*no mainpage please* I have been wanting to post this for a long time, but I haven't really been able to get my thoughts together properly. I still don't know how articulate I can be about this, but I'm going to give it my best shot, because I'm feeling really downtrodden right now.
I'm of East Indian descent. My parents moved to America ten years before I was born. American culture is all I've ever known, and especially living abroad, I forget that I look different from the majority of other Americans here (99% of them are white). It's never been much of an issue.
When I was back on the mainland, people didn't really comment too much on my race. I know how lucky I am — mostly, I had to deal with just common ignorance, instead of real overt bigotry or hatred. People stopping me to tell me I'm exotic, or that they would pay oh-so-much money to have my skin color. It's irritating, but it's also easy to brush off, plus it didn't happen too often.
After moving here, things feel completely different. I get comments about my race ALL. THE. TIME. Let me break it down a little bit:
1. I moved here around the same time as another Indian girl. We've both been here for almost two years. TO THIS DAY, people mix us up. People who know us and should know better. Someone sent me a fucking work email (sensitive legal stuff) thinking I was her. We look COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Our skin colors are nowhere close to the same. And people don't even try to hide the fact that they can't tell the difference between us. Nobody looks at our faces; they just see brown. And the worst part? Almost every single time this has happened, which is approximately 3-4 times a week, someone will make the comment of "oh no, that's not so-and-so, that's THE OTHER ONE". The other one. "There's another one of them". Are you serious? This has been said in every possible context — professional, social, at the fucking grocery store, whatever. This has been ongoing and at first it was kind of funny (you have to laugh to keep from crying, right?) but now it seriously pisses me off. LOOK AT MY FACE & NOT JUST MY SKIN COLOR.
2. People here look down on Indian folk. A lot of people are here from Bangladesh and they're considered to be "low class" (let's not even get into how fucking problematic that is). The way I am treated when I am by myself versus with my white boyfriend is astonishing.
3. The other week, a woman was really horrible to me and my group of friends during brunch. I don't know her, and the backstory doesn't matter so much, but she basically started a huge fight with all of us. She called all of my friends "disrespectful". To me, she said to "get on a boat and go back to where I came from".
4. A man in a bar asked me if he could ask me a question. I sighed inwardly, knowing what was coming. Of course, he asked if I am of Indian descent. I confirmed, and he spent the next 30 minutes talking to me about his ideas about Indian and Middle Eastern culture, saying incredibly ignorant things, and getting into all the "oh so exotic" nonsense. The next day, he showed up at my work looking for me. Thank dog I was out. But fucking creepy. And it was all because of my fucking race. It's not like he got to know ME at all, he just fetishized and WAAAAYY overstepped the boundary of what is appropriate.
5. Someone came into my store, acted perfectly normally, bought stuff, and then on the way out stopped and looked at me and bowed and said "namaste". Dude, really?? I know a lot of people would say that's not a big deal, and maybe it isn't, but on top of everything else it was the last thing I needed. I'm not even Hindu! Not all Indian people do this!
6. Manquile and I were out at a bar two nights ago. This guy who we know very slightly came up to us and got all bro-y with my boyfriend, gave him a hug, etc. I jokingly asked why he got a hug and I didn't. The reply? "Because he's white". He tried to cover it up and pretend he said something different, but I heard it.
7. Last week I was at the grocery store. The man in line behind me asked where I am from and if I am Indian. Sick to death of it all, I responded with "I'm American". He said "What? Really? But...your face". I got a pretty incredulous look on my face, at which point he decided to continue and say "You have a big long nose, like Indian people!" I gave him my best death glare and walked away.
These are just a few examples. It's non-stop. And I know — this isn't as bad as a lot of stuff that other people have to deal with, and I'm probably really lucky and should stop complaining. But it's really starting to get to me. I'm sick and tired of feeling like the only thing people see when they look at me is my skin color. I'm tired of being looked down upon because of my ethnic background. I'm tired of being treated differently because I was born dark and female in this world. I'm tired of having to ignore all of this shit and pretending I don't notice when people say shitty shitty things. Last night I had too much wine at dinner, came home, and found myself crying on the couch because I am just so tired of this (the "hug" encounter at the bar the other night was really the last straw for me).
TL;DR funny gifs please?