Start with Uber

Not every community has Uber and some who do are still angry with them.

But I’m trying to figure out how White People might connect with people from other cultures when all their friends, family, and colleagues are also White.  Maybe we could start with Uber if it’s in your area.

My last four Uber drivers were from Jerusalem, Tunis, Addis, and Karachi respectively.  Three were Muslim.  All four were proud fathers.  Three were college graduates.

When I take an Uber from Midway Airport in Chicago to my home in the South Suburbs, I have a good 30 minutes to get to know my driver.  Weirdly, I don’t talk with people on planes, but when I’m in a car and there are just two of us, it feels bizarre not to talk with my travel companion.  Sometimes I sit in the front with the driver.  Sometimes I sit in the back, especially if the front passenger seat is filled with the driver’s stuff.

By the time we pull into my driveway, we have often shown each other photos on our phones of our kids.  A couple times we’ve prayed.  We shake hands and move on.  We exchange words of gratitude for the other. It’s very friendly.

It’s also impossible to leave the car denigrating “all Muslims” or “all immigrants.”  I’ve loved catching a glimpse of the lives of my neighbors.  I’ve appreciated the gift of hearing their stories.  I’ve marveled at how our lives are similar. There is almost always a connection.

We need to get our of our little lives and notice people whose accents, skin color, ages, and lifestyles are different from our own.  Often they are invisible to us.  Or their presence makes us shut down and keep to ourselves.

What if instead of fearing/ignoring/keeping away from people who are unfamiliar or different from us, we took the opportunity to learn something from each other?  Curiosity is an excellent tool for expanding our universe.

If not Uber, what would you suggest?


4 responses to “Start with Uber

  1. Love this Jan!


  2. I don’t take ride-sharing, but I do talk to people on planes, trains, city transportation. I also chat with those I come in contact with when out and about. People have wonderful stories to share.


  3. Lovely. Thank you, Jan. One problem: How to avoid the (condescending?) “Where are you from?” question? I’d love to see a list of conversation starters.


    • I have only lived in Chicago for about six years so I always assume I’m the new person. I usually just ask, “Are you from Chicago?” They have always been here longer than I have.


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