All of my UK friends of African or Indian descent have expressed to me how the racism they’ve faced in the past couple days amounts to a couple years’ worth. They’ve been verbally abused, told to go home, spit on, &c.. All of them.
People hate being told how racism is still alive in such “progressive” times, but are lost for words when things such as Brexit unfold and suddenly there’s an uptick in racism. “My word, where did all these racists come from?” the lady next door exclaims, shocked. They were always here ma’am, you don’t notice them because they don’t target you.
(I mean, I’ve lived in Texas and Georgia, whether or not Trump wins shouldn’t one view his progress as a sign of something serious? No? An old-timer from Alabama told me a couple weeks back that things haven’t really changed – “Sure, segregation’s officially done with, but black-folks and white-folks still living in the same places they used to live, doing the same things, drinking from the same fountains.”)
This is the heartbreaking thing about travelling the world while dark-skinned. I’ve been told not to go to Ireland or Russia or Australia or [insert multiple countries] by good friends because they fear for my safety, I’ve had my skin digitally-whitened in all of my passport pictures in every asian country I’ve been in, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been followed and questioned by cops as I’ve jogged early mornings in multiple cities, the number of times I’ve been called ‘dirty brother’ or ‘monkey brother’ in a foreign language as a “friendly nickname,” and of the number of times I’ve been partying, having a good time with someone drunk to suddenly hear them say, “Hey Arsène, I usually contain myself, but I feel I can be myself around you, you’re a likeable nigger.”
I get angry, really angry, but I’m wise enough to just walk away and shut up, every time. There are better ways to spend my time than righteous indignation, like making money. But there are days like today.
Blessed strength be upon you UK friends, for as much as I wish it did, it never gets easier being shown that the world you love doesn’t love you back.