2017-10-13 / Commentary

Bigoted Drivers

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation
Mike Cox

I drove to Alabama back in May while I-85 and I-20 were closed. The traffic flow brain trust decided to reroute everyone to the north loop around Atlanta. This added an extra two hours to my trip. I decided during lulls that a better way home was a must. Google Maps made it easy. Saved myself over an hour. It would have been more had I not been pulled over by a local constable.

I saw him in my mirror while maneuvering through speeding, disinterested, distracted, and entitled drivers. He was following a guy driving while overloaded on testosterone; at least I thought he was.

Instead, the officer got behind me. I pulled into a gas station. He followed. The local deputy, smiling the whole time, asked pleasantly for my license as I tried to remember anything questionable I’d done since Villa Rica.

He nicely explained they typically look out for South Carolina tags because those guys are more likely to have issues with registration. I was flabbergasted. Everyone knows drivers from Georgia are the most questionable in the former Confederacy.

We all have issues with bigotry. There are many among us who think because they are members of a minority, sensitive to others’ needs, or just able to look past all such things, that bigotry doesn’t appear in their worldview.

That is BS. We are all descended from creatures who valued Us over Them in nearly every circumstance. We instinctively form groups that we are comfortable with. We separate because of race, sex, religion, where we live, who we cheer for. Anyone who disagrees should check out the 1966 documentary One Million Years BC starring Raquel Welch. Those folks had a dust up over hair color.

And now we’ve added politics. Congress, the folks who’ve made every change in this country since inception, have consistently blamed problems on various others, usually different from their voting base. And we all buy into that.

But one of our favorite places for bigotry exists on our highways. Various drivers swear that old ladies, young girls, teens with backwards baseball caps, and Mercedes drivers are all the worst possible opponent on the asphalt. And Asians.

It seems Asian drivers have long been characterized as awful drivers by nearly everyone else. There are no reliable statistics that verify this but some believe it. Religiously. A prankster even reprogrammed a caution sign last month in Oregon to warn motorists about Asians driving instead of the road construction it was supposed to be highlighting. Twitter users were deeply offended.

Many took the time to express thoughtful examples of how Asians weren’t bad drivers, but some other group is. Which is still singling out someone. Bigotry is bigotry, no matter who links a large collection of people into one group and accuses them of anything, driving included.

We could learn a lot about bigotry, tribalism, and exclusionary practice by studying drivers. How we behave while seemingly isolated would speak volumes about our true beliefs and motives. A hidden dash camera could capture the real feelings of politicians and other role model possibilities.

And dash-cams would confirm how bad those Georgia drivers really are.

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