Cycling can be a two edged blade.
As much as you are out on the bicycle improving your life, you are also cursed to interact with others in a more direct capacity. Even if it is in passing, being yelled at or berated for desiring to ride can hit one quite hard. I have done close to 18000 miles in Florida and throughout that, I dealt with a massive amount of stupidity and name calling. Yet today I was hit with something different.
I have had moments where I wondered if a walker might attempt to force me into a position I don’t want to be in. I have had to swerve to avoid hitting people. But, a concern I have is having somebody try to rush me. The idea of somebody trying to force me to crash so they can take my bike is a concern that felt irrational. And yet, today confirmed that fear.
More or less, I had decided on doing a quick ride out to the store to pick up something to drink. As I rounded one of the corners there was a group of 4 guys. They were walking along the sidewalk. They looked like they were having a good time. But one of them took a look at me and prepped to rush me like 3 times. I stared him down as I went through the corner. I cut out of the turn like I normally, and as I am going up the road he shouts “N***a drop that bike bitch. Imma smash yo n***a face in.”
I’m the only guy on the street on the bike and obviously he was being a jackass. I was just going to keep riding, but I figured hey, why not just respond. I didn’t usher an insult or inspired hatred. I have learned more than a few time that it is easier to just make them shut up. Education is a better route to go. I said, “You know, that word is an insult towards the victim and the one who used it.” I wasn’t riding particularly fast due to the incline so I had the time.
Suddenly, he goes off yelling about how I was a “pussy bitch” and “fucking n***a cracka.” I mean, he called me quite a few things and used the word n***a to where it had lost all traditional meaning. He was trying to get his friends to come after me, though they wanted nothing to do with.
They were looking at him like he was a moron. He comes running after me and I pulled out my phone which I knew would be more than enough to shut this whole thing down. He immediately stops and turns shouting about how “His bitch ass is calling the Feds.” I smirked and shook my head as I looked at my phone.
I’ve been there before, I knew what to do.
I could have pulled out my bike lock and beat his ignorant ass into the ground, or made matters worse. Instead I got ready to let the cops deal with a guy who was hoping for trouble. After all, my tax dollars and this guy’s tax dollars might as well go towards stopping trouble. If I would have had to call, I would have asked that they just let the guy’s mom take care of it. I bet she would have whipped his ass raw. My parents would have probably done that had I been the aggressor, of course my parents would have let the cops have me after. Instead he was smart enough and turned around.
He joined his friends again and I kept riding.
I made my trip quick at the grocery store and came home. The guys were nowhere in sight despite being on my route. What really pissed me off about the whole thing, is this is the second time I have dealt with ignorance in this state. So far most people have been charming or lovely. I dealt with people like that back in Florida.
In fact I was so accustomed to that, when I was hit by a car and the person stopped to see if I was okay I got ready to fight the guy. No joke. That is what it is like in Florida. Yet here, I seem to get angry with drivers more often than not because they don’t drive aggressively enough. But both times I have dealt with people being ignorant or stupid one that particular road (its really the only way to the grocery store…) I just was left wondering why people think they can be so entitled and foolish with their actions.
Honestly, the idea of somebody calling me any iteration of the n word is just sad. I am of the mindset that it does display ignorance. And having a black guy who was obviously trying to act as if he was from the hood is just shameful. How many individuals are currently fighting to help rid us of racial stereotyping and deal with the problems facing everyone, and yet I find myself insulted with the very word that would and should be criminal to use because of the hatred it inspires.
I may be white (though in truth, I am kitchen sink if anything,) yet that doesn’t mean I want to deal with somebody insulting me and threatening to steal my bike from me. It shouldn’t grant my passive acceptance of that behavior. And now when I encounter it, I call people out on it. People deserve to be.
Hell, I want somebody to call me out on my shit when I trespass on it.
I dunno. I guess I am still just a little salty about the occasion. I hope everyone has a better day. Try to enjoy it.