This week, I had a few unsavory encounters with angry Black women (we'll refer to them as ABWs). Each encounter was on the bus, which may be the real issue, but that's too easy and general to be true. I started the week running for my bus. I called out to the woman already on the bus stop to hold it for me. She did, even though it wasn't her bus. I thanked her and I got on. I always greet the bus driver with a 'hey how you doing', 'good morning', etc. If I've had to chase the bus down and they stopped, I make sure to start with a grateful 'thank you'. This day was no different. The bus driver however, shook her head, 'no' and started complaining about how, you have to be on the bus stop and they cannot wait for passengers anymore, because they are behind their schedules and yadda, yadda, ya. I simply said, 'well thank you anyway'.
I headed back to an open seat, where this woman had her purse. I, as always, in an effort to be polite and kind, asked, 'may I have that seat?'. The 'lady' responds in a nasty tone, 'I don't care.' Okay, then what's with the nastiness? If I had grabbed your purse and threw that shit on the floor, you'd be mad (and I'd probably have some injuries to report, ya'll know I don't fight). I squeezed between her and another passenger and she continued her frivolous conversation with a standing passenger. They apparently live in the same building and used to work for the same company, and this was their first conversation. It was shallow and the 'lady' was acting all extra, in that, 'I'm above it all', type of attitude. She had a bad lace front, that she put a barrette in, I guess for authenticity. And although she moved her bag, she could not do anything with those hips-a-plenty...okay, now I'm just being mean-spirited...I digress. So the two of them were annoyed with everything, the girl standing up was younger and seemed to have a glimmer of idolization in her eye for this 'diva'. At one point the 'lady' mentioned how she goes to Manhattan on business and would love to live there. The younger woman asked (and I quote), 'now where's Manhattan?'...I can't...I just had to throw that in so you know what we're working with here. She eagerly asked a lot of questions and started mimicking the same snooty attitude while being asked to move out of the way by passengers coming and going. The 'lady' at one point said, 'I hate people.' To which I thought, 'no boo, you hate yourself.' And I can't say I blame her. Instead of letting their contagious nastiness affect me, I closed my eyes and did my morning prayer. I prayed thoughtfully for both of them.
Another morning, a woman who is on the bus a lot, scolded a mother for not having gloves and a hat on her baby. When I got on the bus, she had just started, 'Where's the baby's hat and scarf?' The mother replied, 'We're getting off the bus and walking right into the building.' That didn't satisfy the woman, 'But it's cold, you shouldn't have her out without a hat and scarf.' The mother, who happened to be White, responded tersely, 'I'm her mother and she's fine, thank you.' The woman went on, mumbling about 'young mothers' (even though the mother was at least 35) and then asked her bus buddy in the wheelchair, if she had her DCFS badge, that she should call the mother in! Really!? Would this older Black woman be so bold if it really was a young mother? One of these 'urban' Black girls who are quick to talk slick and dare you to say something, less they have one of their girls meet you at your bus stop. I bet she would not have said anything. And to try and get this woman reported to child protective services? Come on! It was not even that cold. Plus, we all know *racial stereotype alert* that our White brothas and sistas have a different tolerance for the cold than we do. You have seen them out with a wool hat, shorts, gloves and flip flops on, while we have 5 layers of clothes.
Finally, yesterday a bus driver who was 3rd in a line of buses at the bus stop, refused to open the door until she moved up to 2nd in line. When I got on the bus, she dryly and coldly stared straight ahead. I cheerily said, 'hello', to which she did not even flinch, saying nothing. Point taken. What struck me in all of these incidents, is how truly angry my sistas can be. I reflected on it intently and came up with this: there seems to be not a lot of in-between when it comes to our Black 'sisterhood'. Either Black women are kind, warm, good and sweet or they are just ignorant-ass bitches. Yep, I said it...ignorant-ass bitches. There is not a lot of, 'hey I don't know you, but I'm courteous and polite regardless because we are both adults and human.' And furthermore, there is very little, 'gee I'm grateful that you are courteous to me, although you don't know me.'
While everyone is talking about our dating lives, what is really hurting us, is our attitudes. The problem is, if I was a bitch, because those women were bitches, it would have just spiraled out of control. Now, although I'm not a sociologist, I understand that there are many factors as to why sistas are upset, irritated and mean. I get it. Because I used to be that way myself. I understand that there are a lot of factors that bring you to the point where you are just angry and frustrated. I grew up in a family of ABWs. It was a family of strong, good, loving women, but they'd be quick to cuss you out if need be too. As everyone has grown older and changed some things in their lives, this attitude has softened for the better. But you have to want to change and you have to have the strength and courage to remove yourself from certain circumstances. Our 'plight' as Black women and the spotlight that is placed on it, which is not helpful or is only concerned in a condescending way, would make anyone irritable. But let's not find solace in that anger. Let us not turn on each other. It is true, hurt people, hurt people. So when I think of the 'lady' on the bus, stating she hates people, I knew in her statement, that there was no real and genuine love for herself. The fussy bus driver and the one who had totally checked out, both were well over 50 and probably just tired, not just because of that day's work, but of work overall. The bossy and nosy lady lecturing about motherhood, left the bus asking for a late slip to give to her boss. It does not take a rocket scientist to know she is powerless at work. That is why she is bold elsewhere. She looks about 60 and I'm sure she understands that in this job market, you have to hold on to what you have. Not many employers are looking for job seekers over 50.
Some of you might be saying, it may be time to try another commuting method. But I think the bigger issue is how we as Black women view ourselves. How we view others as they can be a mirror of ourselves. The anger and eager annoyance you show someone else, is evidence of the lack of love you have for yourself. And that is unacceptable and sad. If women's view of themselves was humble, yet proud, and that became their normal method of operation, they could more readily pass and receive a positive light. Paying forward the goodness they themselves have received and repelling any negativity. Think of how much closer our sisterhood could/would become. Just a thought...