Racism without racists

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    In the past couple of years, I have been a passenger in Sydney taxis driven, inter alia, by an agricultural engineer from India, a civil engineer from Somalia, a surgeon from Vietnam, an MBA graduate from Pakistan, an architect from Iran, and an IT professional from Egypt. I don’t recall ever being in a Sydney taxi driven by a native-born person. While this may not mean much as I don’t catch taxis all that often, I’ve been in taxis driven by native-born Australians in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. In contrast to migrant taxi drivers, none of them had tertiary qualifications. The overqualified migrant taxi driver has by now become a stock character of Australian literature, e.g., the taxi-driving former orchestra conductor from Vietnam featured in Richard Flanagan’s The Unknown Terrorist.
    Original languageEnglish
    Specialist publicationLanguage on the move
    PublisherLanguage on the move
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2010

    Bibliographical note

    Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • 200401 applied linguistics and educational linguistics
    • 200405 language in culture and society (sociolinguistics)


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