My column this week for the S.F. Examiner touches on some of the racial elements in taxi driving…
On the corner of Folsom and 6th, a guy is standing with his hand in the air. Even though it’s not a night to be turning down fares — if there ever are nights like that anymore — three empty taxis in a row blow right past him.
When he turns around to flag me, I see what the problem is: He’s young and black, with dreads protruding from his hoodie and a gold grill flickering in the haze of a streetlamp.
As he approaches my cab hesitantly, I gesture him forward, and he jumps into the backseat. Up close, he looks more like a lost kid than a gangster, despite the getup.
“I need to get to Richmond hella bad,” he tells me.
“District or city?”
“Oh, man …” I stammer. “It’s after 1 a.m. and uh … that’s a pretty long ride. You think I can get some cash up front?” Adding a quick, “No offense or anything.”
Which actually makes the request more offensive.