Some ‘Black-Owned’ Businesses on Uber Eats May Not Actually Be Black-Owned
Vice reports that Uber Eats has been letting restaurant owners classify their establishments as “Black-owned” on the app, without actually verifying whether that’s the case.
In the wake of the uprisings that followed the police murder of George Floyd, Uber Eats was one of numerous delivery apps to capitalize on the collective consciousness by making it easier for customers to support Black-owned businesses. Uber Eats also launched a program to waive delivery fees for Black-owned, non-franchise restaurants. But the initiative was contingent on the self-identification of business owners. As a result, some non-Black restaurateurs are reported to have taken advantage of the offer.
In the Vice story, Edward Ongweso Jr. writes:
On the one hand, out-sourcing the actual work of submitting restaurants and verifying that they are Black-owned is very much in line with the gig economy’s business model of outsourcing as many costs as possible to others (workers, customers, the public, etc.) and should come as no surprise. On the other hand, having such a barebones process that clearly has issues does not exactly square with a commitment to racial justice — instead, it seems more aligned with a commitment to a business model that, whenever possible, will extract value from Black people whether as workers or as advertising campaigns.
Setting aside the opportunism of non-Black restaurant owners cashing in on Uber Eats’ Black-owned business initiative, it’s hard to ignore the corporate hypocrisy in Uber’s hollow overtures of racial solidarity. As Ongweso Jr. points out in a separate Vice article, Uber operates on the backs of a majority non-White workforce of drivers, which the company deprives of benefits like health insurance and a minimum wage.