Race (A Muse) Author: TriSecDate:09/27/2020 20:43:34
It has been three weeks since I drove my last tour in Boston. I've been in training in Framingham, killing time while I waited for my background checks to clear.
Last week, I got word that everything has been approved, and I very quickly got my driving privileges and have been out there learning routes.
I'm starting to make some interesting observations among our drivers. In Boston, driving for tourists, we had an overwhelming majority of white, middle-aged men. I was a hiring manager for a while there, and while I tried really hard to be fair and objective, the sad truth of the matter was that anyone with English as a second language was almost a universal "Thanks for trying". I hired a few drivers with mild and/or minor accents - but I was the outlier. Of course, all of that training pipeline detonated in the Covid fury, so all those folks are gone now anyway. Even rarer was a female driver. In three years of driving trollies, we had precisely three lady drivers. I also tried to change that, and hired three more, but their training was never completed either.
Out here at the Transit Authority - middle-aged white drivers are a distinct minority. While I barely consider myself to be "white" (I have been putting "Asian/Pacific Islander" on my demographics for decades now), there aren't many light-skinned guys in the drivers' seat in Framingham.
But the curious thing is...there's perhaps some racism on what white America considers "the other side". I now work with a lot of Haitian drivers, as well as two legitimate Africans, and a handful of Black guys. These are not my terms - this is what these gentlemen and ladies call each other. I'm not sure what it means, but I did find it interesting. It appears that skin color is less of a characteristic than where your ancestral homeland is.
We've got a few Eastern Europeans too - a couple of Russian guys, a Greek gentleman, and everybody's 'favorite' driver, a person we refer to as the "Angry Hebrew Guy". (Legitimately from Israel.)
It's certainly a different dynamic from driving tourists around in circles and talking about history all day.