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“Hey Cabbie! Where are you From?” An Examination of Everyday Racism in Toronto’s Taxi Industry

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posted on 2021-06-08, 10:35 authored by Jessica Walters
Using an anti-racist Marxist lens, issues of social exclusion and settlement are broadly highlighted taking into account racism in an industry that is most commonly noted for its ease of entry for immigrant professionals. This study attempts to build on previous studies of Toronto’s taxi industry (Hathiyani, 2006; Abraham, Sundar, & Whitmore, 2008) to focus specifically on racism. This research paper examines the extent to which ‘everyday racism’ is both a by-product of and a critical ingredient in perpetuating structural racism, using Toronto’s taxi industry as a case study. Drawing on interviews from 18 fulltime taxi drivers who identified as racialized groups and were born outside of Canada, it describes the familiar tensions associated with experiencing and responding to instances of racism in a precarious industry. In the absence of an association, anti-discrimination or workplace rights to protect the driver against racial abuse and harassment, drivers are forced to negotiate their responses on an individualized basis. Drivers linked everyday racism to both class position and structural racism within the industry. These findings strongly demonstrated inadequate policies to protect drivers from everyday racism in the workplace as a result of both structural racism and a neo-liberal climate. This warrants further inquiry as Toronto’s taxi industry is a major employer of racialized, immigrant men.





Immigration and Settlement Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

Thesis Advisor

Aparna Sundar Mustafa Koc