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IPFS News Link • Immigration

What is a Culture?


These days, I dread, under certain circumstances, getting into New York City taxis. Cultures around the world vary of course. (That should not be a taboo sentence.) And there are some cultures in this world which women have no voice at all, and are treated with complete disrespect. I don't wish to name that culture, as generalizations can indeed be racist or xenophobic.

I've lived for two decades in New York City, and usually my interactions with cab drivers are lovely.

But the new reality is inescapable: more often than not, when the driver of the taxi to which I am now doomed, is from a part of the world where these particular misogynist cultures exist, and if the driver is a recently arrived immigrant and male, I know that I will have a miserable argument before I can arrive at my destination.

"Sir, you are heading North — we are going to Brooklyn, which is South."

"Lady, I know what I am doing." Spat out between gritted teeth.

"I don't mean to offend you, but we need to turn left and go down Seventh Avenue — we have gone eight blocks North now, out of our way."

"Why are you telling me how to drive my cab?!?" (Voice rising.)

"I'd like you to turn left please at the next possible left turn, and head down Seventh."

"Do you think I am stupid? Do you think I don't know the best way to go? Do you want to keep telling me how to do my job?!" (Shouting angrily, waves of neon-red hostility filling the cab).