I’ve discussed the phenomenon of racist taxi drivers before, but it never fails to surprise me when middle-aged men decide it’s okay to share their vitriol with me. I know I’m ostensibly white, and if my infinitesimal Ngati Whatua heritage doesn’t stop me from burning in the Auckland sun, I guess it doesn’t warn off taxi drivers either.
Not that white people shouldn’t be offended by racism, but I’m sure our differently-pigmented brothers and sisters don’t have to act the confidante to some “White is Right” wannabe. (And yes, I realise that they probably put up with active, rather than passive racism…)
So I was in a cab (*cough* Corporate *cough*) the other day, listening to the driver recounting a story about an accident he’d been in. “Did the bus stop after it clipped you?” I enquired sympathetically. “No, but I caught up with him and told him he was a Black C***.”
From the Corporate Cabs website:
Expect something special when you travel with Corporate Cabs. Your courteous uniformed driver will welcome you, open and close your door and ensure you arrive promptly and safely to your destination. Your driver is committed to going that extra mile for your comfort and satisfaction…
…whether you’re a coon, spick, wop, dago or kike.
I don’t care whether someone opens the door for me to be honest, and I’d even let the C-word slide (I’m hardly a delicate wee flower stricken with Consumption). But can I just jump in a cab and not be subject to overt racism? Anyone?
On the other hand, I wouldn’t have a problem if Peter Jackson decided not to change the dog’s name in a remake of the classic war flick Dambusters. Having a dog called “Nigger” in a movie set in WW2 is not racist, it’s historically accurate. It was a popular name for black dogs back then. My great aunt and uncle had a black lab so named. And I’m sure they had Heaps of Maori Friends.
As David Brent says on this exact topic (the dog in Dambusters) “That's not offensive. That's the dog's name. It was the forties as well - before racism was bad”. Jackson could change the name of the dog to “Trigger” though, like the original did for the US market.
Of course, all this speculation is academic. Jackson has said he’s not making the remake. Pity, I’d love to see it.