Thursday, December 22, 2005

Racism, Taxicabs, and Logan Commuters

Our thanks to fellow resident David Berger who alerted us to this:

One recent Saturday, I sat on my front stoop in Logan Circle and watched a Hispanic man attempt to hail a cab.

In the course of 15 minutes, no less than four cabs slowed, looked at him and drove on. These blatant acts of racial discrimination outraged me, yet didn't surprise me given the above-the-law hubris that I, a white male, have encountered from D.C. cab drivers.

Racial and ethnic discrimination by cab drivers, while perhaps the most outrageous of their practices, is not the entirety of the problem with cabs in this city. Continue reading David's letter here.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with this author. Cabs in DC should be metered to prevent unfair charges. The cabs in Virginia are metered and some even accept credit cards. DC is behind the times.

Anonymous said...

There was a similar problem in new york for many years, and "Project Refuse" was put together by then-commissioner Diane McGrath-McKechnie and Mayor Giuliani whereby undercover TLC agents would sanction drivers for the more egregious offenses, like alleged race-based refusals, as well as the less dispicable but just as inconvenient ones, like "my transmission hasn't been too good today" once hearing about a trip from manhattan to queens.

Anonymous said...

To give DC it's due, the Taxicab Commission is testing and evaluating meter based rates vs. zoned right now. Race-based refusals is a problem but so is the incidence of driver murder, assault, robbery and theft of services. No easy answer.

Anonymous said...

I find the author's comments a bit curious and somewhat disturbing. He is attempting to equate 2 very different problems. First, there is the problem of racism: the "hispanic" man who was passed over by taxis. Second, there is his problem: the problem of a white male from NW who makes enough money to commute less than a mile via taxi-cab, and claims to be overcharged. In his letter he wants the reader to feel angry that he is overcharged, in the same way we would feel angry about the racism that exists. It hurts the author's credibility and reduces the impact of Mr. Berger's arguments. Bottom line: if he wasn't "overcharged" would he be writing a letter based on the racism that he saw? From the tone and message of his letter, I doubt it.

dcbubble said...

Saying the letter is "a bit curious and somewhat disturbing" is very unfair.
The author sympathizes with the hispanic man who was passed over. I have seen this happen and most readers probably have too.
The author also points out he was overcharged. This happens daily. Meters are looong overdue.
Speculating about what he might have written or not have written in different circumstances is unfair. What matters is what he did write.