Immigrant Cab Drivers

Immigrant Cab Drivers In The United States State That Body Odor Test Is Discrimination

As of late, the discrimination card has been utilized a bit but specifically the race card. Previous articles here on The Inquisitr reported numerous times when race became or would be a factor in a situation. Last month, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson was racially charged. And just recently there was a situation in which a mob of black people beat up a white person, yet the police are not charging it as a hate crime. For some in the comments of those articles, discrimination by race may become more prevalent just because of Ferguson.

Now there are reports that immigrant cab drivers in the United States are stating that one of their criteria on being judged as taxi drivers is discrimination. Which criteria? Body odor.

According to an article by Brandon Sun, there are numerous cities in which cab drivers are calling discrimination and prejudice when they are submitted to body odor inspections. To start, San Diego Regional Airport Authority runs down a checklist for each cab driver. This list includes proof of insurance, functioning windshield wipers, adequate tire threads, and good brakes as some of the points. Upon completion of inspection, they are given a grade of either pass, fail, or needs fixing. Yet the one point on the list that cab drivers have a problem with is the smell test. If they fail, they are obligated to change before picking up another customer.

The head honchos at the United Taxi Workers of San Diego union say the litmus perpetuates a stereotype that predominantly foreign-born taxi drivers smell bad. To help enforce this view, the San Diego State University and Center on Policy Initiatives found that 94 percent of cab drivers were immigrants with 65 percent coming from East Africa. It should also be reported that Seattle used to have the same criteria for their cab drivers but it has since been amended to general cleanliness.

Where the problem lies with the smell test is that the odors may source not from the driver, but possibly from customers in which unsavory scents could originate from the back seat. Ethiopian cab driver Negus Gebrenarian made a statement.

“If they want to bring their smell detector, they can use it to test the customers and the drivers.”

Yahoo News, however, were the ones to point out the reason for the smell test is mostly for the benefit of customers, in which they are the primary lifeline of the business. But when it comes to the customers themselves, it seems the opinions are mixed. Sue Beneventi thinks cab drivers are getting picked on.

“If you’re going to say cab drivers, shouldn’t you also say waitresses and anyone else who deals with the public?”

Daniel Johnson, an 18-year-old Marine who originally lived in Flint, Michigan supported the smell tests in which he said it is fair to grade on body odor, especially considering that it cost him $70 to get to his base from the airport. He has stated he felt trapped in smelly cabs in other cities before.

“The smell puts a sour expression on your face, and you’re thinking I just don’t want to be here.”

What do you think about the smell tests implemented on cab drivers? Do you think it is discrimination against immigrants in which a stigma about their culture is centralized, or do you think it is fair because cab drivers serve the public? Please let us know in the comments below.

[Image via Bing]