Robert Hampton, American Renaissance, May 21, 2019
An author lost a book deal last week for a trivial reason: She noticed a DC public transit worker violating transit rules.
Writer Natasha Tynes tweeted on May 10: “When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train. I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds. When I asked the employee about this, her response was, ‘worry about yourself.’ ” The tweet included a picture of the black WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) employee eating.
Miss Tynes was right—no one is supposed to eat in the train—but her tweet set off an avalanche of accusations of racism. “Eating while Black,” sneered black University of New Hampshire professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein.
The Root called Miss Tynes “Natasha the Snitch” and celebrated Black Twitter’s campaign of vitriol against her. The article was filed under the category: “Snitches Get Black Twitter Stitches.” “If, by chance, you are ever tempted to call the authorities on a black person for doing something that absolutely affects no one, such as eating or inhaling oxygen, ask yourself these three questions: 1) Why? 2) No, seriously. Why? 3) What the fuck, man? Why?” Michael Harriot wrote.
Mr. Harriot also complained that Miss Tynes had no tweets about “police brutality, racism or inequality.”
The outrage threatens Miss Tynes’s livelihood. On the very day of her notorious tweet, Rare Bird Books said it would not distribute her upcoming novel, They Call Me Wyatt. Rare Bird was appalled that anyone would mistreat a “marginalized” person: “Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behavior directed toward them and a constant policing of their bodies. We think this is unacceptable and have no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to jeopardize a person’s safety and employment in this way.”
The company urged Miss Tynes’s publisher, California Coldblood, to cancel the book. The publisher announced it would hold off on publication, noting: “We do not condone her actions and hope Natasha learns from this experience that black women feel the effects of systemic racism the most and that we all have to be allies, not oppressors.”
One of the ironies in this little flap is that Miss Tynes is Jordanian-American and markets herself as a “minority writer.” She has now learned that there is a hierarchy of non-white privilege and that her “minority” status was trumped by the queen of spades: a black woman.
One person who dared defend Miss Tynes was the popular Twitter account Unsuck DC Metro, which caustically recounts the many failures of DC public transportation. It wrote that the incident was typical of WMATA’s poor service and bad employees. Local reporters—who had previously used the account as a source—then doxed the account, which was run by a journalist at a prominent publication.
The message: Don’t you dare criticize black transit workers. They can break the rules, but you can’t. Keep quiet or you’ll lose your job. The WMATA union defended the black employee who ate on the train.
The WMATA workforce, which now must not be criticized, runs one of America’s most hated public transit systems. Problems have led to a mountain of rider complaints. WMATA refused a request made by Unsuck DC Metro to release its 2018 customer service survey—a sure sign of how much its riders hate it.
WMATA also has a crime problem. It was reported last year that thugs as young as 10 commit serious crimes in the subway. These criminal incidents include a gang that beat a gay couple after they tried to stop a robbery and a 14-year-old charged with assaulting a police officer. The service is so bad many residents have given up on the system.
Ninety-seven percent of bus and train operators are black. The Washington Times reported in 2012 that WMATA discriminates against the few white workers it has and promotes incompetent blacks. A white man with an advanced degree was passed over for promotion in favor of a barely literate black. Black workers are typically paid more than white employees. (For a contrasting view, see AmRen article “White Man in a Black Transit System,” which argues that there are few whites in the system because fancy DC-area whites don’t want to start as bus drivers.)
Despite WMATA’s “vibrant” workforce, in 2014, blacks sued because the system would not hire applicants with criminal records. This had a “disparate impact” on blacks because they are more likely than whites to have records. In 2017, WMATA lost that case, but is now back in court trying to win the right to do background checks on current employees. Service is not likely to improve if the system is forced to hire ex-cons.
Unlike WMATA, Washington is getting whiter. The new arrivals are mostly urban professionals who overwhelmingly liberal (Hillary Clinton got 91 percent of DC’s vote in 2016). They may put Black Lives Matter signs on their lawns, but they still complain about black-run transit. These liberal professionals pay a lot of money to live in the area and expect good service.
The flap over a trivial tweet illustrates the conflict between DC’s black residents and its largely white professionals. Black locals don’t like the new arrivals. Most of them hate gentrification, and anti-gentrification protests have drawn thousands. They don’t care that the new arrivals explain why the city went from “murder capital” to boomtown.
Even though there are fewer blacks in the city, they still have tremendous power. For the past 50 years, every mayor has been black. The attorney general is black, and so is most of the city council. The police department is majority black. With leadership like this, WMATA’s workforce is likely to stay black and incompetent, and white riders will just have to deal with it.
The city doesn’t even want to punish fare beaters. The city council voted last November to decriminalize the offense because blacks were the overwhelming majority of turnstile-jumpers. Blacks can now ride free while white professionals pay more to make up for lost revenue.
Washington’s affluent whites keep complaining about WMATA, but they would never dare talk about race. They don’t want to lose their jobs for the crime of noticing.