I remember talking to a Swiss student once who had grown up in Eritrea. He always had a lot to say for himself and would talk to anyone, he just wanted to make friends – this lack of judgement is often rare in teenagers, unfortunately.
He told me one day that the reason he treated everyone equally was because he knew what it was like to be the odd one out – he’d grown up going to a school where there was only one white kid in the class, and that was him.
As I write this, I’m on a hot and sweaty Jakarta city bus – a tiny mini bus jam-packed with at least 50 people.
There’s a little boy pointing at me and shouting ‘bule’ (foreigner) to his mother who doesn’t think this is strange or inappropriate at all. It doesn’t bother me – I am used to be it different here – but I wonder how she’d feel if someone was pointing at her son and calling him different because of the colour of his skin.
As a sweeping generalisation, I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people that run in the same circles as I do (if I’m honest, people living in middle class, British communities) think that racism is a dying problem.
That is definitely not the case here. I am definitely the only white girl here, no mistake to be made about that.