It was late in the meal when I mentioned his reputation among other journalists. He held his chopsticks in his hand.
“What did they say?”
Steve McQueen is 44 years old, tall and robust; he wore a T-shirt beneath a lightweight sport jacket and dark slacks and large black-rimmed glasses. He is exacting in his ideas, and sometimes struggles to communicate exactly what he’s thinking (he has occasionally borrowed reporters’ pens and paper to help him articulate his thoughts). He is full of energy.
“That I’m difficult?” he asked.
I rattled off some other descriptions: “curt,” “combative,” “volatile,” “scornfully dismissive,” “bullish,” “arrogant.” He pondered it a bit more. He asked whether I had an idea why this reputation exists. I told him I was more interested in his. “It’s journalists getting uppity, and when I get uppity, they write this.” It was an easy caricature: They expect him to be “from the ghetto,” he said, “to behave a certain way.”
“Excuse me for saying it,” he said, “but I suppose it’s because I’m black.”
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