Attacks on Private Hire Taxi Drivers in Oldham- Are they Racist?

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Martin Walsh- 02267324    ISE    Tutor- Sian Lincoln

Attacks on Private Hire Taxi  Drivers in Oldham- Are they Racist?

‘For three days in May 2001 the eyes of the nation, and a sizable part of the world, were on Oldham. The town whose main claim to fame was that it was once the cotton spinning capital of the world was thrust into the limelight for the less worthy reason that it was the scene of the worst racially motivated riots in fifteen years’. (Ritchie, 2001)

Since the riots of May 2001 there has been an increased occurrence of violent attacks on taxi drivers being reported in both local and national media, these attacks culminated in January 2003 in the murder of Izra Hussain, an Asian private hire taxi driver and father of six. The aim of this report is to try to find out whether these attacks are racially motivated.

In the Dictionary of race and Ethnic Relations (1984) E. E. Cashmore defines prejudice as ‘learned beliefs and values that lead an individual or group of individuals to be biased for or against member of particular groups’. Prejudice is therefore about what people think and is not necessarily translated into actions.

Discrimination, on the other hand, is about actions. Cashmore defines it as ‘the unfavourable treatment of all persons socially assigned to a particular category’.

Both prejudice and discrimination are often based on stereotypes about particular groups of people.

In order to research these attacks we are going to use various methods, making sure that we follow the three most prominent criteria for the evaluation of social research, which are according to Bryman (2001) are reliability, replication and validity. Reliability is concerned with the question of whether the results of a study are repeatable. Reliability according to Bryman is very close to another criterion of research- replication and more especially replicability. It sometimes happens that researchers choose to replicate the findings of others. The final and in many ways the most important criterion of research is validity. Validity is concerned with the integrity of the conclusions that are generated from a piece of research.  

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With these criteria in mind, the following methods of collecting data for this report have been chosen. The main body of data has been gained from a semi-structured interview using a mixture of open and closed questions. A structured interview entails the running of an interview schedule by the interviewer. The aim is for all interviewees to be given exactly the same context of questioning. For the purpose of this research the interviews were conducted in person by visiting the interviewees in their work situation. The sample for this research was taken from private hire taxi drivers, figures from Oldham ...

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