As a former police officer who has also done 63 days in solitary confinement (for of contempt of court), I know that racists like your drunken friend on the train are a dime a dozen in and out of prison. The best thing about them is that they are easy to see coming, especially when you realize that they come in all colors.
Of more concern are the quiet racists who make it difficult for an individual like Baratunde to discern whether they are under racial attack or simply dealing with an unpleasant person. It is this continuing doubt about people’s motivations that ruined his vacation, not one drunk racist.
Case in point — My sweetie and I used to vacation in Barbados and a few other Caribbean small island nations until it became evident that a large proportion of the population hates white tourists and especially mixed race couples like us. Whether being ignored in the shops or given an ‘accidental’ shoulder while walking on the street and hearing the sucking sound that in island talk means ‘F-You’, in Barbados it became impossible to separate the rude or lazy from the racists.
When a Canadian tourist was attacked and murdered in broad daylight while walking on a beach, the popular Barbados Underground website published comments that the lady and her injured daughter were ‘white trash’. Far from triggering a tsunami of critical comments and takedown as would happen on any Canadian newspaper website, many Barbadians agreed with the ‘white trash’ comment which remains published to this day.
Racism and and other destructive tribalism is everywhere. The increasing ‘random’ violent attacks upon whites in many US cities are of no less concern than marching nazis or the violent jihad taught in a New Jersey mosque.
To enjoy the day, you have to assume the best about people until it’s proven otherwise. Sometimes though it becomes too much work, and involves too much stress.
So we don’t visit Barbados anymore, and Baratunde is unlikely to return to jolly old England.
Sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do.