Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Itʼs bad enough that many of us have to take a bus to get to our cars. A downfall of the bus is that it is sometimes crowded, and you may have to—gasp—sit with a stranger.Standing at the front of the bus, uttering a sigh, I look around for someone to sit with who is not scary-looking or who seems impersonal. Itʼs not that I donʼt like strangers; itʼs that many other people donʼt. Many times, I sit with someone I would not normally sit with for fun. The other day, this turned on me. I sat down next to a stereotypical jock-looking guy, who was obviously friends with the other three guys sitting in the seats around him. I could tell that he was not particularly enthused that someone sat next to him.

I try not to stereotype people. I would like to think that jocks are not the stereotype of being dumb or rude or callous. However, he and his friends proved themselves to be models of this stereotype. I was not eavesdropping on these conversations; they were shouting across the aisle of the bus and many people could hear.

They proved it to me with the first comment: that one of the girls who just got on the bus supposedly had “a beard thicker than [his].” Hopefully this young woman didnʼt hear this rude and insensitive comment. Just another case of discrimination against someone who is genderqueer.

Who cares if a person who may look like a woman has a beard? A second instance that proved these boys to be rude Neanderthals was a conversation about pulling down and running over a “Kerry for President” yard sign. Nice to know they respect freedom of speech. I really wanted
to say something about this, but it wasnʼt exactly a comfortable situation: three against one.

I know there are many “jocks” who are not like this; jocks who are kind-hearted, warm, intelligent, and hopefully some who even cry. Maybe they werenʼt even “jocks.” I know I am stereotyping them. They most likely stereotyped me. One thingʼs for sure: they didnʼt leave a good impression on me. But Iʼm sure they could care less about what impression they make on anyone else (or so it seems).

I was so enraged after getting off the bus. To think that people would be so rude as to loudly make a comment to their friends about a strangerʼs looks-I thought that was only done in high school. What if someone
sitting around them knew the person they were referencing?

I wish that everyone could have compassion. I would like to think that the world is getting better, but encounters with people such as this disprove that theory. It is unfortunate that I did not have the nerve to stand up to them and express my feeling that they were being so rude and callous. I wouldnʼt yell at them (two wrongs donʼt make a right),
but maybe I could have let them know that what they were doing was highly offensive. To publicly insult someone they didnʼt know, and to brag loudly about ripping out someoneʼs lawn sign smacks of arrogance and breeds ignorance.

On a side note about the stealing of political signs, it seems that only the Kerry signs are being taken down. I believe this is not because there are more Bush supporters, but because there are not enough immature,
rude Kerry supporters to take down Bush signs. I know there are good people who support Bush. Please send out a memo and tell the others to stop being jerks by taking down peoplesʼ signs.

The moral of the story is to ask yourself: Is it that difficult to avoid being mean to people? We should all work to not be rude, commit small acts of kindness, and as the movie says, “Pay it forward.” One kind act a day by
everyone would make a world of difference.

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