A small section of the crowd at the first anti racism rally in Belfast
A small section of the crowd at the first anti racism rally in Belfast

I’m going to tell you a story about a private taxi journey I had on Saturday.

Now, this is true bill and I am not going to hold back on what the conversation was. All I’m going to say is – the taxi man was from my usual depot and I’ve had loads of conversations with him. But this time, the subject was new.

Apologies in advance for any offence caused but I want to show the racist side that is alive and well in West Belfast.

I was going to the #UniteAgainstRacism rally in town and wanted dropped off at Belfast City Hall.

The driver asked me if I was one of these ‘anti racists’. Proudly I said yes, I mean – who isn’t? He got a bit anxious from the outset and his body language displayed a level of discomfort.

He himmed and haaed and knew he was in for a long journey. He had a choice of keeping quiet or letting rip. He let rip. Me, being the balanced and level headed inquisitive type allowed him to air his views. With the secret intention of writing about it.

First up was the immigration issue. He asked me “do you not worry about all thesin’s coming in?” I told him that as we are part of the EU – we are free to move around it and so are they.

He went on to say it was the Romanians that he didn’t like. He called them ‘thieving bastards’ who only come here to pick pocket and torture people in town. He said the car wash ones are ‘alright’, adding, they do a good job. He said he heard they only got paid £30 a day.

We talked about the peace process playing a part in our society becoming more diverse.

He said he didn’t mind ‘the chinks’. Because they’ve been here all along.

He asked me if I thought he was racist and I said yes, you’re very racist. He laughed and asked me if it was wrong. I told him that we are just two different people and that everyone has their own prejudice. I told him about a black guy I knew who didn’t like Pakistani’s.

He told me not to get him started on them ‘dirty stinking paki fuckers’. I asked him if he knew any people from Pakistan and he said he didn’t. He said he ‘just didn’t like the smell of them’. I told him that some people from other countries think our B.O smells of sour milk. Because our diet is so high in dairy. Likewise if we notice an odour from someone whose diet is high in spice – it will be different to what we’re used to. He didn’t like the sound of that and was taken aback that his pits didn’t smell of roses.

Trying to play down his rant, he said he just didn’t like ‘the blacks’. He said if his daughter ever brought a black fella into the house – he would ‘have him out the front door’. He told me about a ‘big girl’ in his ma’s street who is going with a black fella. He said “you can tell what he’s up to. He keeps himself well, wears nice clothes and you wonder why he is with her because she’s a beast. He knocked a child out of her to get staying here”.

Yes. You read that right.

Our conversation wandered into what was appropriate to say these days. We discussed old people being racist and the possibility of why the Gurkha’s were never stationed in Northern Ireland. He told me his granny is in a nursing home and gets on like she’s ‘in the klan’. She has blamed ethnic minority staff on stealing her jewellery even though her family have it for safe keeping. He told me his granny frequently shouts ‘them niggers and gooks are beating me and stole my gold’.

He was actually beginning to turn my stomach and I was glad the journey was coming to an end.

I asked him why he didn’t want his daughter to go out with a black person. He said that his ‘white blood line’ would be over. I told him there is no white blood, all blood is red. He said “you know what I mean, my family would look different forever”. He didn’t want grandchildren that were of mixed race.

I’m not going to comment further because I’ll let you make up your own mind. I’ve made mine up and I’m going to use a different taxi depot from now on.