First encounter with racism

I was waiting for a bus and saw this across the street:

Two Indian-looking guys (both 30ish, real South Asian “Indian“, not “native” Indians) were standing outside an apartment building, with their backs to the Lobby. A white (40ish, ‘visible majority’) guy accompanied by a woman, came out of the lobby, sneaked up behind them, and yelled at the top of his lungs, over their heads: “Shoo!”. This startled the hell out of the two guys.

The white-guy and his girl had a hearty laugh, and walked on – while the two guys were still too shaken with this. As the white-man and his girl walked away to a distance, he turned around and shouted: “Terrorist Black Men!”, as the girlfriend provided a beautiful laugh-track.

The Indian-looking guys then composed themselves, smiled a little, shook their heads, said something to each other quietly, and got back to their conversation – probably discussing why they were respectfully referred to as “black” when they were clearly light brown and profiled “terrorists” when waiting outside a building is still not categorized by the police as terrorism (instructions from Prime Minister Harper or his Conservative “Homeland Security” Party still awaited, I guess). Ah, what do I know, I’m still new here!

This was my first ever encounter with racism in my life, although I’ve travelled across the world and lived in a few white, brown, yellow countries as well. I am too, a member of the visible minority by the way. Welcome to Racism in Canada, I whispered to myself.

First Published: August 16th, 2006


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