Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Stereotype Is Born

Image courtesy of Teerapun at
I have a thing against white, late-model SUVs.

They seem to be driven by skinny white women talking on their cell phones who block intersections, go at a four-way stop before it is their turn and double-park.

White SUVs are particularly common in Houston. White is currently the most popular car color globally. Sometimes, in traffic, I will feel like I have stumbled into the middle of a parade of ice-cream trucks. (My car is blue, which this article, at least, makes sound like a sophisticated choice. Ha.)

The popularity of SUVs in Houston may seem piggy, but there are actually some good reasons for it. Houston streets flood. And it’s occurred to me that, here, where most people don’t have bus service to bring their kids to school, parents with SUVs, which can seat 7 or 8 kids at a time, might run car pools that create less emissions overall than a car pool of Priuses (which is what I drive and which can only take 4 kids each).

Be that as it may, I still find myself thinking that white, late-model SUVs are driven by the self-important. Hence, the lack of turn-taking. There may be some proof that drivers of expensive, high-status cars do drive more aggressively … though this linked article points out that people who think their Priuses are high-status cars drive like jerks, too. :o(

(I don’t get how you can think a Prius is impressive. When you blow the horn on my car, it sounds like a doggy chew toy.)

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a fascinating article about why people choose to buy SUVs. They feel safer in them, though they are not.

Then, of course, occasionally a white SUV will nicely let me into a lane or whatever – blowing a hole in my theory.

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