Firstly, before I go any further, let me just state that its not a topicI truly understand, as in what is and what isn’t, and my political correctness often leaves alot to be desired BUT it doesn’t mean I am racist, although I have been accused by friends, all be it in a jokey manner.
Basically I am the sort of person who likes to joke with people, laugh and we take the mickey out of each other, whether its for being short (Ruth) Blonde (Mary), Ginger (Hayley), even fat…yes thats right with my close friends we can literally joke about anything…my problem is that i find it hard not to completely be myself…therefore when talking to or about people I dont know it can often come across inapropriate. My argument though is this:
Firstly my jokes are not race specific, I might for instance make the assumption and joke about most Chinese people being short, but I also do it with Blondes being dippy or redheads being fiery….I am not seriously judging people, I am simply using their appearance in jest and to their faces and alot of the people i do it to have been fine with this, in fact they join in and we become firm friends…My confusion startes when otheer people start to tell me i cant say this or can’t do that.
Surely if both myself and the people I am talking to are OK then its OK? No? My other point is that if I stop jesting with these people on the basis that it MIGHT be deemed racist, then I am treating them differently because of their difference, I am excluding them and therefore being inadvertantly racist??
This is a musing brought on by my current situation!
I live in the Philippines. The people are generally happy, smiley, polite people. They reply if I ask a question and will help me as much as possible if I ask for help, go out of their way even. They are lovely peope but thee situation is strange. Where we live is far from the touristy areas, there are very few white people here and the only 2 Ii have seen since arriving are 50+ white males with younger local women (no judgement, whatever works for them) so basically being a young white woman makes me something of a celebrity!
This can be nice, I often get told I am pretty/cute/sexy in the street or shops, every man I pass calls out ‘hello maam’ and even the water guy who brings fresh water every week finally worked up the courage to ask if he can have a photo with me this week. As I said this can be nice.
But nice is what it is and nice isn’t what real friendships are based on, if we are to make friends we must make the scales balance, we must be equal and start to make a relationship more personal. This is where the problem begins, the locals are relucatant to progress further in conversation often just emitting a nervous giggle if I try to strike up conversation, they sometimes seem to actively avoid making eye contact in my street and if we do lock eyes and I smile (probably my scary, desperate smile) they flash a quick polite smile and back away slowly.
Now these people aren’t being spiteful or hurtful, they aren’t thinking less of me because I am white, quite the opposite in fact….Yet i still feel excluded, I feel alone in a city where I can pass hundreds of people on any given day, There is not a single time of day I am in total quiet, I can ALWAYS hear people, neighbours, strangers talking, laughing, conversing but I am unable to be a part of this. Its as if I am watching from afar, some sort of strange big brother where I am able to observe but not partake.
I try, I do my damnest to make eye contact and be open and friendly when the neighbours go by but to no avail, I seem to be on the ‘guest’ list and i’m beginning to expect Iwill never be an actual member.
Is this treatment just people or would you call it racism? I dont feel targeted maliciously, is that what makes racism racism? But i am treated different and it is very much because of my origin…does THIS make it racism?
Am i still completely mixed up and lost on the topic??
This is just general wondering by the way, iI am not unhappy here, I am comfortable in my own company and therefore I am fine with the arrangement, although I wont lie, a friend or two would be nice but still, I am not looking for sympathy or ideas how to make friends even, just some musings it has caused me to have and wonderings…