YOU’RE NORMAL IF YOU’RE WHITE & SPEAK ENGLISH
By Akin Ojumu
Deservedly, James Bode, a local Pennsylvania Lyft ride-share driver, has gone viral for calling out racism during a recent ride. Bode, who himself is white, was on the job two weeks ago when he picked up a couple outside the Fossil Last Stand, a bar near Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The female passenger, named Jackie, was the first to get into the backseat. As she was sliding in to make room for the male passenger, Jackie was thrilled to find that the driver was white. She expressed her delight by saying,
“Wow! You are a white guy.”
The Lyft driver, James, who initially appeared not to have heard what Jackie said asked her courteously,
Not understanding how inopportune her comments were, Jackie went on to restate for the driver what she initially said,
“You are like a white guy.”
Having now fully grasped Jackie’s prejudiced commentary, Bode, who was visibly shocked, quizzically responded,
Still totally clueless that she has put her white foot in her big racist mouth, Jackie can be heard cheerily saying in a video of the exchange,
“You are like a normal guy…like you speak English.”
She then went on to pat Bode on the shoulders as though not meaning to offend his whiteness and English prowess, saying,
At this point, an exasperated James Bode has had enough. He was not going to let this ignorant expression of racism slide even if it meant him losing the fare.
Politely he told the couple,
“That's okay, you can get out of the car. I'm not gonna take the ride.”
Shocked at being told to get out, Jackie asked in amazement,
Still in shock and incredulous, Jackie asked again,
Bode told her one more time,
“That’s completely inappropriate.”
He then added,
“If somebody not white was sitting on this seat, what would be the difference?”
Jackie could still not believe what was happening. She asked,
“Are you serious?”
The male passenger, who at this point hadn’t entered the vehicle, was infuriated at being confronted for their bigotry. He exploded and went a racial tirade, throwing racial epithet at James Bode.
“You are a piece of sh*t,” he yelled.
“I should punch you in the f****g face,” he threatened.
“You are a f*****g a**hole…f*****g nigger lover,” he bellowed.
Still, the man wasn’t done. As he slammed the door, he left with a parting shot,
Kudos to James Bode for standing up to prejudiced rednecks and for showing the world how to confront bigotry. You see, it isn’t enough to express displeasure at racism. To combat intolerance, we must go much further than mere sloganeering or signing social media petitions.
Whenever you encounter racists, don’t coddle ‘em. Any run in you have with bigots should leave ‘em uncomfortable and discombobulated. Forcefully rebuffing racial prejudices is the civic duty of every citizen in a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society.
This encounter also makes me wonder about what must be going on in the minds of black people or Africans who are conservatives and are dyed in the wool supporters of a political party that’s made up, predominantly, of bigots and racial ideologues.
Now, the penchant for self-immolation by people like Ben Carson and Rafael Cruz is understandable. Because they want to be POTUS, they won’t mind making a fool of themselves just to get what they want.
What I don’t get, however, are Africans – read that as Nigerians – whose necks are redder than Rednecks. These are folks who have never been to America, and in fact, the farthest from their villages many of these have gone in their lifetime is a trip to Lagos. Yet, they are more passionate about making America great again than even Americans themselves, and they are at the forefront of the battle to kill Critical Race Theory.
It’s kind of jarring really, the juxtaposition of James Bode’s encounter with the racist couple and the mindset of African MAGA lovers, when you think of it.