Uber is steadily paddling through a rocky PR shitstorm. Over the weekend, following news of the Muslim Travel Ban issued by the Trump administration, thousands of angry citizens turned up at JFK airport in NY to stage an open protest. The NY Taxi Workers Alliance additionally called for an hour-long halt in services to further protest the ban.
And that's right about where Uber issued a tweet saying they'd halt surge prices, and continue providing rides to and fro the airport. Some folks took this as an insensitive ploy to swoop in and capitalize on profits otherwise being willingly forfeited by taxi workers, eager to put on a display of outrage and unrest over the Muslim Travel Ban. Hundreds, if not thousands of people went on to delete the Uber app from their phones, and these are some of the more colorful reasons for why:
Ahmed Mohamed, a 9th grader at McArthur High in Irving, Texas, was sitting in class when one of his homemade inventions began beeping. The teacher asked what it was and he brought up the digital clock he had made. She said it looked like a bomb and shortly after, police led Ahmed out of the school in handcuffs.
So the 14-year-old missed the student council meeting and took a trip in handcuffs to juvenile detention. His clock now sits in an evidence room. Police say they may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb — though they acknowledge he told everyone who would listen that it's a clock.
In the meantime, Ahmed's been suspended, his father is upset and the Council on American-Islamic Relations is once again eyeing claims of Islamophobia in Irving.
Ahmed's father isn't the only one who is upset. Social media has exploded in frustration over Ahmed's treatment. Through #IStandWithAhmed, bewildered supporters, many of the same generation, have taken to Twitter and Facebook to express their anger over what they see as patent racism.
So sad that this young person has to go through society's terrible perceptions and stereotypes😩
Following the hostage crisis in Sydney, Australia many Muslims in the country felt nervous about potential backlash against their faith. Instead, Australians are taking up the banner of #IllRideWithYou on social media, encouraging those who fear retaliation to ride public transit with those who support and care for them.
Another heartwarming example of social media doing good in the world, and the Australian people setting an example for the kind of behavior we should all have in response to trying times as these.