Photo of a drawing of a metro car and a police officer tasing a man in a dustbin.
When we shared "discrimination" as a prompt for our Monday Illustration group to solicit art for this story, it happened to be June 24, the day after a Metro Transit Police Department officer shoved and tased a man who was trying to advocate for a couple of young handcuffed boys in the U Street Metro station. Every submission from our artists that day included a metro car, an officer, and pain. (tinyurl.com/u-st-taser). Illustrations by Ayub Abdul and Queenie L Featherstone, Artists/Vendors

How it feels to be an adult and get hassled for your lunch money 

By Andre Brinson, Artist/Vendor

I smile to make humor out of ignorance. And that’s all I could do one day at Subway.   

I wanted a sandwich, so I walked in with a smile on my face and said, “Hello. I ordered my sandwich, and the guy behind the counter said I’d have to pay first 

Now, anyone that’s been to a Subway sandwich shop knows they ask you what you want — starting with the bread and going down the line with the meat, cheese and other toppings — and make the sandwich behind the glass as you watch. When it is finished, they bag it up and ring you up for the purchase. 

Needless to say, I couldn’t believe this guy! Why should I be treated differently than any other customer? Obviously, he must have thought I looked like I couldn’t or wouldn’t pay for my meal. And sadly, my first thought was, “Not again.  

I’ve known the long-term employees at this particular store a long time. They’ve never had any problems with me. But the new people always seem to present me with problems.  

I stayed cool, not wanting to wake my temper. As I talked with the guy behind the counter, another came from the back and whispered something to the worker about me. This tells me that the managers need to train their people better – especially when it comes to discrimination. I just wanted to buy a sandwich. 

[Read More: In March, Andre wrote about about a similar experience at a Potbelly restaurant]


Discrimination  

By Ken Martin, Artist/Vendor  

I am actively and passively discriminated against daily. That is one thing that I anticipate as part of “my life’s auto challenge.” Since age 4 (kindegarten), there has not been a day to my recollection without a reminder of my hue. Some days more than others. 

When I vend this paper, I am frequently prejudged by passersby, assuming I am soliciting paper sales (there is a difference). Quite often, the response to a “good morning” greeting with a friendly tip of my cap or hat is “No. Thank you!” 

Imagine preferring NOT to have a good morning. Now  that’s a discriminating extreme if there ever was one!


Read about Councilmember Grosso’s proposed bill to expand anti-discrimination protections to people experiencing homelessness.