On the B52. A father walks in with his daughter. I know because as we pull up behind a Haagen Dazs truck she yells: "Daddy, ICE CREAAAAAAAM! Mmmmm." She proceeds to ask her father about the signs on the bus.
"Daddy, what does that say?"
"What does that say?"
"And what about that one?!"
Eventually she asks about the sign above the bus steps. Her father says, "No smoking. No eating or drinking. No music."
She asks, "Why can't you eat on the bus?"
"Because the sign says so."
"But why?" she presses.
"Because if it spills it'd be too difficult to clean. Or it may smell too strong."
She says, "Daddy, they aren't following the rules."
He chuckles, "They are having coffee and in the morning, if they're careful, adults are allowed to have coffee."
I look around to see 5 people standing around her and three in seats nearby, all with various liquids in hand. Must of us are laughing silently.
The lies begin.
THEN... as if that wasn't enough to make me think about the damage we are doing to our children, I get on the train.
Three brown boys. Apparently the Black American child is sitting across from the two African boys on their way to a field trip. He asks them, "Can y'all rhyme?"
"Yeah," one responds, indignant.
"Then do it."
"Wait, I have to think of my rhyme first."
"Awe," he teases, "you can't rhyme. You got a big stomach / like the African republic."
The two boys are wide-eyed. One appears to be rhyming, but the train car is too loud for me to hear.
The African Republic Emcee educates them, "You have to rhyme the words and it has to make sense. That didn't rhyme or make sense."
The Big Stomach Emcee lowers his eyes.
I ask one of the chaperones, "What grade are they in?" I am guessing second or third. She affirms my first thought.
I think of K'naan, Wale, Nneka, Afrykan (producer) and Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi's Homegrown and shake my head. There are plenty I am unaware of, and that thought makes me wanna cry.
Another day with the MTA.