Frustrated With a Bus Driver on Afro Hair.

I had visited a friend in Daveyhulme whom I shall name her as Kay, on the 16th of April 2009.  I went in the evening and she wanted me to demonstrate to her children how to make small cakes.  It was a great opportunity for me; I always wanted to play with the children and doing some challenging activities.

When I arrived at her home I was welcomed with three Afro burbling girls ranging from 2 to eight years. They were all flashing their smiles to me that I felt home at once. My friend’s daughters are all brown in complexion and they have got dazzling African beauty hair. It’s pure natural hair with no chemicals on it.  That is why it is called Afro hair. I instantly fell in love with their hair that I wished I could cut down my own relaxed one and to let it grow naturally. Their mother noticed how I envied her daughters’ hair.  I looked at her and I saw her smiling. “Euna, I am actually proud of my daughters’ hair. When I went home in Botswana, I found most urban girls no longer interested in relaxing their hair but to maintain their natural Afro hair. It’s beautiful. I decided to let my children’s hair to grow naturally,” she said with profound tone. “I only use the hot comb to straighten it,” she continued with her conversation. I listened to every word she said and finally we all went to sleep.

The following day we rushed to the bus stop and we were all going to Manchester. She was with her eldest daughter whom she wanted to show her around Manchester town. The bus arrived and we go on to the bus. I flashed my own weekly bus pass.  I saw my friend paying her bus pass but not later, I overheard her conversation with the bus driver. She was a white female driver of a medium body size. Her age was between early forties to late forties.  “I can’t see her face,” I heard the bus driver shouting on top of her voice. Not knowing what was going between my friend and the female driver I turned around and smiled. I did not hear my friend’s respond because when it comes to speaking her voice is always low and she does not want to draw any attention, no matter how critical things are. Unlike me, I have big voice and I always want to speak facts as they are.

I went up stairs, followed by her daughter. We found our sits and relaxed on them.  It was not a while when my friend turned up.  Her face looked disappointed. I did not want to ask her, I waited for her to speak. It did not take long before she flooded into life. “Euna,” I’m actually disappointed that the bus driver did not believe me that my child is a girl. In her mind she thinks is a boy and that I, the mother of the child I’m lying. She even asked me to pay the bus for “him”.  Whenever I traveled with her, none of the drivers had ever asked me to pay for my daughter’s travel expenses except today,” she said.  I could easily understand her frustration.  “How much did you pay for her journey?” I asked her.  “80 pence,” she answered. “Is it for the whole day?” I asked her again. “No, the bus driver said she can’t have a bus day saver,” she replied.  “How could the bus driver, could not believe you that you are telling truth about the gender of your child. She thinks you could only lie to her so that you can not pay the 80 pence after all you are a fully qualified mid wife. What proof did she want to prove that you are telling the truth?” I found myself asking these questions but I was getting angry towards this arrogant driver.

“When, we get down, I am going to speak to her,” I told my friend. “No, no, Euna, please leave her alone,” she begged.  “How could you let things go like that, you have to speak your mind,” I said. “Euna, this is not the first time happening, whenever my husband travels with our girls, people always tell him how lovely are “his boys”. Even if they are wearing pink lovely attire, some white people always pin point them as boys and it also annoys my husband,” she said with a bitterness tone. “Probably they haven’t seen African people with their natural hair and they always think that if they are girls they should have their hair relaxed,” I added. When it was time to alight from the bus, I grabbed her daughter’s hand and went straight to the driver. “Driver, this child you are looking at is a pure girl not a boy as you think. You should have believed her own natural mother when she told you that her child is a girl,” I voiced. “I did not see her face,” argued the bus driver. “It is not on her face where you can truly identify the child’s gender,” I fired back.  I did not finish my conversation because we were already rushing for another bus. It was food for thought that a bus driver could not trust the mother of the child but use her own false judgment.  Was it because the mother was black and therefore everything of black is tarnished and full of lies. What kind of prejudice, in a world that moving from its past to a betterment world.


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