9 thoughts on “Racism on the bus – what to do

  1. Unfortunately for me, the patience I once had to stand up and verbally let a person know that their behaviour, comments and actions are out of line has all but run out. I have reached a stage that even knowing I will get in trouble, I have zero tolerance and would drop whoever it was on their arse and in no uncertain terms remove them from the bus or train at the next stop or opportunity. Enough is enough, verbal judo only works on reasonable people who may have second thoughts after spontaneously abusing someone and realising they fucked up. As I do not travel on public transport very often I am not exposed to it on a regular basis, but will if in a situation like various ones we have seen in the last few months, just unleash on them and fuck the consequences. Staying silent and acting mum gives these dregs more encouragement.

  2. Great poster. While taking the train home from Perth some 5 years ago I witnessed an old fellow carrying on about some young South American tourists speaking their own language. They were quite taken aback initially and stopped talking. This satisfied the “gentleman” until they started talking again. Then he renewed his ranting and raving. By this time the people around him were looking at him and shaking their heads in disbelief but no one spoke up. He was seated right by the door and I was too far back to say anything but as I got up to leave, I made sure that I told him quite firmly that if he’d bothered to look around him he’d have realised that he was making a total fool of himself in front of a carriage-full of people, many of whom did not look overtly “Anglo”. I don’t know if anything I said penetrated, but I felt better for having said my piece, because I’d been listening to his rant for about 10 mins (I live about 12 mins from Perth City) and been feeling really sick at the fact that no one was saying anything. If we don’t say something we become part of the problem.

  3. Brilliant! I love it. While I think it’s a bit too busy I support anything that gives people encouragement and guidance on what to do in these situations. I think people usually know what to do but seeing it on an official-looking poster just may boost their confidence enough to drive them to action.
    @Dave: I think many will feel the same as you and I agree that most of the perpetrators will not be open to any reasonable dialogue. Unfortunately, I think most people are so far from being empowered to your level that we should be thankful if people just show a disapproving look.

  4. It’s all easier in theory. A nice drunken man kept calling me a ‘fat wog’ on the train the other night for asking him to stop telling a group of Chinese students to ‘speak fuckin’ English’. Was easily the scariest fifteen minutes of my life, and I was half-convinced he was going to get off at my stop and continue. To be honest I was pretty impressed that he noticed that my pale, blue-eyed fatness was actually part Greek/Portuguese. The point is, I am not a brave person. I’m incredibly introverted. This was a rare thing for me and I don’t know if I’d be able to do it again.

    Those questions are brilliant though. Instead of calling them a moron you’re asking them to explain their beliefs, which eventually boil down to ‘I’m a racist’.

    • @Jess absolutely agree that not everyone is in a position to fight this in the same way. I can understand how some might feel it’s unsafe to act so it might not be possible to do anything in some circumstances. I think the hope is that in those situations where people could speak up but won’t because of other, less serious reasons, people might change their behaviour and decide to act.

  5. Sorry to hear of your run in Jess, and I apologise if my post came a cross as arrogant or big headed in that I am able to look after myself and life/death/violence holds no fears for me. That wasn’t my intention, one of the reasons I work in security is to help those who are not a confident as I am when confronted with things that are scary, or distasteful etc…I work solely for the victims, the little people, the marginalised and the weak (from whatever that weakness derives, like pacifism, disability etc,). I used to have some tolerance for certain things and now I have zero tolerance, probably be my undoing one day when going into bat for someone, but far be it for me to shirk my responsibility.

  6. great poster

    please people… don’t just sit there filming racial abuse with your iPhone, thinking ‘when i load this to youtube, it’ll really show em’. it is weak and achieves next to nothing for the person on the receiving end of the abuse.

    actually stand up and do something about it. yes you might have some drunk (or just plan stupid) mouth breather get in your face and start yelling at you but that is where it will end. believe me, these kind of people do not have the courage for physical confrontation, especially when they do not know who’s side their fellow onlookers are on. they are all piss and wind and will generally scurry off when they’re challenged (or start abusing you for being an arab/asian/wog sympathiser).

    however if you sit there silently filming then the person on the receiving end of the abuse has every right to think you agree with what the knuckle dragger says

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