by B.J. Delas Armas
on 11/08/2004 01:52:00 AM
Print this post
Drivers in LA
More armchair anthropology, meaning I make sense of stereotypes.
LA is often called a representation of the world with all these different cultures in different parts of the city. There's a lot of stuff that I notice when I'm driving, particularly about race and class.
Every day to school, I go west from the hacked up lower-middle class neighborhood in Silver Lake through big ballin', shot callin' (though these stiffies might put it another way) 90210. The further west I drive, the more white and slanted-eye folks get, the shinier the cars get, the more traffic it gets, and the more hasty the drivers get.
Speeding up traditionally has been associated with young drivers, but you know what, it's not just them, it's these clean-cut corporate white people who like to run too.
All over Beverly Hills they are just ready to cut you off if you "slow down" to 40 mph. The type of people who do this run the gamut: Let's see there's the Bend it Like Beckham Mom with veins in her eyes after 15 face lifts when it's her pussy that needs to be patched back up blasting past you in her Beamer, there's the all-familiar corporate shark in either his BMW, his Porsche, one of those European cars. The Asian people in the rice rockets (thanks to UCLA) are actually pretty moderate.
However, not actively engaging in this speedfest are vehicles such as pick-up trucks or vans strictly for lugging lots of tools or supplies around. You will also notice how brown the drivers and scrubbily dressed they are.
This got me thinking: why aren't they speeding up ? Don't they have to get somewhere too ? Is there a fear that they're going to get pulled over ?
Racing is something that has always been done for power, but driving in the real world is a lot more varied.
Those who speed up want to establish they indeed are here and/or need to get somewhere. And Those who drive slow and casually are either ignored, busy, and/or very assured of themselves.
I don't think these things are permanently inherent in any culture as much as it has been conditioned on them by the way America has treated them in their jobs and whatnot.
So these older brown guys are acting as they have been conditioned here in America; there is a long history of them getting crapped on and getting menial jobs, so they've become indifferent to the world. So as a result, a lot of these older lower-class guys just slow down because they're indifferent.
There's also another group that generally likes to slow down, the assured and matured group, regardless of any age, race, or class. Not indifferent, just no need to speed up, turn up the radio. They tend to be well-acknowledged people who don't need anymore acknowledgment.
Too bad we don't have a lot of them in LA (or I don't even notice).
A lot of the younger generation, brown, black, white, yellow coming through in a wide variety of cars with mix of road slugs and speeders. I think what produces the young speeders in general and not just in the brown folk is this need for power and control. It's like this maybe because they like to show off whatever they have and to establish that they are here.
The other half that speeds is generally oldest and dominates the Beverly Hills that I talk about probably speeds up because they need to get somewhere and feel this need. It's pretty much exclusively white with a sprinkle of Asian folks. If they are speeding up to get to places at any class, it shows how much they are slaves to a system that calls for them to get here and there and here and there. Richer white guys. Slaves to a system. Ironic, eh.
Labels: City Planning, You Have Half of Your Funny Experiences Driving Such an LA Thing to Say