Dubai's taxi-ng life: Pakistani cab drivers & perceptions of discrimination from passengers



Publication Details

Ishfaq, S. 2019, 'Dubai's taxi-ng life: Pakistani cab drivers & perceptions of discrimination from passengers', Social Identities, vol. Online First, pp. 1-16.


The study is the first of its kind to be conducted in Dubai. It details racial and class discrimination experiences perceived by Pakistani cabbies from passengers. Since Dubai is a cosmopolitan city, the people it hosts and hence passengers in taxis belong to a plethora of distinct nationalities. Previous studies akin to this topic reveal that South Asian and other minority drivers in Western cosmopolitan cities such as Toronto and New York face voluminous instances of race and class-based discrimination-sometimes morphing into physical assaults. After conducting qualitative interviews of 19 Pakistani taxi drivers, it was revealed that Dubai diverges from this unsettling trend experienced in the West. Analyzing the interviews led to the creation of three broad categories, which elucidated that racial discrimination faced by the drivers was little to none, while class discrimination was present but only to a limited degree. Most drivers asserted that a high percentage of their passengers are well mannered and that the main issues they face stem from some permutation of the RTA (Road & Transportation Authority), taxi companies, and police. This latter revelation displays contours of apparent systemic discrimination and should be studied formally.

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