-30 something woman behind him one of them snatched at the woman’s midsection.
I don’t know if they were trying to poke the woman in the stomach, or snatch something off of her person or what, but I turned around on the platform and verbally confronted the two girls who were on the door side of the partition.
“What is wrong with you!” I asked.
*giggle* giggle blah blah something. Probably an insult in there.
“What is wrong with you? Are you all right? You know what you did was wrong!”
“What you gonna do about it? Hit me?” one of the girls responded.
“No, I’m not going to hit you, I’m telling you, you did wrong.”
“You did wrong.”
One girl made a lame attempt at a kicking motion, but I was a good 4-5 feet away. The door closed with them still giggling. My heart went out to the poor people stuck on the train with them on the way to U Street and points beyond.
In practice metro riders tend to tolerate even the most obnoxious verbal abuse, no matter how racist, classist, sexist, homophobic, ignorant, or hateful. However, don’t you think that when it turns even slightly physical it should be called out?
* I have long ceased to belive Metro drivers will stop people from doing anything obnoxious or illegal, except when they have to move people to get a wheelchair on.