Looks. No not looks of oneself but receiving looks to oneself. It really shouldn’t but it’s getting a bit tired now having weird looks to me when walking around alone exploring when I’m travelling.
A part of me thinks it’s all in my head, but more and more it’s a reality. Some of you may jest in saying “It is because your handsome!”. Although very kind and does make me smile, it’s not that. For you Caucasian readers this feeling will never be understood. It’s also very hard to describe the feeling I, we, have. Part sadness that why can’t people ignore and not be scared or hate us. Part mentally draining to stay positive. Part anger in thinking who the fuck are you to look down on us. Part fear of our own children facing this animosity and not being able to comprehend. And nor should they for that matter.
Just today I arrived at my hotel in Budapest, there were two police officers outside not sure why. Met my colleague inside and one of the first things he said what would happen if you walked outside and shouted Al-Qaeda and Akbar with those cops? As always I ignore and laugh because something best left unsaid as it’s pointless to try and make a bent stick straight. However it is that mentality and attitude, no matter how benign, that we have to face day in and day out now. Over dinner many comments as usual which is fine, look i’m the first to joke around the hilarity of the whats happening in the world, but one in particular stuck it to me about how crime is always intrinsically linked to person of ethnicity. How is it possible that the largest percentage of the criminals are always ethnic MINORITIES. The maths doesn’t make sense. But yes it is understandable why this is happening and why this perception is prevalent. Take a look at this video to understand my point.
Although it focuses on black America but the same principle applies everywhere in the west. Ironically I remember after 9/11 a black friend told me now you know how it feels for us. He was and still not wrong. I hate playing the race card but also you cannot ignore the fact that last year when I was looking for a job and you had a generic white name vs my name on a CV, mine will be the one not looked at with the greatest of attention. Perception, ghetto’s, funding etc all originating from institutional racism.
I’m sat here sipping on a Pepsi smoking shisha thinking again as I always do what is the solution to this? Is there any? Education simply does not work. Media correction will never happen. Even when movies like Black Panther and Get Out blatantly spell it out in a way that should be accessible. Why? Because one it is too late and secondly you cannot change generations of fear and arrogance. Although there is hope with people I have met, and ironically there is a clear pattern of what those people do. They travel. Those people who get exposed to non tourist locations realise how insignificant they are and suddenly a light bulb is illuminated. So is actual experience the solution? Totally! But also it’s one of the founding reasons of this behaviour in the first place and cannot happen in a generalised way.
Without sounding extremely pessimistic, I truly believe there is no solution. Things will not get better. The divide will be greater. The looks will increase. There will be more trash cans with the word Allah (God) written proudly. It is a fact of life. Fact.
So what will I do personally? Like I have always said, no matter how tiring or emotionally exhausting it is, I will keep on smiling. I will keep on showing respect. I will keep on doing what is morally right. I will keep my silence. I have given up on trying to think this will change, but I have not given up on humanity and nor myself. This life is but a drop in the ocean. I will continue my focus on what truly matters, my family, my health, my knowledge and my faith. If those are taken away then you can be damn sure silences around the world will be broken and we will all valiantly be stating, NO, you move. Peace and Love.