DC Metro asks disturbingly "racist question"

An emergency yielded a disturbing Photo: AP Photo

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 ― As crowds were involved in their daily metro commute this morning, Blue Line passengers were surprised by a strange sequence of events.  While the metro train was stopped in a tunnel, a passenger passed out.

The emergency prompted fellow passengers to use the emergency intercom to inform the metro conductor of the situation.  According to an eye-witness, he then proceeded to ask three questions to assess the situation.  First, he asked “Is the passenger conscious or unconscious?” Second, “Is the passenger a male or female?” Last, “Is the passenger black or white?”

The disturbing last question brought about an atmosphere of shock and discomfort for nearby passengers of all races.  An African-American female passenger was genuinely disturbed at the question and responded, “What!?  Why does that matter?!”

It is suspected that the WMATA employee asked the question to be able to identify the passenger to other emergency assistance personnel.  The assumed “black or white” dynamic was seen as very distasteful and did not include the possibility of other common ethnicities.  

Many passengers were confused why the conductor did not simply ask for a description of the passenger, including race and gender, if he needed to know that information.  The protocol for conductors in emergency situations has not been made public. 

The passenger and the conductor have not been identified.  At press time, WMATA could not yet be reached for comment.


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John Paul Cassil

John Paul Cassil studied Business Management (Entrepreneurship) and Political Science, recently graduating from Clemson University with the highest GPA of all business majors in his class. Cassil currently performs business analysis for the Secretary's Office of the U.S. Department of State, with an active Top Secret Security Clearance. 

Cassil has extensively traveled throughout Europe, the US, and the Middle East. He's lived across the American South, in Belgium, Kuwait, and Israel. He has interests in politics and foreign policy, having participated in numerous Model United Nations conferences around the world, including Harvard World MUN in Taipei, Taiwan and Princeton's 2008 Youth Initiative for Progress in Iraq Conference, in Amman, Jordan. 

In 2007, Cassil was appointed as a U.S. House of Representatives Republican Cloakroom Page by Speaker of the House John Boehner. Cassil has since worked for Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, as well as South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson's successful campaign. 

In College, Cassil served as the Managing Editor and Media Director of Clemson's Tiger Town Observer, as well as the Founder and Chairman of Clemson's Young Americans for Freedom. He has spoken about his collegiate activism at national conferences of organizations such as the Young America's Foundation and Eagle Forum. He has written articles for both The Washington Times Communities and Roll Call.

To find out more about Cassil, visit www.johncassil.com.

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This column does not express the opinions of the U.S. Government or any of its agencies.


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