It’s that time of year again, when Tea baggers gather in Washington, D.C. to celebrate civil rights. Brings back memories of last year’s Beck rally My sister-in-law was in town, attending a conference. Several Tea partiers approached her and other white people in her hotel to join them at the Beck event. In fact, they approached pretty much every person according to my sister-in-law. Well except one. He happened to be African American.
At the time, I left room for the ever so tiny possibility that maybe this was just a coincidence. A year has passed and many more coincidences have occurred. After awhile, coincidences add up to a pattern of behavior. But I feel sorry for the Tea baggers because they live in a scary world, in which Muslims, black people, brown people, poor people, gays, taxi drivers and wait people from Africa and “Arab Countries” are dangerous. The Safety and Mores section of Andrew Ian Dodge’s travel guide says it, so it must be true. Right? Well judge for yourself. This is what Mr. Dodge has to say about Safety and Mores in Washington, D.C.
Safety and Mores
DC’s population includes refugees from every country, as the families of embassy staffs of third world countries tend to stay in DC whenever a revolution in their homeland means that anyone in their family would be in danger if they went back. Most taxi drivers and many waiters/waitresses (especially in local coffee shops like the Bread and Chocolate chain) are immigrants, frequently from east Africa or Arab countries. As a rule, African immigrants do not like for you to assume they are African Americans and especially do not like for you to guess they are from a neighboring country (e.g. Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia) with whom they may have political or military tensions. It’s rare to meet anyone who gets really offended, but you can still be aware of the issue.
Many parts of DC are safe beyond the areas I will list here, but why chance it if you don’t know where you are?
If you are on the subway stay on the Red line between Union Station and Shady Grove, Maryland. If you are on the Blue or Orange line do not go past Eastern Market (Capitol Hill) toward the Potomac Avenue stop and beyond; stay in NW DC and points in Virginia. Do not use the Green line or the Yellow line. These rules are even more important at night. There is of course nothing wrong with many other areas; but you don’t know where you are, so you should not explore them.
If on foot or in a cab or bus, stay in Bethesda, Arlington (preferably north Arlington), Crystal City, Falls Church, Annandale, or Alexandria, or in DC only in northwest DC west (i.e. larger street numbers) of 14th or 16th streets, or if on Capitol Hill only in SE Capitol Hill (zip 20003) between 1st and 8th Streets, not farther out than 8th (e.g. 9th, 10th etc). (Or stay on the Mall and at the various monuments.) Again there are many other lovely places, from the Catholic University of America to Silver Spring, Maryland. But you don’t know where you are so you cannot go, especially at night, unless you take me with you.
Well, Tea baggers will be faced with a couple of problems in their effort to avoid immigrants, black people, gays, or … gasp…. poor people and liberals. For example: Dodge also advises Tea Partiers that if they go on the orange line, they should not go beyond the Eastern Mark stop which is in . .. gasp, SE.
Since Tea Partiers are such passionate defenders of the constitution you would think they would want to see it, right? Doing so would violate Dodge’s travel rules because the constitution is housed at the National Archives which has a NW address but is only accessible by the forbidden yellow and green lines.
A bit of advice to members of the Tea Party: If you’re tired of being called racists, then stop acting like racists.