I had a hint of this feeling when I crossed a stand selling makeup. I saw a sea of browns that if I had the time, could easily find a match. Getting my hair done? Damn right everyone would know how to do my hair. Then, tonight, as my host mother, myself, and another American who lives in the house went to a local market for henna,it hit me: I am not the minority here. My other American friend realized, while getting her hands and feet designed,that she was the only white person there.I, however, could at least pass as African enough to be spoken in wolof by street peddlers. Our experiences, I noticed, have been different.
My friend, as a white woman,can be easily identified as foreign with her lighter skin and straight hair.People who've wanted to get her attention have just shouted "toubab" or say something in English. Lots of men want her attention because she is both a lovely woman and an exotic foreigner.I have caught the attention of men as well, but they have been respectful enough not to bug me. Perhaps they can tell that I'm not from around here by the gait of my walk or the clothes I wear (once I talk, it's obvious), but it's not such a glaring difference such as the color of my skin to give me away at first glance.
I wouldn't use privilege as the situation I am experiencing as opposed to my other American friend.I would call it being in the majority.it's a comfortable thing to be in the majority. People don't notice you and your differences so easily, and you can go through unencumbered if you play your cards right.It's looking the way people expect your average person to look like and not sticking out.
The comfort of being in the majority is kind of disturbing. I mean, it feels so good not to be singled out because of some minor difference.Why would you want to change it?The thing is, I have always considered myself richer in experience for being in a varied environment. One's mind can get too comfortable if they only experience the experiences of people like themselves.I had no idea how comfortable it could be until now.