This week’s Sunday Smack concerns a personal friend of mine, who’s worked as an Uber driver in a major US city for the past two years.
My friend, let’s call him Rhino for this post, is an African descendant and dresses for work in a conservative suit and a fedora each day. He has a customer base that ranges across almost all races and backgrounds.
I had a conversation with Rhino recently, and he made a few interesting observations about the way his passengers receive him.
Rhino said the White passengers give him plenty of compliments for being well-dressed, and the conversations during the ride tend to be pleasant.
The Black male passengers tend to interact with Rhino the same way — after about 20 initial blocks of silence.
Asians tend to be quiet during the ride, and will view him with curiosity.
Creatives are easygoing.
But Black female professionals — almost invariably, according to Rhino — tend to greet him differently …
“Hey, we got a pimp over here!” is their remark about his wardrobe.
“Are you a killer?”
“You think you’re going to pimp us out or something? ”
“Are you sure you’re not a killer?”
You get the idea.
I’ve seen Rhino in a suit more times than I can count. He comes across more like Old School African American Ad Agency Chic than stereotypical Pimp Stylo.
In addition to throwing playful barbs at his appearance and imaginary jail record, the Black female professional customers — according to Rhino — tend to be the only social group in his car who want to argue with him about anything, inclusive of his route selection and competence.
I still laugh about the Black woman executive who began to instruct Rhino on how to merge wiith street traffic — before Rhino took the car out of park mode.
He also says Black women professionals more inclined than other social groups in his car to interpret any gesture as a confrontation.
Rhino has a high degree of confidence, so the playful barbs don’t bother him. He isn’t looking for praise on his choice of clothes, but he also ponders the two-faced nature of their humor. Or as he would playfully say: “I don’t make jokes about their hair, so why … ”
You may ask how Rhino knows the professions of these women. Based on the collection of stories he shared, it appears this specific group is more inclined to tell Rhino what they do for a living.
I have plenty of detailed opinions about this topic which may surprise many of you, but I’m going to stick with my Sunday Smack editorial voice and not offer one — at least not today.
Instead, I’ll present this weekend’s Sunday Smack:
Is Rhino’s experience his own, or is there a bigger Black female and male dynamic that exists outside of his car?
What is that issue, assuming you believe one exists?
I’ll be more than happy to share my thoughts in a future post, if you want. Until then, please share yours …
song currently stuck in my head: “mindin’ my business” – incognito