On Racist Encounters

As I have mentioned throughout this blog, I have never been a victim blatant of racism.

That changed about two weeks ago and it happened three times.

The first incident happened in when I went to visit a friend of mine in Boston of all places. To put things into context, my friend did not inform her flatmate that I was going to be visiting and staying with her for a few days. My friend is Asian and her flatmate is white. So when her flatmate saw me (I was alone in the flat at the time), she was visibly shaken and she just happened to have a knife in her hand. The look in her eyes very much alarmed me. You could see the look of fear, disgust, horror in her face. I almost wish she called the cops rather than me having to stare at the mixture of emotions on her face. After I introduced myself, she asked where my friend was and I told her she was out. The flatmate quickly ran to her room and slammed the door shut.

I know I would be scared if I came home and a stranger was lounging in my flat. But I would have questioned them and have the cops on dial if I genuinely felt scared or threatened. I also know my friend was in the wrong for not informing her flatmate about my visit but the look on her face made me feel like an alien. It was as if I didn’t belong in her presence. It was a very unsettling feeling. When I informed my friend about my interaction with her flatmate, she apologised to me and went to talk to her flatmate. Later that day, we talked about how my race played a role in the flatmate’s response. Would she have had that look on her face if I was white or Asian?. I reckon we will never know but the expression on her face is forever burned in my head. I’ve never had someone look at me that. I’ve never felt less than human. If looks could kill…

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