The Race Card: Who would you be more afraid of?

As Bike Commuters we ride through different parts of the city in various neighborhoods. In my commute, I travel through two extremes in the standard of living. I first ride through a middle class neighborhood, then go through a super low income neighborhood and end up in an upper class neighborhood.. In my ride, I often see all types of people, white, Latino, and Asians. With a mix of people that I see, I’m not quite sure who I should be more cautious around…the white folks, the Latinos or Asians?

What about you?

Should you be afraid of this guy?

Or this guy?

What about this guy?

9 Comments

  1. Moe May 16, 2007 5:47 am 

    All of the above

  2. Eric May 16, 2007 7:24 am 

    My commute takes me through seven different cities and towns along the Connecticut coastline. I see the very same thing. Although some of the poorer neighborhoods look like they have some pretty tough characters, for the most part, in the morning anyway, they all look like they are getting ready for work. In the nicer areas, I pass by Bentley and Maserati dealerships. Honestly, I am probably more concerned about the people with self-important attitudes who buy into the whole “If I spend more than what you make in a year on this car I am invincible” nonsense. They are reckless drivers who ought to know better.

    As far as who I would be afraid of in the pictures. Definitely the last guy. He scares the Be-Jeepers out of me… …just kidding… :)

  3. RL Policar May 16, 2007 8:02 am 

    I get kinda uncomfortable when I pull up to a car load of gangstas that are blasting their music…

  4. Bruce Alan Wilson May 16, 2007 8:35 am 

    Actually, I get more nervous around the White Trash types than anything else. The African-Americans, even the most thuggish-looking, generally leave me alone, as do the Asians and Hispanics, but the mouth-breathing, tobacco-spitting, cousin-humping, gravy-sucking, sheet-wearing yahoos have given me the most trouble.

  5. Mark Hastings May 16, 2007 9:21 am 

    I am most concerned around affluent neighborhood and schools. Any gathering of a large group of people just hanging around or driving around is a bad situation regardless of what they people look like or where they are from. In my experience I get alot more harrasment whether through voice, horns, running of road or thrown objects in nicer areas by white people (of which I am one of)
    I have commuted in Connecticut through bridgeport (poor city one of the worse schools in the country) to fairfield (rich town great shools) and was always more concerned about the drivers and people in fairfield then the drivers and people in bridgeport. In texas I feel the same way. Now locking up my bicyle is another thing. I’d really be worried about parking my bike in a bad area however I’m not so concerned if I can lock it in a really nice area. That comes from experience also where at the bridgeport trainstation I’d have stuff stolen off my bike alot and in fairfield I never had a single problem.

  6. Ghost Rider May 16, 2007 9:24 am 

    Hey, you’re bad-mouthing my neighbors!

    Seriously, I ride through some rough neighborhoods — it’s how I got the nickname “Ghost Rider”, since I am often the only white boy on a bike in these neighborhoods…an older gentleman told me “I thought I seen a ghost” when I passed him early one morning!!!

    It doesn’t matter what color, creed or political preference a person has, but I am most concerned about groups — the kind of groups that hang out on the corners looking for trouble. If I see a group of kids near my route, I’ll get as far out into the lane as I can and prepare myself for battle (if necessary). I’ve heard too many “bike jacking” stories to be comfortable passing a gang of kids!!!

  7. Val May 16, 2007 10:34 am 

    The person to be afraid of is the one driving the delivery truck that’s about to turn in front of you without slowing down (see story above)! I find that healthy respect, caution, common sense and extreme aletrness do me much more good than fear. In fact, fear can undermine confidence, and confidence will help you through rough situations. A lot of drivers yell at me, but I just find it amusing – they must be frustrated and jealous. Of course, it may help that I look at least as scary as anyone in your photos (check the Bikes & Riders gallery at bicyclefixation.com for a good shot of me). I think that tight lycra tends to enrage some people.

  8. Mason May 16, 2007 9:43 pm 

    I ride in to work from the suburbs into what cold be considered a bad part of the city. And when I get asked about it by our mostly white upper middle class customers if I feel safe riding though this neighborhood. I usually tell them that I’m not worried because 1.) I’m on a bike and 2.) any problems I’ve encountered ( oblivious pedestrians, oblivious door openers, harassment from drivers, horn honking, yelling about sidewalks ,etc.) all tend to happen when I’m in “nicer? neighborhoods. I think this is because drivers in the city are used to larger numbers of people walking, crossing the street , using public transportation. Than in the suburbs where the “get out of my way I’m in car? mentality seems to exist.
    As far as riding through bad parts of town though I recently rode through a somewhat sketchy neighborhood to get downtown to meet my friends. Even though they suggested I use a longer and safer route my “oh grow up, racists“ thought process combined with my militant ‘share the road, bikes belong here just as much as cars“, mentality led my taking the ill advised short cut. Now I thought nothing of it until I casually mentioned my weekend ride to a black co-worker who told be that I shouldn’t ride down that street unless I wanted everything but my spandex stolen.

  9. Mason May 16, 2007 9:45 pm 

    I ride in to work from the suburbs into what could be considered a bad part of the city. And when I get asked about it by our mostly white upper middle class customers if I feel safe riding though this neighborhood. I usually tell them that I’m not worried because 1.) I’m on a bike and 2.) any problems I’ve encountered ( oblivious pedestrians, oblivious door openers, harassment from drivers, horn honking, yelling about sidewalks ,etc.) all tend to happen when I’m in “nicer? neighborhoods. I think this is because drivers in the city are used to larger numbers of people walking, crossing the street , using public transportation. Than in the suburbs where the “get out of my way I’m in car? mentality seems to exist.
    As far as riding through bad parts of town though I recently rode through a somewhat sketchy neighborhood to get downtown to meet my friends. Even though they suggested I use a longer and safer route my “oh grow up, racists“ thought process combined with my militant ‘share the road, bikes belong here just as much as cars“, mentality led my taking the ill advised short cut. Now I thought nothing of it until I casually mentioned my weekend ride to a black co-worker who told me that I shouldn’t ride down that street unless I wanted everything but my spandex stolen.

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