This is a True Story
A few days ago my father visited his grand kids in Texas. I had a meeting which could not be rescheduled as such dad had to take an Uber to my home in Sugar Land.
Coincidentally, the Uber driver was from Michigan where my dad was coming from. He drove a Toyota Prius. During the drive to Sugar Land they struck up a conversation that went so well upon arrival I had to invite him in. He paid glowing compliments to my father and expressed appreciation for having had the opportunity to converse with a world renowned author.
I thanked him for his generosity and kind service. We exchanged contact info and on he went.
Later he added me on Facebook. It is at this point that our trajectory took a most unanticipated venture.
He drove a Prius, felt extraordinarily comfortable in the presence of people of color and seemed most tolerant in his ways.
So I thought. My assumptions took control. I liked this guy a lot. How fortunate my dad was to find such an Uber of a driver. I let my assumptions lead my bias. Later on, I clicked on his Facebook page as I am sure he did mine.
Stereotypes had led us to form preconceived notions of one another. I, thinking I had met an open minded individual tolerant of all races and progressive enough to know that climate change isn’t a liberal hoax. (after all he drove a Prius. Yeah, it was red but we all have that friend with bad fashion sense. In fact, many a time it is endearing)
In turn, he probably saw an African American family affluent and well educated not dependent on a welfare state while contributing much to society.
Fast forward, as I read the ill informed racist rants of the Trump supporters on his page, I grew disgusted. How could I have misgudged such a nice guy whom I had genuinely liked?
Conversely, no doubt he probably felt the same way upon seeing what he probably interpreted as socialist liberal mantra on my page.
Within minutes, we had both deleted each other. Him first then Me. I went further to block him all together from messenger. How dare he!
And therein lies the unfortunate divide that is America today. Two people who actually got along and liked each other, immediately disdained each other once political identities were revealed. None could stomach the perceived stench of wrongness and hypocrisy of the opposing side.
I’ll admit, I am very much to blame as my friend, James Cobb, the Uber driver. We both saw in each aspects of humanity we admired. But the social conscripts of today’s American ideological boundaries made it impossible for us to do what came natural to us.
How sad this is the society which we in turn raise our kids.
Next time, I hope to keep a friend and not lose an Uber driver.