You were young, coming from living in a different country thrust into a world that you had little to no relation to. Your uniqueness revolved around your race which isn’t puzzling since you were in a predominately white community. You had a different life experience and accent which made you an obvious standout — along with your race. Being a white woman I would expect the same thing if I were to move to Nigeria and attend an all black college/University.
People are stupid when they are faced with something or someone they find exotic; young people are more so.
That you tried to fit in and, if I am reading you correctly, that you weren’t savvy enough to reject what you see now as overt racism disturbs you. But, I’m not sure why.
When I was young I was born to American parents in another country. I returned over the years spending a total of eight years on and off there and loved every minute; but I found that (even though I am white) my peers treated me as if I were an undiscovered country.
They were fascinated with the fact that though I had lived in SC I had no southern accent; that I wasn’t loud or belligerent and that I was a virgin. They asked innumerable questions as if somehow being an American made me: special while at the same time, an abomination, a whore, and a prude. They expected me to be a ‘country girl’ a racist and own a gun. Stereotypes that I still find myself facing even today when I travel outside my home state of South Carolina.
Your life experiences undoubtedly shaped you and obviously your race had much to do with how you were perceived and treated and I sure as hell won’t argue that white women can’t be crazy bitches. But I won’t say all of us and I my own experience tells me that sometimes people need education and information — even simple empathy — before engaging with people not from their own communities. Especially if those people are young, immature, and lack proper internal editors.
But your piece made me remember some awkward and truly mortifying and dangerous moments that I’d neatly tucked way back away from the light of day. It has actually done me some good so thank you for that.
But now I think I may need to see Get Out before I comment any further…?