Thursday, June 15, 2006

Feeling My White-ness

Back in the States, I almost never thought of my skin color. If I did think about it at all, it was due to a direct conversation with another person about skin color.

Here in Namibia, I think about my skin color many times each day.

Most often, my recognition of my own skin color, occurs when something unexpected happens during an interaction with another person. And then, in that first moment of unexpected-ness, this question leaps through my mind:
Did that just happen because I am white?
Sometimes the situation is comical, sometimes its scary, and sometimes it just makes me mad. The good news is, I am slowly getting used to the whole idea, and now I mostly find the situations comical.

This does help me understand, if even only in a small way, what minorities in the States experience every day.

1 comment:

Judy Baskerville said...

I felt the same way while in Tanzania--I was working in a clinic in a remote village where I was essentially the only white person. But it was so much different from other places I've experienced that I felt since getting off the plane that I was somehow a part of Tanzania, a Tanzanian even. Then I'd meet someone new, and they'd make a comment about "mazungu" (white person), and I'd look down at my hands and realize they were talking about me. It was all very surreal.