RIDING TAXIS BLACK IN NYCJune 20, 2007 at 11:57 pm | Posted in Editorials/Opinions | Leave a comment
As a black man, flagging a yellow cab in NYC is one of the most infuriating activities one can endure. I am sure many of you could attest to the horrors of finding a cab; rain, sleet, hail or snow the results are unfailing; you WILL HAVE THE URGE TO WHOOP SOME ASS even after involuntarily exercising your arm. Whether you are standing in front of a reputable store, like say Best Buy or standing at the height of rush hour you will succumb yourself to a barrage of inexcusable responses. “Oh, I am off- duty” or “No, I don’t drive to Brooklyn”, and then they dart off leaving you with the fumes from the exhaust pipe to gripe with. Keep in mind that as a taxi rider (regardless of color); you have the right to travel to any destination in the five boroughs of the City of New York. If my geography does not fail me, Brooklyn is in fact the largest of the aforementioned boroughs.
Anyway, I reached my boiling point a few weekends ago; my only regret is that I got into an argument with a black taxi-driver, an African at that. After seeing my father off at JFK, I was able to get a cab quickly (Local airports are reliable taxi spots). I told him where I was going, and assumed based on his response that he knew where I was heading (word to the unwise: assumption is the mother of all f*** ups). I dosed off only to find myself by Corona, Queens. After wiping the sleep out of my eyes and gaining my composure I realized that he was going to take the BQE. Despite being irate with his chosen route, I calmly voiced my concerns. Long story short, what started as peaceful discourse escalated into a heated argument. We eventually settled the quarrel when he agreed to turn of his meter at an agreed upon price. Nevertheless, in the midst of our verbal sparring he conveyed some inconvenient truths. He expressively mentioned that most times taxi-drivers (usually of southern Asian decent) hesitate or rather refused to pick us Blacks up because their brethren have either been victims of violence or have been shorted. When he said this I did feel sorry about cursing and raising my voice but was quickly overcome with amusement when I thought about Joell Ortiz’s track “Brooklyn B*******” where he comically spits “So what every now and then I hop off cabs/ papi took the long way/ papi think I’m ass.”
In either case taxi drivers are clear perpetrators of stereotyping, as is the majority of the world; I seriously doubt that taxi drivers will ever change their ways or my brethren will seize from gipin’ drivers. Still if you do happen to find yourself having difficulties finding a cab in the city that will take you to another borough, mention a street that exists in Manhattan (Lafayette Avenue, perhaps?), a dollar into your trip point out that you are referring to the one in your specified borough (Brooklyn, perhaps?); the driver has no choice but to take you to your destination when you enter his cab. If this fails, spaz, call 311, or sit and wait for the boys in blue. But never fret readers, even Denzel finds it hard to catch a cab as revealed in the improvised scenes of Inside Man.
Bola “Eldorado Red” Alex-Oni