Diversity bus

Bernardo Vigil

No, PRO does not have early morning field trips and no, none of DeLaSalle’s buses make pit stops at Benilde St. Margaret’s in the morning. The short bus that pulls up around five minutes late every day is not the temporary home to the Harlem Globetrotters. That traveling Festival of Nations is Benilde-St. Margaret’s school-bus number five, also fondly referred to as the Diversity Bus.

Yes, while I imagine that most people start their morning driving along to school, gleefully singing along to Hannah Montana’s newest hit single on their iPod Touches, riders of the Diversity Bus are greeted with any combination of Somalian folk music and the various curse words that accompany catching a crammed, mockery-inducing short bus at 6:40 in the morning.

It is important to note that the inter-cultural medley that is bus number five does not stop at Somalian music and a bus driver named Fahrid. The Diversity Bus boasts representatives from almost all the five ethnicities that Benilde-St. Margaret’s students tend to group people in: white kids, the basketball team, kids from “one of those Mexican countries,” and non-foreign exchange Asians; it goes without saying that the only ethnicity that our bus is missing are the actual internationals.

Here are the numbers: 10 percent of Benilde-St. Margaret’s students are “of color,” and 88 percent (or 15/17) of riders on the Diversity Bus are of color. Ninety if you count the bus driver.

One need not see the Diversity Bus, however, to understand how it got its name. Every iota of its being projects diversity. Everyday, something slathered in hot-sauce is either being eaten, or somebody on the bus is eagerly and vocally anticipating eating something slathered in hot-sauce. No bus ride goes by without a reference to “Everybody Hates Chris,” or some kind of loud altercation pertaining to “Everybody Hates Chris.” Not a day passes where the question is not asked, “are the Fan sisters really Asian enough to get on the bus today?” Bus number five is even, in true Latino fashion, very, very close to being late every single day. How much more diverse could anything get?

Unfortunately, as with most things involving Minneapolis residents, riding the short bus is not all fun and games. Every time there is a substitute bus driver I wonder how many times I will have to remind him that “No, our school is not on Lake Street,” or that you don’t have to roll your tongue when saying “Bernardo.” Beyond all of that, the most horrendous part of riding the Diversity Bus is all of the hostile glares that we receive when an inexperienced driver tries to pick people up from a city bus-stop. Apparently people with tear-drop tattoos don’t like to be asked if they go to Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

There is really no need to dwell on the Diversity Bus’s few shortcomings, for I have come up with a simple solution to solve bus number five’s minimal imperfections. Move some of the kids from Edina to North Minneapolis. Surprisingly enough, more Scandinavians on the bus would actually boost diversity further, solve all of our problems and cause Jews, Sunnis, and Shiites across the world to lay down their arms, hold hands and sing Kumbaya.