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racial profiling: am I guilty?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by fmoore200, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    As some of you may know, I am a bus driver in nyc. The bus route that I currently drive (finish tomorrow, woohoo!!) goes between a primarily Asian neighborhood in Flushing (that should get Maki involved in the thread, right?) and a mostly black and Spanish neighborhood in the Bronx.

    At the main terminal point in the Bronx leg of the run tonight I did something that immediately made me feel uncomfortable. I was going towards the Bronx side and an Asian woman gets on the bus and I ask her if she is going to the Bronx or Queens.

    I was trying to be helpful. It has happened to me before where someone was running for the bus, doesn't read the sign to see where the destination is and has to get off a stop or two later and find a way back.

    Helpful or not, was what I did insensitive, ignorant, or worse?
  2. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Sounds like you were trying to help someone based on your knowledge of certain areas and their general cultural populations. Doesn't make you a racist to know your routes.
    Was she made uncomfortable?
  3. Bus driver in NYC!!!! What an exciting job :) You must have tons of stories.
    Sorry, can't really contribute much to your actual problem :(
  4. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    I couldn't really tell if she was uncomfortable, but I kinda was, lol...

    And yes I do have tons of stories, especially working the night shift :)
  5. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    You need to sign up for the white guilt camp Eddie Murphy and Steve Wonder were advertising on that old SNL episode :)
  6. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    Lol... I'm Mexican too... I think that negates the white guilt... :-D
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    So where was she going? Apparently your experience has given you an indication of where people of different ethnic backgrounds typically go or don't go. I don't think there was anything wrong with using your experience in an honest effort to be helpful.
  8. UnsungZeros

    UnsungZeros The only winning move is not to play.

    If this is racial profiling, it is the most benign case I've ever heard. IMO, what you did was perfectly fine. You were trying to be helpful and your past experience informed you that sometimes people mistakenly go the wrong way.

    I suppose the question that may solve your own question is how did she react? Which way was she going?
  9. I don't see anything wrong here. I'm black so I have the authority to say so with confidence and finality.
  10. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008



  11. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Everybody does racial profiling. Nobody is free of ready made prejudice.
    What counts is what we do with it.
  12. I'm Asian and I've been to NY, and have had the pleasure of having bus drivers wait that itsy bitsy 20 seconds to let me on the bus with the kids, give me a good morning greeting, and tell me where the bus was going. Yes, a couple of them asked me if I was going in one direction or another. The only discomfort I've felt at that point was like being asked the question you weren't prepared for.

    I think you're fine lol
  13. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    LOL!! That almost led to me shooting hot coffee out of my nose dammit!

    But in regards to the OP - you did nothing wrong. But yeah being a bus driver in NYC? Holy cow, I get stressed just driving a car there!
  14. Chef FourString

    Chef FourString

    Feb 4, 2011
    Don't worry. You were trying to be a good person. Whether or not she took it that way, karma will come back to help you.
  15. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    Was the Asian woman hot?
  16. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Banned

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    This is really the crux of the matter.
  17. rr5025


    Nov 12, 2008
    So you asked her what end of the route she was going to? I do not see how that could be racist?

    If you said something like "oh are you going to the Asian market on x and y?" then I could see that as profiling.
  18. Chef FourString

    Chef FourString

    Feb 4, 2011
    A very important detail.
  19. EBodious


    Aug 2, 2006
    nyc is a very populated and diverse place. she could really live in any section of any borough. and she could certainly be capable of knowing her way around the bus route system. however, i think there is nothing wrong with asking someone which way they are going especially if you were at a main terminal where buses are going both ways (as opposed to a stop along a route that is clearly going one direction). maybe the issue is that you didn't ask anyone else getting on the bus if they were sure which way they were going? did you single her out? and if so was it cause she was asian or a woman or cause she was hot?

    most importantly tho: no pic - no hot, lost, asian chick in the big, bad city.

  20. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    I knew I was missing important details! Lol..

    She actually was pretty hot.. sorry, no pic, you'll have to take the word of a bus driver, lol

    Back to the original problem... I felt I did point her out amongst the group. She didn't seem to mind, but I was asking more to see if what I did could offend anyone.

    I need to be aware, because if anyone knows new yorkers, you know they don't mind calling and complaining about something. And they take my civil servant title a but too literally. Especially the servant part. Lol

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