The first time this became a national issue was when NY Yankee baseball star David Winfield said cabs would drive by him because he was Black. That was decades ago. Winfield is the type that would not make things up. Winfield is also very tall and athletic, which likely compounded the problem unless he was recognized. If he was recognized the cabbies would stop on a dime because he is rich, likely a good tipper.
Many other famous Black folks have said the same thing. Chris Rock did a movie scene recently where to prove the point he tried to hail a NY cabbie and succeeded to his dismay. You can watch that here:
Below I will provide an analysis of this issue in which a NY cabbie after telling a Black guy across the street he did not see him (and thus picked me up) then confessed to me he lied and indeed he drove past the Black guy. First some real stories and facts.
Here is an real account:
Taxi Cab Racism
I know the pain, rage and embarrassment that shook actor Danny Glover when five cab drivers recently refused to pick him up on a New York city street. A couple of years ago my wife, I and another African-American couple stood fuming on a mid-Manhattan street on a cold, windy evening in December as we watched empty cab after empty cab sail leisurely by ignoring our increasingly frantic signals for them pick us up. One cab driver glanced at us, waved us off, and then stopped a few feet in front of us to pick up a white couple.
Finally out of desperation we asked our wives to stand on the corner while we ducked behind a corner building. They continued to furiously wave at cabs to stop. They had no better luck than we had. After nearly an hour futilely trying to get a driver’s attention we trudged a few blocks through the cold and caught a bus. The other couple with us, both native New Yorkers, just shrugged and said that’s the way it is with cabs here.
Thankfully Glover didn’t shrug off taxicab racism. He filed a complaint and held a press conference to loudly protest his treatment. Glover’s action once more tossed the ugly spotlight on cab driver racism as a big sorespot for thousands of blacks. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and police officials immediately vowed to crack down on cab drivers that refuse to pick up blacks.
The instant they put the heat on, the drivers were on their best behavior. Read more: http://www.agoodblackman.com/hutch_taxi.shtml
Is there a scientific study? Yes
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) – A year long, caught-on-camera, undercover WUSA9 test shows DC cabs repeatedly giving white passengers preferential treatment at a rate as high as one out of three cabs stopping for white passengers compared to African-Americans, but the chairman of DC’s taxi commission calls it economic, not racial discrimination. In our new November-December 2013 test, one caught on camera segment shows an African-American male, who wasn’t part of our undercover operation, trying to hail cabs lighted with “for hire” signs.
The cabs sped by him while our crew, cameras rolling, screamed at the taxis to stop, one finally slowing down saying he didn’t see the man.
So unlike many myths pushed by the news media and some politicians to encourage racial paranoia and strife, as was the case in the Zimmerman trial and the Mike Brown case, there is truth to this claim.
Now for inside story, my experience in NYC. The cabbie was Pakistani born. When he picked me up the Black guy yelled at him “You did not pick me up because I am Black.” The cabbie yelled back “I did not see you” and drove away. Then he said “I lied. He is right.” He went on to explain why. He said he had nothing against Black folks and used to pick them up. But almost all the bad experiences he had as a cabbie came at the hand of Blacks. From being robbed to “runners”, people that ran away and did not pay the fare. He said after he stopped picking up Blacks the bad experiences almost ceased.
He said it was unfair to the Blacks that were not robbers or “runners” and he truly felt sorry for them but there was more to it. He had a wife and child and knew two cabbies who had been murdered in the last year, both times by Blacks. He thought it was irresponsible for him to widow and orphan his family and that was the primary reason he did not pick up Blacks.
This is the real reason Blacks have the bad experiences they do trying to get cabs. If we want to solve this problem we need to search for the truth and pay attention to it. If Pakistanis had a murder rate ten times higher than Blacks , Cabbies would avoid Pakistanis and seek out Blacks. If men in suits with handkerchiefs in their breast pocket tipped 3 times higher than those without handkerchiefs, cabbies would hunt for the big tippers based on that.
The crime statistics for Oakland California illustrate that the fears many have are totally rational:
The five-year average for homicide suspects in Oakland breaks down as follows: 64.7% Black, 8.6% Hispanic, 0.2% White, 2.0% Asian and 24.4% Unknown. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Oakland,_California
So the math is very easy. To tell if Blacks are being disproportionally shot by police in Oakland, for the 76% of crimes where race is known for the culprit, 65% are Blacks and 0.2% White. This is shocking, as both groups are almost equal in population size. This means Blacks in Oakland are about 300 times more likely to murder someone than Whites, we had to double check that to believe it. The correct percent for police shootings should be 65/76 or 86% of all police shootings were Blacks being shot, if there was perfect non-discrimination by police.
37 of 45 is 82%. This is a tiny discrepancy, although it does indicate a slight pro-Black and anti-White/Other racial discrimination by the Oakland Police.
Perfection should not be expected in a sample of 45, so we will give the Oakland police department an A+ for non-racist shooting statistics.
The above is not the norm, the normal rate is that Blacks are 8 Times more likely to murder than Whites. Here is a story with a great deal of evidence on this issue that busts myths: http://aun-tv.com/2014/08/mother-jones-puts-out-absurdly-false-article-which-may-fan-racial-paranoia-why-part-1/
So the solution to this problem is obvious and simple. Taxi cab drivers are simply being rational and protecting themselves from harm but not picking up Blacks. They know too much to be fooled into thinking it was their imagination or racism.
This does involve unfair prejudice aganist the 95%+ of Blacks trying to get a cab, but their enemy in this issue is not the cabbies, it is the extremely high crime rate of Blacks, especially young Black males. The solution is easy, blame the guilty party. People like Dennis Glover need to go public and say they have no basis to criticize the cabbies over them have trouble getting a cab because there are so many Black robbers and murderers, that Dennis has a beef with those robbers and murderers ruining Glover’s reputation based on his skin color alone. That is the real problem and dealing with it truthfully is the beginning of how Glover can get a cab in NYC just as easily as I can in the future.
As individuals and society we need to strongly ostracize the robbers and murders causing the unjust problems for Glover, Winfield and millions of others. The reason we have that problem today is we are doing the opposite as a society. Most media companies and some politicians glorified Big Mike Brown for being a bully and a robber. Big Mike Brown and hundreds of thousands of others like him are the problem. They are the biggest enemy Blacks face today in terms of unjust reputational harm and for danger of being murdered.
Are there cases of racial fear and paranoia being irrational. Absolutely. In the past politicians and newspapers generated irrational fear of Blacks by Whites as a way to control the White vote (to vote Democrat) and today irrational racial fear and paranoia of Whites by Blacks is being generated by some politicians, newspapers and TV news shows to control the Black vote (to vote Democrat).