Based on a line from a James Bond novel
, where Our Boy notices a Black woman behind the wheel, and reflects that "it's rare to see a Negro woman driving", and of course it turns out to be Mr. Big. I reflected I could come up with at least four other stories...
- Y’all…this is Foxy Brown, an’ this is YOUR Foxy Taxi! We do ANY kind of drivin', funerals, weddings, anythin 'cept proms. Too much clean up. But, to the airport, or around the block, we'll take you there with sass, no frass, and class!
- He’s actually the usual driver, and his wife (or daughter) is driving him to his annual eye test
- She’s the latest teenage R&B singing sensation! She bought this boat, and she loves driving it! The man in the back is her manager.
- This IS our family car. A used limo is cheaper than a new station wagon. We have four kids, we need the room. Yeah, he looks like a cradle robber. Bad…what was that again…genes? We're actually quite close in age. Anyway, my turn to drive today.
Have fun with this. Can you do better?
Harlem in the Fifties was a neighborhood full of contradictions. If you subtracted the people, and simply looked at the buildings, it looked like a normal small city in itself, with a Grand Hotel
(the Theresa), several High Streets of shopping, and plenty of urban housing, some fairly high-end. There were doctor’s and lawyer’s offices, plenty of restaurants and night clubs, all the normal amenities, and then some: there were more, and smaller, churches than most places, and corner stores were smaller and shabbier, but more numerous, than the lower East Side. Subtracting white people, there were plenty of schoolteachers, but not police
, some lawyers, but not judges, many nurses, but not doctors. Libraries would have custodians, but not librarian
s, banks, guards, but not bankers, nightclubs
, performers, waitstaff, and crew, but not owners. Absentee landlords outnumbered those on site, with all the evils of the system. Being thoroughly middle class is rare, being affluent, even rarer, but not unknown.
Women, as in most traditional societies, are either goddesses or doormats. That is, one either leans on one's virtue, or throws one's self away. Everyone wants to have 'good hair' (straight) and 'good skin' (lighter). Men fear/love their mothers, and love/dominate their women. Every family is a two-income family: even on Sugar Hill (the Millionaires' Row) people talk about men as being 'in banking' if only because they work at a bank....as a custodian or security guard.
In short, the Northern solution to The Race Problem: they can go as high as they will, but don't they dare leave their (geographical) place.