In Raymond Chandler's 1953 novel "The Long Goodbye" the following exchange occurs:

I got into the taxi and we went the three-odd blocks to my parking lot and shifted to my car. I held out the five-spot to the hackie. He gave me a stiff look and shook his head.

"Just what's on the meter, Jack, or an even buck if you feel like it. I been down and out myself. In Frisco. Nobody picked me up in no taxi either. There's one stony-hearted town."

"San Francisco," I said mechanically.

"I call it Frisco," he said. "The hell with them minority groups. Thanks." He took the dollar and went away.

What "minority groups" are the cabdriver referring to? Who was offended back then by San Francisco being referred to as "Frisco"?

  • 3
    When I first lived there, in the late 1970s, nobody who lived in the SF area called it "Frisco". We called it S.F. or "The City". "Frisco" was a shibboleth you could use to identify visitors (and I vaguely remember a story in the papers where the police caught a criminal because they said something like "I live over in Frisco", and the police got suspicious).
    – Peter Shor
    Feb 25 at 20:27
  • So maybe the "minority group" the cab driver was referring to was San Franciscans (who might have been offended by "Frisco"), and this is all an joke on Chandler's part.
    – Peter Shor
    Feb 25 at 20:41
  • @PeterShor I agree that this is some typical Chandlerian ironic witticism being spoken by the driver. I couldn't come up with anything other than your speculation myself but it just seemed that there might be more to it. For example, if the driver had said "them locals" I would 100% agree with that interpretation. Feb 25 at 20:43
  • Inasmuch as San Francisco is the Spanish name of an Italian saint, I can see how the nickname might be considered offensive by Spanish speakers, Italians, or Catholics, all minority groups in the USA. Maybe there are some hints in Herb Caen's book Don't Call it Frisco.
    – user14111
    Feb 26 at 4:00
  • What city are they in? Los Angeles? The cab driver is an outsider. From what I have read, most San Franciscans did not use it after around 1950. So, they weren't a minority. I don't know to whom he is referring.
    – Lambie
    Feb 27 at 17:20


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