Something strange happened to me last week. I became invisible.
Well, I say, “strange”, and “became”, but I suppose that what was strange was I’m actually more used to being overly visible, and this was the first time I was conscious of being INvisible .
Let me explain: I was involved in organising a Chinese New Year party for an adoptive families group. There were some 260 participants, most of whom were white adoptive parents. These people know me, even if we’re not great pals. They’ve seen me before and they know my name. But usually, I’m the only one of Chinese origin (apart from their kids).
But this time, I was one of 30 volunteers. And I was dressed the part. And it took me a while to realise that although I was smiling and saying hello, people were just kind of smiling lukewarmly back, not engaging, on their guard. This wasn’t just the usual trench born of reserve and timidity, but a big thick plexiglass wall that separated “them” from “us”.
And I wondered, if I feel that vibe, what are their children feeling?