Good to know you have an Indian Driver.
— Xerxes the Magian (@ZacharyLatif) June 30, 2019
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I found the below poem to be classic virtue signalling. One could argue I did the same thing by ranting three posts about Daughters of Destiny and advocating Dalit causes. But what really turns me off is the way it’s done.
Imagine I had a Dalit friend; took a photograph with them and then published a poem about how much more privileged I was compared to them.
What is so much more powerful is asking the Dalit friend to write the poem about their feelings and publish it.
One could argue I’m jealous but this is in exceptionally poor taste. The most privileged person on the planet is HM the Queen and she doesn’t humble brag about it but tries to serve as best she can.
The truly great are truly humble.
In 2012, I came to work in Nanjing for the summer
Ariel came to live and work here this year
Our experiences are very different
As a white person living in China
I receive a lot of unmerited positive attention
From people who do not know a thing about me
Restaurant owners giving me meals for free
Old men wanting to buy me lunch and show me the city
Old women telling me I am pretty and that I should find a wife soon
Young men wanting to chat with me and become WeChat friends
Young women commenting that I am “so white and handsome”
Little kids coming up to me and saying “Hello” cheerfully
As a black person living in China
Ariel faces negative judgment, annoyance, and violation daily
From people who do not know a thing about her
Strangers coming up and touching her hair without asking
People in the street trying to steal photos of her
Small groups of people glancing at her and then snickering
Businesses insinuating that her presence will scare away customers
Constant reminders that her dark skin is viewed as not beautiful
And racist remarks that add up to a considerable weight over time
I am only able to experience China inside of this white skin
I will never know a China
Where I am not given unmerited benefits because of my skin color
But for my Chinese friends, let me ask you this:
Who am I to you, apart from this whiteness?
If I wore a different skin on the day you met me
How would your feelings towards me be different?
And more importantly
What do you feel when you see people who look like Ariel?
Where do those feelings come from
And what do they tell you about
Your broken relationship with your own skin?
The truth is that none of us can see ourselves clearly
And so we have distorted perception of each other
But I long for a day when our insecurities are made conscious
And when the blinders are removed
On that day
We look at the skin of the other and into their eyes
That day we will say in spirit and in truth
“It makes me happy to know YOU.
Hanging with Ariel in Nanjing, Jiangsu China