makar [ˈmækər]
n (Literature / Poetry) Scot a creative artist, esp a poet
[a Scot variant of maker]

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A little tale of prejudice...

Today, I caught the bus to school with my three kids, just as we do most days. We hopped off at the train station, so that I could buy a new Smartrider card (mine had a crack in it and wouldn't work). When I reached the kiosk, the woman serving was chatting to a bus driver, presumably on his break. I asked her for a new Smartrider and she immediately pulled out a form. My heart sank - surely I didn't need to fill in a form just to get a replacement card. "Do you have your Centrelink card?" she said. "Uh no, I have a Medicare card..." "No, a Centrelink card for your concession." "I don't qualify for a concession," I replied. At which point, she turned to the bus driver and said: "Oh she's got so many kids, I thought she'd get a concession." Once I had my card, the bus driver asked me if I needed any help using it. I told him, "No thanks, we take the bus to school everyday". To which she said: "Oh you go to school," and looked right at me, still I guess trying to give me a concession. "No, I don't go to school - these two [kids] go to school," I responded. And that was that.

It took me a while to process this bizarre little encounter. That the woman assumed I would qualify for a concession because I have "so many" kids and we use public transport; that she spoke to the bus driver about me, rather than directly to me; that she thought that I went to school (I'm 34 and looked every year of it and some today) rather than my children. It was so odd that I didn't really get pissed off at the time, but the more I thought about, the angrier it made me feel.

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