To be honest, I had never heard the term until recently when I heard it used on a TV show.
Although, I also find it interesting that, apparently, in English law it refers to a nomadic person regardless of race or origin. Which is a use of "gypsy" that I was familiar with.
Uber, Lyft, et al are just central dispatch for gypsy cabs. I don't see any reason they shouldn't get massive fines or seized vehicles in all locales they operate.
True fact: Every single Uber and Lyft vehicle which I've ridden in, in New York City, has a Taxi and Limo Commission plate on it in the T123456C format. The so-called "gypsy cab"+ market consists of the vehicles without those plates.
(+complete with casual old-fashioned ethnic slur)
It's not a slur. Why does everything need to be so PC these days? The term may have originated in NYC, home of much colorful language.
Here's a Village Voice article that provides a lot of background and that quotes illegal cab drivers referring to themselves that way:
once a gypsy, always a gypsy
Apply this logic to any other ethnic slur and see how well it works out for you.
Pulitzer Prize winning columnist William Safire, perhaps best known as a long-time syndicated political columnist for the New York Times and the author of "On Language" in the New York Times Magazine, a column on popular etymology, new or unusual usages, and other language-related topics, explains in the NY Times:
Just because some people take offense
at a word, however, does not automatically
banish the word from the English language.
it is hypersensitive to take it as a slur
Here the NY Times mentions that a politician was a former driver: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/16/nyregion/16rivera.html
This makes your argument worse, not better. The term "gypsy cab" derives from a racist stereotype of the Romani. How can a term with a racist etymology not be racist?
Imagine any group of people appropriating traditionally-derogatory ethnic slurs for another group to describe themselves. How is that okay?
As for the Pullitzer Prize winner, that article is from 1986, more than a bit out-dated. Bizarrely, the author even defends the verb "to gyp" as not being racist because it's only one syllable. Imagine the sheer outrage if the verb "to nig" came into popular usage and referred to a negative stereotypical activity.
Why am I even arguing this? The fact that the term "gypsy cab" uses the name of an ethnic group to refer to a stereotypically negative trait of that group should completely and utterly speak for itself.
It's not "too PC".
Because you don't agree with Safire, who stated quite clearly:
Egyptians, from whose name the word gypsy
erroneously originated, are usually unaware
of the etymology and are not offended.
(Gypsy cab, which uses both syllables,
stresses the ''wandering'' meaning of gypsy,
which is descriptive and not derogatory.)
“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in
rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what
I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
The fact is, taxi lobbies are just protection rackets. I don't like Uber at all due to the way they treat their customers and drivers, but ridesharing is the future and the taxi mob is desperate to stop them from growing. If that means paying off the local law enforcement and city officials to illegally and unconstitutionally seize law abiding citizens' vehicles (including regular folks dropping off or picking up family and friends, which boggles the mind), they will do it.
The taxi lobby will also say that it's all for your own safety, even as unlicensed taxi drivers in licensed cabs proliferate. (fun story: I've had colleagues whose luggage was held hostage while driven to an ATM because the driver didn't want card payment because he wasn't driving the cab legally. good luck pursuing recourse for that.)
Force him to decide to either take their payment or write off the loss from the ride because he can't get any other fares while they're occupying the seat. What's he going to do? Call the police and tell on himself?
> As I asked elsewhere, how is this term racist and derogatory?
Gypsy is a racially problematic term.
Using that term to refer to unlicensed cabs links travellers (who may or may not be Roma) to crime and dangerousness.
If you care about this kind of stuff it's probably a good idea to move to phrases like "unlicensed cabs". You get some benefit it's more useful for an international audience.
The term itself is derived from Egyptian, which just goes to show how little people care about actual facts when labeling outsider groups.
And if you really want to be politically neutral as well as culturally neutral, "unofficial", "non-medallioned", "hackney", or "jitney" would be better than "unlicensed" or "illegal".
When did I ever say that? I said the taxi industry is a protection racket. The person I replied to is spouting racist commentary.
Are you trying to make a cogent argument? because all I see is a nasty insult.
Ignore any flak you get about this. It is the best one-sentence description I've ever read about Uber.