By Teka Lark (February 8, 2016)
I took the bus for five years. Yes, I know some people take the bus all the time and it isn’t a choice, but a necessity. I acknowledge my time on public transit began as a sick, twisted, conceptual art project that ended with me having a greater understanding of not just LA, but of class, race, gender and cemented in my head that the police truly are awful, but moving from my Indochine Camille like awakening.
I remember taking the 76. I loved the 76. It was very US. It was filled with working class Asian and Latina women going to work. The first time I rode it I was very disturbed owing to being questioned by the police AGAIN owing to the fact if you are Black and don’t have on a Securitas uniform or a boring pants suit then you must be a prostitute, which is illegal in L.A.
A sweet old woman asked me, “What is wrong?”
I explained my regular run in with LAPD.
“You look nice. They are prejudice. You look nice. You don’t look nasty at all,” interjected a woman in a uniform sitting by the window.
“I don’t know how you walk in heels all day, but you look nice,” said another woman standing in the aisle.
I always felt safe with these women, like we could all protect each other –at least against most things.
One day this rude guy came on the bus. He began sexually harassing all of us. The guy bus driver did nothing. Then asshole came on a second day, did the same thing the bus driver said nothing. This went on for an entire week.
On week two a white woman got on the bus. She was nicely dressed. She was dressed just like me.
At around Union Station, asshole got on the bus. The rest of us tried to tell her to move, because she was sitting in the area he claimed, but she did not know the signals.
Asshole saw fresh meat, but then something happened; as asshole began to sexually harass her, the bus driver said to him, “You can not do that on my bus. You have to get off.”
All of us, the women of color, just stared at each other with our mouths open.
I whispered, “Now the OTHER asshole wants to play gentleman.”
The white woman thanked the bus driver for being so nice.
She got off the bus and never looked back at us.
I wonder what the woman wrote on her blog the day she was harassed on the bus.