This piece was evocative and well written, but I have to ask the question. Is it racist to have expectations? To hold onto those beyond personal contact, for sure. But to see categories in the world as a way of understanding it is the most natural thing imaginable.
In order to learn what doesn’t fit into those boxes, we have to know what boxes are. I’m not sure it’s helpful to call this racism, unless it is persistent. I mean, if I met you and you were a petite woman, I’d be shocked that you could slam dunk a basketball. Shocked and amazed no doubt, but that’s life, right?
The opportunity to be shocked and amazed. (Can you?)
Isn’t that part of the reason that you travel yourself, to find places and people that defy expectations? So you have become one of those people who don’t fit neatly in anywhere. You’ve aspired to that and you sound intensely interesting.
Of course, some people prefer their little circle of friends, but does that make them automatically racist and small-minded? Maybe it feels that way, but does using that term reflexively help you to gain experience and friendships or does it hinder you?