The cost of racism, part 2(a)

So I was leaving an ethnic community event when I noticed a frazzled white guy walking around kind of aimlessly.  The hood of his car was up.  He approached the one white guy in the parking lot and asked if he had jumper cables.  The white guy said no and walked away.

There were maybe a hundred people in the parking lot.  All with presumably running cars.  Maybe some of them even with jumper cables.  As I got into my jumper-cable-equipped car and drove off, I saw him standing there, looking around frantically.

7 thoughts on “The cost of racism, part 2(a)

  1. Heh. I wonder if he thought that Asians don’t have jumper cables, or if he thought that Asians don’t speak English and so he wouldn’t be able to communicate.

    I like this sub-series. I look forward to 2(b).

  2. I… am finding this series of entries extremely compelling. I don’t actually live these experiences; I just know theoretical and statistical stuff. The little vignettes like this are profoundly sad, but I appreciate the opportunity to read them.

    Thanks.

  3. Restructure! and Cobalt, the sad thing is that I could probably write through (z).

    It struck me as funny and ironic and sad that this white guy had what everybody with car trouble wishes for: a bunch of people nearby with cars.

  4. Hmm, I wonder if this counts as one.

    I was in an explicitly feminist and anti-racist space offline, and the only white woman in our otherwise WOC group ‘introduces’ us to a less-known type of ‘white people’ food, such that knowing about and consuming the food gives Stuff-White-People-Like white people higher status/cultural capital. Instead of responding, “Oh, I haven’t heard of that. Please tell me more about it,” I told her that it was one of my favourites, and gave her a recommendation about trying another (arguably upgraded) version of the food.

    Unable to comprehend the possibility that she was not the expert in the group about that food, she repeated the name of the food (incorrectly) and asked if I was talking about the same thing. I said yes, and explained in a different way about how the upgraded version is better.

    I was more aware my own hurt and about how she judged me based on my race, but I guess she also got one-upped.

  5. I just want to second how much I am loving this series of posts on the cost of racism. I’ve read the first one a few times already, and I’m going to forward these to some of my friends (white and POC alike). Keep ’em coming.

  6. Add me to the list of people interested in hearing more of these types of musings. Because this is the kind of thing that simply does not happen to me. If I were considering whether to approach this man with an offer to help, I would be thinking of my own safetly as a small white woman; not wondering whether I could be harmed because *I* would be perceived as a threat.

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