Desensitized to Racism?

Text sent to a British-American friend:

So I went out with a white Canadian girl, a British-Indian girl and two Irish guys.

On the way back we went to this food stand and these two French guys were being rude and talking trash. We had had a few drinks but the Canadian girl and I were sober. So these two ‘Marseillaise’ (mar-say-yays) didn’t speak much English but they managed to call the British-Indian girl a “black girl“.

So everyone FLIPS OUT like “NAHHH that’s racist; apologize” etc. And they start saying it was joke blah blah. So we start walking away and I realize the British girl is crying. I’m like “whoaaaa you know they are just ignorant don’t let it get to you” etc. But she started going off on how since she’s been here there’s been so much racism and in England it’s not like that.

And I guess growing up in America, I don’t know if the right word is desensitized, or maybe it’s my nature of letting things roll off (perhaps as a result of people’s ignorance in America) but it just didn’t bother me that much. I mean yea I was appalled (and confused) by their ignorance but I suppose I’m kinda used to it. Especially being African, I’ve heard every joke there is. And as a result, I’ve grown tougher skin.

Anyways ‘moral?’ of this story is that it’s so sad that racism and ignorance have become a norm for me 🙁 Coming here, I was prepared by other Americans like “yo, French people and Europeans in general, are racist”. But just the fact that homie really started crying as a result of a racist comment, to be honest, is kind of refreshing. Like somewhere in the world, ignorance and racism are not something someone deals with in their daily life.

Response:

Living in America does desensitize us to racism. It’s so prevalent that it’s almost not that much of a big deal anymore. smh I can only remember one instance in England where my race was brought up (& we were literally the only black family in town lol) it wasn’t even in a negative way either. p.s. I don’t mind your rambling

That ish cray.

5 thoughts on “Desensitized to Racism?

  1. You might want to re-think that whole incident. Your friends, especially the Brit, got upset over her being called a Black girl? Think about that and who the racists are if they can be upset over being labelled the wrong race.

    And, frankly, if saying some is Black is “racist,” we’ve got bigger issues.

  2. naturalfantastic

    In some cultures it is an insult to refer to someone as black when they are not. This is particularly true in some Asian cultures, where light skin is preferred and skin lightening is a practice (just like it is in many African cultures). To call a person black (who isn’t) is to imply their skin is so dark they look black. When I was in Cambodia there were some Chinese tourists sitting near me. One was observing a picture of herself that her friend had just taken. She said “oh no I look black”. Her friend said “don’t worry, you don’t look black”. I was standing right there.

    It’s a shame those people upset your friend though. The fact that they were even referring to race may have been enough to upset her and it may have been one of many incidents. I’m also British and from my experience it is prevalent in the UK, although it depends in where you live. Some racists like to make subtle comments to push your buttons, but love to claim they didn’t mean anything by it. This can sometimes be worse than blatant racism. I hope she will learn to ignore them in time. I don’t think ignoring such people is becoming desensitized, it’s simply choosing to not let it ruin your day.

    • I wish I could ‘like’ your reply. There’s been so many sly comments made towards me since Ive been here. But i havent let it bother me. I hope with time she’ll learn to do the same.