Race for a Cab: When Hailing a Ride Isn't So Black and White

"GMA" conducts an experiment to see whether racial profiling still exists.

ByABC News via logo
March 31, 2009, 7:44 PM

April 1, 2009 — -- With a black first family and fewer people citing racism as a "big problem," how much have the country's race relations changed?

In the second part of a three-part series called "Black and White Now," "Good Morning America" tackles racial profiling. Click here to see the first part in the series about race relations.

It's a highly publicized issue with a highly visible face. Nearly a decade ago, actor Danny Glover took on the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, saying five yellow cabs in a single day refused to stop for him because he was black.

"I don't expect to have a taxi. I've been conditioned to think that someone is not going to stop for me," Glover said of the racial profiling incident.

His formal complaint sparked a nationwide debate about subtle and not so subtle racism in public places like on city streets, in restaurants and shopping malls.

That was November 1999. "GMA" wanted to see how much things had changed in 2009 and enlisted the help of well-known black attorney Christopher Darden, who was the prosecutor in O.J. Simpson's murder trail.

"Obviously there are situations where almost all of us can all agree that someone's actions are racially motivated, but racism and discrimination are typically practiced in a subtle way," said Darden, who is now a successful defense attorney.

With "GMA's" cameras rolling, Darden was easily able to hail a New York City cab in broad daylight.

"I got the first cab and there was a second one that was trying to squeeze that one out of the way," he said.

But his luck changed when day turned to night. After the sun went down, two cabs passed him. The third cab, which was driven by a black man, stopped and picked him up.

"There you have it. I guess it's true what they say, 'After dark, it's hard to catch a cab to Harlem,'" Darden said.