TW. Ableism/Classism, Holocaust
Many of us, especially those not from Southern California, wish we could spend some time outside the Claremont bubble. One popular way of doing this is by going to Los Angeles. While many of us have taken the Metrolink to Downtown LA, fewer of us have taken the Metro Blue Line. This article is a way of giving you the facts on this train, before you get scared senseless by reading Yelp reviews.
Yelp MTA Blue Line Reviews are the epitome of what happens when people (mostly White) are sheltered their whole lives and do not know how to deal with PUBLIC transportation and the fact that there are people of color there. This is not only about race, as sheltered people live everywhere, but it is true that the Blue Line is populated by mostly people of color. It is the service hundreds of thousands of people use to travel from Downtown LA into South LA and Long Beach. And get this: Most of them are hard workers, and use the line only to get from Point A to Point B. And yet the Yelp reviews will say “most” people are loud or ready to shoot you.
Yes, there are mentally ill people on the train, as well as other eccentric characters. I remember a man who would take out his glass eye and show it to me as a child. And let’s not forget Black Santa asking for pot brownies and Jack Daniels for Christmas after selling us finger lights. However, we cannot ban them; this is public transportation and they have as much of a right to be there as anyone else. And if there are ever people who get too out of hand, there is always a conductor and police force, especially when going through the areas of Compton and Florence.
If I were to take the time to answer to every Yelp Blue Line Review that is racist, classist and ableist, we would all be here a very long time. This is why the following two reviews are but a snapshot. In the first one, I would like to draw attention to the phrase, “Most of its riders demonstrate urban poverty at its worst...” And what exactly is urban poverty at its best? In addition, even if you knew nothing about the Blue Line coming into this, there is no way that saying the riders were “raised by wolves and vending machines” does not raise red flags.
The next review is just as terrible, as the author writes, “It also seemed as we were in a concentration train heading to Auschwitz” without a second thought. Response to that: No. There is no reason to complain seeing black and brown people on a train to the Holocaust. It is not that bad. Ever. Both of these reviews show that there are huge amounts of segregation in this city, with people here who are surprised that Los Angeles has poor people. There are legitimate reasons to complain about the Metro LA Blue line, such as train delays and overcrowding (of which there is a lot), but this is not one of them. On the contrary, the Blue Line can offer an environmentally friendly way to quickly reach Downtown Long Beach, shopping areas, and cultural monuments for only $1.50. All you have to do is be respectful and willing to mingle with people you wouldn’t normally.
All in all, riding public transportation in Los Angeles is one of the best ways you can get to know the city. There really is a new way of seeing it when not in the confines of an individual car. But like LeVar Burton says on the show Reading Rainbow, “Don’t take my word for it!”
*Eduardo Villa Jr, besides being Nancy’s BF, is an Anthropology student at California State University Long Beach (CSULB), and has been a proud Blue Line commuter for four years.