A Tale of Two (Czech) Taxi Drivers

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A taxi driver having some issues with his cab outside Prague Airport. Perhaps it’s a Skoda.

Všude dobře, doma nejlépe,” as the Czech proverb goes, or if you prefer the English equivalent saying, “There’s no place like home.”

The difficulty I faced yesterday was getting there from Prague airport after my recent sojurn in a Spanish village. More on the quirks of the Spanish Village People vs. their Czech counterparts another time.

I would like to stress that getting from Prague airport to the centre of town by public transport is a straightforward business. The only reason I wanted to take a taxi is that I could feel a migraine coming on. Or perhaps, if I’m being brutally honest, I was feeling lazy. The wheels on my suitcase are less wheely than they ought to be and I was frankly sick of dragging it around.

I made my way to the taxi rank with my rather heavy suitcase. A waiting driver leapt out of his vehicle and eagerly seized it.

Part of me was tempted just to sink into the comfy backseat and speed off towards Czechman and the tasty leftovers which remained from his Mamka’s weekend visit — she ironed our sheets too because apparently she was bored — but I knew better than to give into that temptation.

—How much will it be to Holesovice? I ask in Czech, just to be sure that he knows this Angličanka has been here before.

—I don’t know. It depends on the traffic.

I push our taxi driver friend for a figure. —So approximately?

—700 or 800 CZK.

Seven hundred crowns! Gasp! That’s a lot of nice lunches or spoilt and western coffees — not to mention good old fashioned half litres of lovely Czech beer.

It’s time to be assertive.

—I’ll pay 500 CZK but that’s it.

The response is lots of angry handwaving. I snatch back my suitcase and storm off to the bus stop in disgust while Airport Taxi Driver shouts “TRAFFIC! TRAFFIC!” at me in English.

It turns out that there is indeed a lot of traffic on the road. The bus is packed with returning Czech holidaymakers, assorted tourists and all their huge suitcases. It takes far longer than usual to get to Dejvicka; even munching on several digestive biscuits does little to boost my morale. I can’t cope with getting on the metro, then getting off and hauling my not very wheely suitcase up the steps onto a tram — the handle has fallen off which makes this operation still more challenging — then off again.

I decide to compromise. I’ll take a taxi from Vítězné náměstí, which ought to be a reasonable 150CZK. Or at least it was that time last year when I got drunk, took the wrong tram then had to quickly find an alternative means of transport to get home.

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My taxi drivers weren’t quite this crazy. Or good looking.

Taxi Driver Number 2 — and it will soon become apparent that he is indeed a bit of a Number 2* — spots that I’m English. After a preliminary attempt to talk to me in my native language, the rest of this conversation took place in Czech. It could be therefore that I’ve missed some of its important nuances but the general gist went something like this:

—Ah London. I’ve been there. I didn’t really like it much though. Too many different people from different places, you know? I understand it’s because of your colonial history but it’s really not for me. Of course it’s good to travel, to see different things, experience different cultures, but everyone belongs somewhere. To me, for example, it’s strange that the children of those Vietnamese people have Czech passports. I mean, it’s really weird and not right in my opinion.

Arrgh! I’m stuck in an enclosed space with Politically Incorrect Cab Driver! Of course I don’t agree with any of this — and how could I, given that I’ve chosen to live outside the country of origin — but I’m tired and weak and unwilling to fight back.

I hate these situations because if you remain silent, as I did on this occasion, the person you’re talking to just assumes you agree with them. Which is of course A Bad Thing. However, I was in no mood to start a fight. I must have used up all my assertiveness for the day snatching my suitcase back from Taxi Driver Number 1.

Taxi drivers. Perhaps they’re the same the world over. If they’re not trying to rip you off, they’re forcing you to listen to their racist diatribes.

Czechman, playing devil’s advocate as always, claims that Number 2′s views aren’t exactly racist. Whatever. No-one’s going to be offering the bloke a job at the United Nations any time soon, that’s for sure.

And he charged me 211CZK, which I think is a bit steep. Perhaps I’m becoming more Czech by the minute.

I didn’t tip him. As if to show just how affronted he was by that fact, he counted each coin out into my hand individually.

All of this makes travelling from Prague Airport via good old public transport seem even more appealing.

Mamka’s leftovers were good though. As was the fantastic blueberry cake ( or buchta) you see below. Like I said at the beginning, “Všude dobře, doma nejlépe“.

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Czechman’s Mamka homebaking. The photo doesn’t do it justice.

*’a Number 2′ is kiddle slang (in British English at least) for the brown and smelly stuff we all produce. For example, a mother might say to a child, ‘Did you do a Number 2 today? if she was interested in his or her bowel movements. See how educational this blog can be, beloved Czech readers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Comments

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30 Responses to A Tale of Two (Czech) Taxi Drivers

  1. Good to know, thank You. Number two – make a poo. Number three – doing pee.
    I always wondered what message is hidden in the song Revolution Number Nine from Beatles’ White Album.

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Vitsoft,

      I like your logic but sadly what you call a number three is actually a number one. Don’t ask me why.

      And as for Revolution Number Nine, although I am most definitely a Beatles fan, I’m not sure this particular track really means anything!

      GIC

      • Unfortunately number one does not qualify as a nursery rhyme. Nevertheless, I don’t use neither 1 nor 3 for the description of the process mentioned above. Here in Czechland we call it by more appropriate names.

        BTW, which number have you assigned to puking?

      • girlinczechland

        Hello Vitsoft,

        I get the distinct impression that you’re poking fun at we British folk for our use of numerical euphemisms for bodily functions. Fortunately both our nations are great fans of sarcasm, so your comment made me laugh out loud.

        There’s no number for puking although there are plenty of synonyms — none of which I like to summon to mind right now as I’ve just had breakfast.

        GIC

  2. I wouldn’t call it racist either probably.
    The man lived decades in the country, where most exotic people were gypsies and suddently, in matter of few years, it is populated by people from every corner of the world. Not as much as in US or UK, but it is still such a huge diversity when you compare it with past.
    I was born into it, you too, but most Czech people not and the people of color are just unusual.

    It would be like calling these Australian aboriginal tribes racist, when they are surprised by white people trying to live with them :)

    • girlinczechland

      Hi Marketa,

      I do see what you mean. It must be hard for people in a previously ethnic homogenenous society to adjust to sudden immigration but perhaps it wasn’t so smart of Taxi Driver Number 2 to address his little speech to me given that I’m a foreigner. And also, he had a go at the Vietnamese who as far as I can tell, a) have lived in CZ for a long time and b) contribute a great deal to the society in which they live, most importantly of all in my food obsessed opinion, some great restaurants! ;) Which reminds me — must get around to doing a post on Sapa Market one day…

      I’d be more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if he hadn’t charged me 60CZK more than he originally told me the fare would be — no tip for him of course! He tried to wear me down by counting those coins into my hand individually but I remained strong…

      GIC

      • Yes, those are good points :)

        There is not too much hate against Vietnamese people, only few people don’t like them. But every country has it is racist people, some are just used to keep their opinions for themselfs.

        I couln’t live without them! I didn’t tasted their food yet, but I love all those shops just few steps from my appartment :)

  3. Also don’t think he was racist. But well, I am czech. He was.. limited in his oppinions lets say. Great story, next time you want to be lazy pre-order a cab pickup on the airport, you should be able to get into the centre in under 500.

    Great story, keep them coming.

  4. Richardinprague

    Oh, GIC, I can sympathise with you. I have to fight my way along Evropska every day, and because of the various “improvements” it really takes forever! And we all know that airport taxis rip you off anyway. You probably did the right thing. Ach jo!

    Regarding foreigners, they make up 4.15% of the Czech population (around 440,000). The largest group are from Ukraine (120,000), with the 84,000 Slovaks coming next. But “Number 2″ has a point – apparently one of the most common names in this country is “Nguyen”, which is hardly a traditional Czech name! Compare this, hwever, to the UK where the “Mohammed/Mohamud/Mahmoud” variants now outpace traditional British boys’ names like John and Peter, and I don’t think there’s a problem here yet.

    Some of your English readers may know “Number 2″ in yet another context – either as a verse of “Roll me over in the clover”, or as one of the roles in the 1960s TV series “The Prisoner”, in which Patrick McGoohan played “Number 6″ – but then you are far too young to know that :-) …. ask your Mum)

    Take care, breathe deeply, and r-e-l-a-x after your journey!

  5. Finda

    I am British. He sounded racist from here in Manchester.

    • Miles

      Original inhabitants can’t really be “racists.” It’s their country, complaining about foreigners is their hereditary right.

      If I’m to speak specifically about Czechs: Unlike British people and Spanish people and Portuguese people and French people and Dutch people, Czechs never conquered anybody, they never held any colonies, never subjugated any other nation. As such, they have no obligations towards any third world country; they have no moral debts to repay. And they have every right and every reason to dislike uninvited guests, especially since their fathers and grandfathers fought and bled in two wars during last 100 years in order to keep uninvited guests out.

  6. Dru

    Ahh, as always, mention an incident involving the Czechs’ racism, and you can trust a bunch of Czechs to bend over backwards trying to explain why the racism wasn’t actually racist. It was. No one gives a toss (well, no one apart from other racists, of course) that poor lil racist is not used to living around people of color. Racism is racism is racism.

    You know, I’ve been reading your blog for a while, because it’s interesting to see how a woman from England navigates the sexist, racist cesspool/bubble that is the CR (and cos you’re funny). I know how bad it is, I was born there, and had lived there for 22 years. I’ve lived in London for almost a decade now, and can’t imagine leaving it – and the racial/cultural diversity is one of the main reasons why I love it so much. England’s by no means perfect, but it’s light years ahead compared to the toxic attitudes/enviroment spread over the CR like a giant fart cloud. I sort of admire your ability to deal with it so calmly and tactfully, because I have pretty much no patience left for this crap, it makes me so damn angry.

    • I will argue with you. Racism is hatred of certain race.
      The driver didn’t said he hates Vietnamese. He said he don’t understand it.

      And whenever you are from, worst people in my opinion are those like you – loathing their native country and people who live there, just because they moved and now are (in their own eyes) better then anyone else.
      It is surprisingly a lot of them on Czech discussion forums, bragging, how great they are because they moved.

      You may not be racist. But you are nacist (since you hate Czechs) and ignorant.

      You speak agains hate with much more hatred then the taxi driver I imagine.

    • You really angred me, so one more coment.
      You are saying: racism is racism is racism.
      And you have no idae what “racism” is. I Wiki it for you:

      Racism, also sometimes called racialism, is generally defined as actions, practices, or beliefs that consider the human species to be divided into races with shared traits, abilities, or qualities, such as personality, intellect, morality, or other cultural behavioral characteristics, and especially the belief that races can be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to others, or that members of different races should be treated differently.

      I don’t think he said, they are inferior and should be treated with despect….

      But enjoy your life in political correctness in its extreme, I will live in my freedom of speech and thoughts.

      And if you think I am racist, good for you.
      Oh wait. I am racist. I hate human race… And also I have like french bulldogs more then chiuvavas.

      • Dru

        You are a typical racist, so of course I “angered” you. You also lack basic reading comprehension – you “read” what both the taxi driver and I said, and in your head you twisted the words into a shape that best fits your racist worldview – his into the words of a harmless, confused, misunderstood little soul, and mine into words of hatred. The guy said he thought it wasn’t right that kids of the Vietnamese have Czech passports. “Everyone belongs somewhere”, huh? And from his opinion, it’s clear that he thinks the Vietnamese definitely don’t belong in the Czech Republic. And yes, that is racist. Congratulations on being able to do a search on the internet – ignoring how the real world actually works and instead googling and copy/pasting rigid definitions from Wikipedia makes you and expert on racism!

        As for what I said… I don’t know, I keep re-reading it, but the part where I (according to you) said that I’m better than anyone else… could you point me to that part? Because I can’t find it. So either 1) it magically disappeared or 2) I didn’t say anything like that. Okay, before your lack of reading comprehension gets the better of you again, let me just give you the answer – 2 is correct.
        The only thing I said is that England (and note that I said it’s not perfect – we still have problems) is doing much better when it comes to issues like racism/sexism etc than the CR. And that is a FACT, whether you like it or not. People like you just loooove to talk about “extreme political correctness” – but that is just another phrase that racists/sexists/homophobes/islamophobes(and any other -ists & -phobes) use to shut up the people who’d had enough of being treated like crap and decided to speak up about the opression they experience on a daily basis. And since racists don’t like being told that they’re racist, they reply with something like “ugh, this is political correctness gone mad”, which is just another way of telling victimised people to just be quiet about it, because being reminded of your own racism hurts your precious feelings.

        “You speak agains hate with much more hatred then the taxi driver I imagine” – gosh, you have a point there – clearly, the right way to speak against hate is by being nice! Because that always solves everything! Just be nice to people who spread hate, and they’ll see the error of their ways!
        And that’s completely ignoring the fact that my comment didn’t even include any hatred – just speaking up against the racism that people like you are so damn proud of. Miroslav bellow me has it spot on – “When I visit my family in the Czech Republic I’m often shocked by the level of explicit racism and the mass denial of its existence. It almost feels as if admitting that the taxi driver was racist would make people uncomfortably aware of their own racist thinking.” – and that’s exactly what your angry comments to me are showing. But you’re partially right about one thing – I don’t like the country I come from. And the way it’s rotted to the core by racism is one of the main reasons why.

        And freedom of speech is a great thing – yes, it allows you to keep spewing the ignorant, racist crap you’re so proud of. But it also allows other people to call you out on it.

      • This is the part I ment: but it’s light years ahead compared to the toxic attitudes/enviroment spread over the CR like a giant fart cloud.
        But OK, that is just opinion and you are ofcourse free to hate your ex-home. I don’t like many things either, but I would never give up the view :))
        It is interesting I know few people from UK (not only from intenret) and they would never return there.

        So, you know who I hate? Well, you are right, as I said, I hate human race.
        I don’t do difference between colors or nation (Well maybe a little. I like Asian more then Europians or Americans, because they have much better culture and attitude to raising kids). I traveled a bit too, and I know people are basicly the same everywhere.
        And also Internet is good thing to get rid of predjuices.

        There are bad and stupid people, and those who you imagine as “typical czech, russian, american, asiat, african” but most of them are normal and same.

        You are right with the twisting the words probably.
        But as I said originaly, I do understand him and I don’t hate him, because he doesn’t understand the multicultural world of view. It is new (here) and not all people can accpet change so fast. Just look at all those commies.
        I was born recently, so I can’t see it as he, but that doesn’t automaticly mean I will blame him and torture him for his opinion.

        I am not sure with the part with the racism. I don’t think people here would hate other people, but they very often joke about it.
        And speak, and are not affraid of using forbiden words (as black), but not with hate, just because we don’t see what is wrong on using them.
        You don’t have problem when you are arab and want to flight by airplain. If you want to do it as Arab in US, you have to be prepared for all the physical examinations :/

        (In this part I would recommend you History of Humankind on Coursera, it is internesing, led by Hebrew university, with really interesting professor Harrari and he speaks a lot about imagined orders and this putting people into boxes, I think you could like it).

        I personaly like diversity, because it is more interesting, but I can feel with people who don’t understand it.

        As much as I understand you and people who are used on diversity, that they think it is racist.

        And sexism in CR is much lesser then in US/UK. I never went to con and been harased or laugh at because I am woman, but (according to internet) it happends all the time on the west.
        (I was strugling to belive it, but as I read more about it, it is apparently truth and not just some imagination of few crazy people).

        Yes, I may be racist in eyes someone like you, and I don’t mind it. I know, I don’t hate particular group of people more then others, but also I don’t care very much about others opinions, unless they cause reall harm.

        I re-read your original comment too, and I was overracting in first place, and I can understand your point of view (mostly after rereading the part with “it is not right for them to have passports” (I really thought he said it is weird, not bad).

        Wow, that is maybe longest text in English I wrote, so excuse my mistakes.

      • Dru

        Okay, first, thank you for acknowledging that you overreacted at first, I appreciate that. And second, your English is great, really. We can always continue in Czech (although I’ll admit my Czech is a tiny bit rusty) if you want, but since Mrs Girlova writes mostly in her native language and most of the comments on this blog are usually in English, I thought using English just made sense.

        Anyway.

        Yes, the point is that people are the same anywhere, we’re all people, that much should be obvious. HOWEVER, the problem is that any group of people who live as a group and adhere to certain laws/rules pertaining specifically to that group… well, eventually this group will develop a sort of general, group conscience. They’ll fall into certain habbits, and those habbits will, over time, become what we call “traditions”. And I don’t mean that every single individual member of that group will follow all of those like a robot – no, what I mean is that a majority of the group will, in various forms and on different levels, adopt certain ways of behaviour and thinking. Some traditions are great. Some aren’t.
        To give you a silly and harmless example – I can’t even count the number of times I saw English people fussing over their lawns, in the most ridiculous ways possible. Such a stereotype, right? But this happens because it’s learned behaviour. If, from the day you are born, you’re growing up and seeing a lot of people around you fussing about the grass, well, it’s very likely that after a certain amount of time you’ll start fussing about the grass too. Like I said, this is a really silly example, but I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.
        Now, this group thing gets worse if the group has to live for a long time cut off from outside influences. Like the CR. You get shut off for decades, you live in a bubble, and all the harmful things just spread all over the bubble and fester, and even when you’re no longer shut off, the crap you accumulated is so wide-spread and so ingrained in you that it will take whole generations before things really get better.
        This is the reason why certain countries can be more racist (or any other -ist) than others, as is the case with the CR. That’s why Czechs in general (as a group, please remember I’m not talking about every single Czech person ever) are more racist than, say, the English (and again I repeat, that doesn’t mean the English aren’t racist at all, that’s not what I’m saying).
        Now, this is the REASON why people like the taxi driver say the crap they say, but IT IS NOT AN EXCUSE. Of course I understand WHY he’s saying what he’s saying, but that doesn’t change the fact that what he’s saying is racist, and should be deemed racist and called out, challenged.

        But instead, you either bury your head in the sand and deny the racism is racist, or you brush it off with “well, it’s just his opinion anyway”. You say you don’t really care about other people’s opinions “unless they cause real harm”. But this is the problem – you don’t understand that opinions like this DO cause real harm. People like you think that as long as black people aren’t being called n*****s, everything’s just fine. For you, racism has to be something really big, in-your-face obvious like that. But that’s not how it works. Take, for example, the black community in the US – there’s this wide-spead, ingrained way of thinking that black people = criminals. Justin Bieber can wear low-slung pants and a hoodie and that’s okay. Trayvon Martin got killed for the same thing, because George Zimmerman had the “opinion” that a black child in a hoodie walking through a white neighborhood was up to something bad. And the number of cases like this is endless. Just a few weeks ago, cops shot dead a black man who was in a car crash, and, completely disoriented and desperate for help, banged on a white woman’s door. She did what any woman should do when a strange man knocks on your door in the middle of the night – she called the police. So far so good. But she didn’t tell them that she didn’t know what the man wanted and that he might need help – no, she told the operator “I hope they get him”. And they did. The cops didn’t even bother trying to find out what was going on when they got to the scene – they saw a disoriented black guy, tasered him, then shot him dead. Nine times, if I remember it correctly. Or… a black man, a university professor no less, who got arrested while trying to get into his own house, because a white neighbor thought he was a burglar. This sort of thing happens all the time. Black mothers in the States teach their sons, from an early age, how to behave when (not “if”, but WHEN) they get stopped by cops. And they don’t teach them this so that they wounldn’t get into trouble – they teach them this so that they wouldn’t get killed. Can you imagine? Having to teach your little boy how to act so a bunch of cops don’t shoot him? And all this happens because of harmless “opinions” like the one of the taxi driver. If this kind of mindset is all around you since the day you’re born, you absorb it, you accept it, consciously or not, and you pass it on. Because the white woman grew up with the message “black = bad” being hammered into her by the society around her, she absorbed the message, and it influenced the way she reacted that night, it influenced the way she spoke to the police operator, and that, in turn, influenced the way the cops (who grew up with the same message hammered into them) dealt with the situation. And because of that, an innocent man, who only needed help, is dead.

        Small, “harmless” problems always lead to bigger problems. No “opinion” exists in a vacuum, or is without consequences. This stuff adds up. A snowflake is just a harmless snowflake, but put enough of them together and you get an avalanche. One drop of water is just a harmless drop of water, but if you leave thousands of them just drip-drip-dripping for long enough, eventually PEOPLE WILL DROWN. Every little thing matters. And if you want to eradicate the big problems, you have to start with the small ones. Like caring about that man’s opinon. Admitting that it’s racist, no excuses. Admitting that this mindset is all too common, and that it needs to be changed.

        As for sexism, nah. The UK/US has huge problems in that area, of course. It’s something I’m quite passionate about, actually. But the CR is worse. Just remember how much people still defend the Easter woman-beating. That is something most people here in the UK would find absolutely horrifying (you should see the reactions I get whenever I explain the custom to people), yet Czechs will defend it until the cows come home because it’s “tradition”. Screw that. It’s a f****d up tradition that needs to disappear. And don’t even get me started on the fact that there are problems that the UK/US feminism has identified and is trying to change, problems that the CR hasn’t even identified as problems yet, let alone actively trying to change them or giving them a name. See “Rape Culture” or things like “The Nice Guy Syndrome” and “Slut-shaming”.

        Anyway, thank you for the Coursera recommendation, I’ll check it out.

  7. Miroslav

    I’m Czech, living in Britain. I really enjoy reading your posts girlinczechland. It is a sort of reverse psychology thing – you’re helping me to see my country through the eyes of a Brit, while I’m looking at Britain through my Czech eyes.

    I can’t help it but often when I read your posts it makes me feel good about my decision to move here. Living here taught me a lot about respect and kindness. When I visit my family in the Czech Republic I’m often shocked by the level of explicit racism and the mass denial of its existence. It almost feels as if admitting that the taxi driver was racist would make people uncomfortably aware of their own racist thinking.

    Anyway, keep your posts coming, I always like to see ‘co se děje doma’.

  8. Morrigan

    I will probably anger some Czech fellows, but I do agree with girlinczechland that the taxi driver was a racist. Or maybe you could call it xenophobia which is probably the most popular phobia in Cz as I have noticed. I have never been to UK but I have heard many Czechs who have saying how weird it is with so many immigrants there. They talk about walking down the street and not meeting a single European. I have heard a Czech woman ranting about Africans in UK and how she had became a racist in Uk because of them. Well, wow. I guess that many Czechs (young or old) are not used to immigrants…yes, it’s called xenophobia. And xenophobia is as bad as racism.

    • You are probably right.
      The racism is “lets forbid those people to do this and this, because they are different”.
      I don’t hear this. But I hear a lot the “fear” of arabs will take over our society and we will have to live according their rules. For example.
      They don’t say “I hate arabs” they (we) say “let them do whatever they want, but they have to act against our rules and not have special treatment and builduings.”
      And a lot of people speaking about that in 10 years there will be their rules (funny part, there are no arabs in Czech. Maybe one hundert or so, I see some once in a year).

      It is as you say “fear” or unsecurity and I can’t deny that. But I think it will get better with time.

      • And I can probably understand how it must seems weird to UK or US people, who were raised in diverse society.
        When I go even now, in 2013, to the mall near center (but not exactly center) of Prague, I meet many, many, many white people, one family of Vietnameese people and that is all.
        Once in a year maybe some woman in hijab (which doesn’t automaticly mean arab).
        When I would go on walk in London or New York it would look very different.
        It is just so far still very different cultures, but it will probably change and Czech will be diverse and multikultural too in future, but not now.

  9. Answer for Dru (can’t reply anymore).
    I can continue in English, it is more exhausting, but at least I train it :-)
    I understand your example with lawns, it is great explanation of stereotypes. In my original post I was mainly trying to explain “why”, put some context to it for people who don’t know Czech as GIC or partialy you.
    No, it is not excuse, there is many old people, who are not racist, it is just like with the communism. Only Czechs can vote for them volunteraly. Sevral times, and when they get rid of them, they want them back, but of course, not all old people are like that.

    And I would never ever excuse someone who votes communists (unless he is 80 years old or more), so yes, it was weird I am exusing this racism (or phobia).

    But instead, you either bury your head in the sand and deny the racism is racist, or you brush it off with “well, it’s just his opinion anyway”. You say you don’t really care about other people’s opinions “unless they cause real harm”. But this is the problem – you don’t understand that opinions like this DO cause real harm.

    This is tricky. We can forbid people to talk this way, but will it change their opinions? They will speak like that in home, to their children, so it won’t influence anything, or will it? It is hard to say. I am not for freedom of speech in all cases. I would be for IQ tests before writing on internet! :) But I am not sure if you can change people, if you forbid them to talk about it.
    Also I am not sure if I want the perfect PCness as in US or UK. The jokes are jokes. And truth is truth (I never understood why “black” is offending. It is not in Czech. I think, I am not even sure, so I avoid talking about this topic:-)

    I didn’t know it is so bad with black community in US. It is simmilar with gypsies here (without the shooting). And this fear is clear. We don’t have much murders or shooting in Czech.
    But for example recently young gypsi on bycikle was hit by car. Driver didn’t stop. The other, who pass by later did, and you know what happened? He wanted to help, and get beaten so much, he almost died. By the young boy family.They was calling him “white bitch” etc – clearly racist attack. You know, what punishment the attackers got? None, because they are gypsies. And this is happening often, and it is one of the reasons, why we have the racist reputation. (And of course I know, not all gypsies are bad, and I am trying to convince people to realized it, but it is hard, and I am scared of them either. But I am scared of most people! Especialy groups of people.)

    The examples you are stating about black people being shooted so much are really horrible, and I really never realized it is so bad in US. Since there are black doctors, actors, profesors, we don’t have any gypsy profesor or doctor, so I thought it is mostly solved in US, except few KKK morons.
    But this is also hard, because if you have the experience and one particular group do you harm sevral times, you can’t help it self not to fear and judge (in discussions about gypsies/arabs I am often saying, I was twice robbed by white people, so all white peoples are bad. And it is truth:). I know it is bad, but if your father was killed by them (whoever “them” are), the “they” robbed you and hurted you, you will be carefull and suspicious. And then you spread the world and problem is here…
    Sexism: I know that there is problem for women to get job in certain age. It is because we have the 4 years old paid “maternity vacation”, and employeer is force to keep the place for the woman who is out with child. I understand, that they are scared to train a woman, invest into her, and then she leaves after 3 months and he will be forced to pay her for nothing.
    And I know A LOT of women, who hides pregnancy when they are going to the job interview.
    I know about rape culture, that is one of the things I just didn’t belive they are happening. Then I read and read… And belived. But I don’t think it is happening in Czech.
    Woman may fear to report it from obviouse reasons, but I never seen that some Czechs would blame victims. Never. They always want to castrate the rapist.
    I play a lot of MMO and I never see on Europian servers people being mean on women. They are surprised, but in nice way.
    Someone defends it O.o – I guess I didn’t visited novinky or idnes discussion in long time :-/
    I remember only that we shouln’t interfear (zasahovat?) into foreign societies. As I wrote before in other post, Czech people has this world view: You can live here, if you will live here according to our rules. Do what you should do, don’t want special rights (as burka in banks etc). And we won’t mess up with your society, but I see around me a lot of racism based exactly on this (Saudi Arabia women can’t drive therefore all arabs are evil women hating people).
    I will have to Google “The Nice Guy Syndrome”. And I am not sure on „slut shaming” thing, since it is everybody choice what he wears and he acts.
    Sexism here is (imho) just in the work related stuffs, then of course domestic violence, but I would say US is maybe worse in this manner. (But on the other hand it is maybe just taboo we don’t speak about and I didn’t noticed it.)
    I hated feminists, now I don’t, since I see the US problems, and I see they really are still needed. But I am still for men being men and women being women (like you should be OK when the guy hold the doors, and don’t blame him for sexism, when he is nice. That is favorite Czech urban legend, that in US they can suite you for holding door to woman:-)).
    A bit longer answer then I expected and I won’t read it after myself, so hopefully it will be clear!
    I am glad we speak about this in such civilized way at the end :-)

  10. Dru

    Marketa – I’m glad we’re having a civilised conversation too. Here’s my email – halloweenish@gmail.com – jestli chces pokracovat, email by byl jednodussi, rada bych si s tebou o tomhle popovidala vic. Samozrejme pokud nechces, to je ok, odpovim pozdeji tady :)

  11. J

    Interesting, two taxi drivers, one tries to overprice and second, english speaking, is a racist. What a lucky coincindence. I smell a cheap made up journalist’s sensation here.

    • girlinczechland

      Hello J,

      You’re right to read all ‘true stories’ with a sceptical eye but in this instance, sadly, I didn’t need to exaggerate. Not one bit. After all, is it really so hard to believe that a taxi driver would try to overcharge a foreigner at the airport — even if we no longer live in the Wild Nineties? And as for Number 2, I’ve actually toned down his comments — some of what he actually said would have sounded still more shocking to liberal ears…

      GIC

  12. Matěj

    I hate how certain (especially older) czech people cant get over the idea that this land is theirs and refuse to welcome other nations, I would call it downright xenophobia, despite the debate about historical background and all that.
    I love how you randomly swap english words for czech ones though. This angličanka has been here before indeed! :D

  13. Indian

    For Dru:

    I really like self-hating Czechs. They are like self-hating Jews but little less cool…

    I do agree with your essay about origins of racism in Czech but thing is much more complicated. Civilization level is getting lower especially in the case of young generation. (I bet Markéta is younger than you). Racism and xenophobia is trendy now. When I was younger it was more shameful. Some smaller part could be considered as imported by popular culture from the west (not saying all bad was ever imported from abroad and all Czechs are good puppies)

    See for example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1y2wri4gwE

    I say nobody colored. And negr is not czech origin, too. Proper czech word černoch is neutral (as běloch for white person). We need not made up such words as Afročech.

    To the Easter traditions:
    Do you now what “cultural racism” does mean?
    There is no real harm from pomlázka. I think the origin of attack to this tradition may be because of its pagan look.

    See difference:

    http://rt.com/news/self-crucifixion-filipino-036/

    http://files.tachovskafarnost.cz/200000228-5e4c75f466/poml%C3%A1zka2.jpg

    Yes on blood the Filipinas are winning.

    Yes, Filipinas are Asians and Christians so no one dare openly attack this ritual. All fear they will be accused from racism (Asians) and religious intolerance. Yes, fertility ritual is quite good target with no defense of strong church, money and real violent practices. So no one attack as:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/medieval-fertility-ritual-leaves-czech-womens-rights-in-the-dark-ages-659005.html

    Maybe this is also racism or not? But more hidden. These fucking conquerors used their cultural and physical violence to wipe out many nations in America, Africa etc. They were considered barbaric. It is still in them.

    Of course even pomlázka can be damaging weapon in the hands of idiot. But everything can. And girls who wish not to be whiped can say no. And they have their weapon too (cold water is maybe good enough for overheated mauler).

    So be careful before you start to smooth down a soul of nation even if your own. You can only consider how danger it is or feelings of participants. There in CR is probably bigger personal freedom than in UK or US and anyone can say: Go fuck yourself with pomázka I will not play.

    And do not argue with sexism (in this case I mean, it is problem in CR, much more than sexism it is equality in jobs). Or you see any women on the cross?

  14. Pingback: Pies and Prejudice: Girl in Czechland hits Manchester | GIRL IN CZECHLAND

  15. Nobody

    I didn’t have any time or willingness to read some long rants here. Nobody’s going to solve anything with them. And some people will always pride themselves in vocally holding the only right view… and label any dissenter from it.

    It’s good that people have a choice nowadays. That those who like London can enjoy London; and those who prefer Prague can enjoy Prague, or any other place, or its ways. Let’s be thankful for the choice, so long as it’s there.

    I understand that those who believe there is only one right (theirs) would rather not have us have it.

  16. Dear GIC,
    May I suggest you give Liftago a try next time you are in a “lazy mood” for a public transportation. Your insecurity and discomfort with Prague taxi drivers should be substantially relieved.
    Disclaimer: I am associated with Liftago so this could be seen as a tricky way to slide an advertising in. I truly wanted to share an information about the free Liftago service with you with the hopes it’ll make your living here in Prague more pleasant. If you give it a try and you will feel like Liftago is something that could also help many of your blog’s readers or friends I would gladly discuss opportunities for cooperation further.

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