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Radio + Race = Near Riot

Thanks to jmonll2 for sharing this amazing story. He/she took the accompanying pix of the incident with his/her cell phone.

I thought I'd seen everything since I moved to Chicago about 8 months ago, but yesterday topped them all off. I was riding the Red Line Train, going to Morse. It was about 9:30 pm and I was coming  from Midway Airport after picking up my in-laws and a friend.

Moorelookalike_1 This was the first time my in-laws had visited us since we moved here and  their first time in Chicago. Our friend is 12 years old and it was  his first time in a plane, in Chicago and out of his country, Puerto Rico. At Berwyn, the conductor announced that we would go express all the way to Loyola because of some construction that was going on in the Bryn Mawr, Granville & Thorndale stations.

We were seated at the north end of the train in the southward facing seats. The train was pretty full with almost all of the seats taken. Around Thorndale, we could slowly hear some music starting to get louder. Initially I thought "someone must have their iPod really turned to the max," but as the music started getting louder realized it must be someone with a small radio.

This was corroborated when a white, slightly overweight man, who looked like Michael Moore told someone in sitting in the seats next to the door to turn the radio off. The man ignored him so the man repeated the same message but with a slightly louder voice. After his third attempt to get the man to turn of the radio, he stood up and stood in front of the man, whom I could not see, and told him in a loud voice "if you don't turn it off, I will."

The other man then dared him to touch the radio. At this moment, the white man tried to grab the radio from the guy and they started fighting. It was then that I was able to see, while they were fighting, that the other was a black, unkept, homeless-looking man.

Mooregestures By this time, everyone in the train had turned and was looking at what was going on. The two men kept fighting for a while and then stopped and started screaming at each other. Everyone was quiet, looking at the occurrences until one passenger got up and stood   between the two men to stop them from hitting each other. At one moment, the white dude called the black man a "nigger" and everyone  on the train went "ooooooooohhhhhh."

This caused the black man sitting in front of the white fat man to stand up, obviously insulted. The homeless man replied by calling the man a "fat white boy." While all this was going on, a black elderly woman stood up and pressed the button to call the train conductor. Another passenger stood up and talked to the conductor, telling her that a fight had broken out and the car number.

After the conductor was given notice of the situation, it took like what seemed hours to reach the Loyola Station. Because of the construction, the train was going at an extremely slow pace, which gave the two men ample time to shout and keep going at each other. By Granville, the passengers where sick of hearing the two men screaming and started to yell at them to just shut up. One of the passengers told the Michael Moore look alike that his screaming was even worse than the radio which got him even more agitated and as a result directed all his screaming at the passenger because he was the only one who was confronting the black man for breaking the CTA rules.

At one time, the black homeless man told the white man something which I could not hear to which he responded "Billy Joel is better than that crap you were listening to."

The homeless man responded that "I have good taste in music and this stuff is better than Billy Joel." At another time, the white man said, "I wish I'd brought my knife." To this, the black homeless man responded "I spent 8 months in jail." The white man responded "ONLY 8?" and started laughing  loudly. This was really getting absurd and annoying and people were either telling them to shut up or laughing at their comments.

When the train reached Loyola after what seemed hours, the white man changed to the other car and the black man exited. The train stood there for a few minutes, probably while the conductor walked over to see what was going on, and we could still hear them screaming at each other in the station. At one moment, the homeless man walked back in the car and asked everyone, "Was my radio really blasting? Huh? Was it?" One of the passengers signaled with his index and thumb that it was a little bit and he exited again screaming obscenities.

Once the doors finally closed and the train left the station toward our destination, Morse, I turned to look at my in-laws and said, "Welcome to Chicago."

I looked at my 12-year-old friend and he said "I LOVE IT!"


This is by far the best CTA Tattler story yet--complete with pictures!

Wow, that guy totally does look like Michael Moore! Great job on the photo!

All I can say is...wow. Riding CTA for 20 years I thought I'd seen everything, but this truly takes top honors!

This reminds me of two 'race/insanity' confrontations I've witnessed that were similar:

1. An argument (between a crazy white dude and a crazy homeless black dude) started because crazy homeless black dude wouldn't give crazy white dude space to sit down (in the priority seats). It nearly came to blows. Crazy white dude called crazy black dude a bunch of names referencing porches and primates and crazy black dude speculated about crazy white dude's sexual orientation. The call button on the car didn't work. At Addison I ran and told the conductor ... in the end, this only resulted in a delay during which (after excellent and very fair diplomatic efforts by the conductor) crazy black dude and crazy white dude apologized and became friends. The train was expressed to Loyola so I waited for the next one where I (no lie) sat next to shell game grifters who blocked the doors at Argyle and Berwyn so people couldn't get off the train.

2. A crazy, angry, obese black woman and a crazy, angry, skinny, lisping, white guy started in on it because her bag was bumping him. The only reason I even mention his lisp is because he was like a gay cartoon character, exprethively lithping every pronunthiathion. This combo of "you bettah step of muthuf***uh!" and "YOU check YOURthelf thithter!" was impossible not to giggle at. The volatile combo of his overreactive anger and her passive-agressive bag slamming resulted in several minutes of scary theatre. They screamed at each other between Fullerton and Belmont until she finally opened her purse and displayed a knife. He broadcasted to the whole car what she'd done and informed us that he was "not going to be voting democrat ANYMORE!"

Incredible! Do you think this was all an act or were these people for real? Sometimes these stories seems so surreal, I wonder if some kind of wacky theater group is performing and the "crazies" are just actors.

One slight correction... I actually took the pictures with my digital camera. I had it with me since I wanted to take pictures of my in-laws when they got off the airplane. The pictures came out blurry because I didn't dare use the flash and attract the attention of the two men. I did get a picture of the 12 yr. old boy posing while the fight was going on behind him with a funny smirk on his face.

That is how long this fight was !!!! Once I looked over at my father-in-law and he had his eyes closed trying to sleep !! LOL

Oh... and I'm a he.

This still doesnt top the... "And dont tell me what kind of ice cream i can get neither" homeless man story...thats my favorite!

An incident of this kind almost happened last night on the Blue Line around Grand. A homeless man was asking for money in the car and he had finally reached the front of the car and someone got extremely angry, got up, and stormed to the back of the train. I heard him mutter some racial terms about the homeless man and then someone pushed the button for the conductor. This was all in the first car, so the conductor just looked through the window, saw the homeless guy, and made a message about not soliciting for money on the train. The homeless guy ran to the next car and continued to ask for more money.

This is one of the best Tattler Tales that I have ever read. Great job of getting the pictures!

Pretty sad. One of the reasons why I moved from down south was to escape the hurtful primitive racism and I'll be damned that after a decade and a half of living here, I've concluded that Chicago's worse than what I've felt in the Mississippi Delta in several ways.

I'm so sick of the primitive hatred.

The only surprise here is that *I* wasn't on that train to endure the torture of witnessing such a sad event.

We have to treat one another better.

Well deepkid, it is here to stay (at least in Chicago). I hear it from these low life Chicagoans all the time, I'm not from here originally. I have heard racial stereotypes about blacks, and right in front of my good friend who is Jewish (a racial stereotype in regard to Jewish people that starts with "k").
I don't live in Lincoln Park, but a friend of mine recently moved there after a divorce, and we got off the "L" at Diversey, and this low life Lincoln Parker starts calling him names, I was about to start a fight with this low life, but my friend pulled me off. It is not worth going to jail because of some "I'm here because if mommy and daddy's money" jag off.

I have to laugh at the irony in that post. You're complaining about racists, yet you are guilty of making the same sweeping generalizations racists make.

How dare you call all of us "low life Chicagoans?" I understand your anger at those ignorant people, but to suggest we are all like that in Chicago, and that this phenomenon is something unique to Chicago is totally erroneous and stunningly stupid.

Let me correct your post somewhat, as you have NO clue what you are talking abot. 95% of the people I see everyday here in your paradise you like to call Chicago act this way.
You can call this post stupid, or suck your thumb, whatever, I'm trying to move out of here, and will never look back. I have lived in other parts of the U.S., and this is the ONLY place where I have lived where people act in this manner on a constant basis.
If I am making generalizations, so be it, you all deserve each other.

If you don't like it here why don't you move?

Be nice folks.

Yeah, we've got racists. And we've also got plenty of non-racists. And there are just as many non-jackasses as there are jackasses, only the jackasses are more noticeable...if you're inclined to notice such things.

Like anywhere else, it depends on where you are, when you're there, and what kind of attitude you bring to the party.

If you're looking for lowlifes and racists and jackasses, that's pretty much all you'll find. And if you're not, well...it's much more pleasant, anyway.

(All of the aforementioned little happy thoughts are null and void, however, on southbound trains after a Cubs game. Because...drunks. Lots of drunks.)

Anthony, if you are so bothered by us "Chicagoians", then why are you still here? You truly amaze me.

Conductors are obsolete, then passengers are always wondering why the trains are stopping in stations and the operator of the train has to come back to that railcar and solve the public domestic quarrels. It is delaying enough that there are track repairs going on that create more delays but over the playing of the radio, so please chip in and buy some headphones for this dude.

Several of these operator are so petite in their physical build that their challenged by the offender when the Cta control center dispatcher is telling the operator of the train to go back and solve the problem, by that time the problem may have escalate and there is nothing they can do but call the police and wait.

By time the police get the call if there not logged in with three or more complaints their already assigned to, usually the passenger is off the train or other passengers intervene take care of the disruption and the train has to take an express run to get to the time point from the delay.

We wonder why we cannot have a courtesy for other passengers while we try to get to work or home but this is society today, hopefully we will mello out and enjoy the ride.

I've been in Chicago over a year now after moving up from the deep south (where I'd live for more than a decade). I have never, EVER, heard southerners use the "n" word as frequently as Chicagoans do. I agree, there are racists everywhere, but at least 99.9999% of racists in the south are polite enough to not say it everytime a black person irritates them.

Don't get me wrong. I love this city, but it is a more vocally racist place than anyplace else I've ever lived.

RedRider kinda beat me to it. How can you have one driver at the front of a train longer than a football field containing over 600 people at a time during rush hour be responsible for all the security? The elimination of conductors increased illegal activity and danger for passengers by a double-digit factor.

I've seen bands of teens terrorizing people, urination, drinking, defecation, theft, etc. The real security is the sheer number of people on the train that will prevent crime (safety in numbers). It's most dangerous with fewer people.

As for the racism, yes. It's everywhere. We have more people living in this city than 21 US States, all within 227 sq. mi. What's amazing is how well we get along.

While I would agree there is some blatant racism in Chicago (and in most major metropolitan areas), there are also some wonderful neighborhoods in this city where people of all walks of life get along like no place I've ever been in my life. I live in Rogers Park, where diversity is embraced and people of different races, cultures and economic situations get along pretty darned well.

Actually, as I was riding to work today on the red line, I thought about how public transportation is a great equalizer. No matter what your economic or societal status, you pay the same fare as everyone else to get where you're going. There were school kids, people on their way to work, a family from a foriegn country speaking to each other in a language I couldn't understand...it was really amazing to see all these different people gathered in the same place.

If I hated the place I live as much as you do, Anthony, I'd get out of here. It's not good for your physical or mental health.

Well said Christine!

e_five, i agree.

The elimination of the conductors was a Cta cost cutting measure “but” no jobs were eliminated. I agree when the conductor’s positions were eliminated it cost (in a sense) the Cta more trouble that what it was worth. One eight-car train that the red/blue lines operate from 4:30 am to midnight is said to hold fifty seated passengers per 50-foot car at 400-foot train length. We all know that the trains especially if delayed are holding more. Given that eight car train at any rush hour service are carrying close to 1,200 people sitting and standing. Consider the operator now becomes the police, the doctor, the negotiator, the conductor and the Psychiatrist in case of a disruption on his/her train. What would take place if that operator were an apprentice?

That operator confronting the disturbance is outnumbered 2 to 1 considering the interruption. Think about the trains that are three minutes apart leaving a terminal in rush hour service and the disturbance is already into nine minutes standing in a station either waiting for police or the disturbance to diminish. How many trains are now behind us and what is this train expecting when released picking up at the next stops?

You have to love this website because there are so many interesting people here with the same objective with different ideas. Getting your moneys worth to get to your destination I believe we focus on the most. I read about all the experiences we the transit riders have especially now we have live cell phone shots, now that is cool. One quote on this website I read stated if you do not move, clean or repair a bus or train what is your purpose working for the Cta.

With that in mind, I am wondering does anyone have any solution to solve the problem of this transit funding even though we are not the presidents of the Cta or a politician. I have one thought, reinstate the proceeds from the Illinois lottery back into transportation and education that the Illinois politicians took away years ago and moved into the General Fund. Two problems solves and no increase of any taxes.

RedRider, I totally agree with your solution to the budget crisis, but that would be too much like right. I think we all know what REALLY happens to the money in the General Fund, and needless to say the politicians will never allow that money to be put back into transportation and education.

"Don't get me wrong. I love this city, but it is a more vocally racist place than anyplace else I've ever lived. "

B.S. If that's true, you must be seeking out a few hardcore racists to hang out with.

I've been to the South. It's far, far worse than here. There's no comparison. You're simply lying or exaggerating wildly to help carry out some unknown grudge. Lived here my whole life and haven't heard the "n" word in public or casual conversation as much as I did in one weekend in Atlanta or one DAY in Alabama.

The comments about racism are basically dead on. Let's face it, whether we want to admit to it or not, this is the most segregated city in the country. The question is, do you want to see that as a flat out negative or a reason for this city's flavor? Let me explain.

People talk about this city's diversity, but it comes off like a huge game of four-square. The blacks live in this square, the whites live in this square, the hispanics live in this square, the jews over here, the koreans over there, and the gays in these two squares up there, and over to the right a little bit. Talk about diversity all you want, but you know it's true. I don't care how liberal you are, there aren't going to be too many whites trying to move to Bronzeville or too many blacks trying to move to Edison Park.

Some may decry this format of four square diversity, but I think that in many ways, it adds to the character of the city. You can go to Chinatown and have experiences that you'll never have in Humboldt Park, and then go to Humboldt Park and get food that you'll never find in Andersonville, where you can buy books that you'll never read if you just shop in Beverly.

And yes, you'll find that this "diversity" causes problems, and that people might view race a little more negatively than they might in other big cities. But, the very flavor of this city would not exist if not for this checkerboard like mentality, and everything, even cool things come at a price.

This doesn't make racism any better, nor does it justify it. However, if you like what this city has to offer, you'll have to understand and accept what makes the city the way it is. And sadly, racism is one of the reasons why Chicago has been a spice rack filled with many different flavors, but never really a melting pot where they all come together. On the other hand, that spice rack mentality is singularly the most important reason why Chicago is one of the most interesting places to live in the United States.

Love it or leave it, but don't bitch about what you don't know.

I have live in the Chicagoland area my whole life. One of the things that I love about this city is you can walk a mile and feel like you're in a different city or even a different country. Yes, this city is diverse. Yes, this city is segregated. But do you want to look at it in a negative way, or a positive way? I am African-american and my parents have told me about some of the dangers of some areas of the city. They have seen students walking home from school beaten up just because they were on the wrong side of the street. This is 2005 and we have made SOME progression. But I know in my heart that the majority of people do not have the same views as that guy.

I enjoy going through different parts of the city and meeting different people, trying new things and going to different festivals. For the most part every neighbor hood is very acceptable of different races and cultures. I view this guy as an idiot stuck in a time where he didn't exist. I'd hate for city dwellers and visitors of the city to think that this guy dipicts the everyday Chicagoan. We should let one bad apple make us throw away the whole bushel.

Michael Moore's doppelganger deserved to get his arse royally beaten, in the city you've got to grow some thick skin and learn to drown out the noise...there's annoyances gallore and you can't stop them all...plus, you don't fuck with people you don't know, that's usually when some fool will brandish a gun and bust a cap in your ass, or shank you. It's just not worth it.

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