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Racism in 9E: aka … here we go again.

Posted in Life & Love

dimitris-taxis_ignorance1_u
Dimitris Taxis: Ignorance

The woman set to sit in the row behind me asked if she could swap seats. I couldn’t understand why. Her row resembled mine pretty much in the weight and size of the other passengers. We were ahead of the exit row so our seats only went back a fraction. The overhead bins above both were stuffed full with cabin baggage, there were no babies or drooling adults. We were both in middle seats so there was no comfort advantage. So I asked: “Why?”

She cut her eyes at the man in the aisle seat and then back at me. I raised my eyebrows and waited: “I don’t feel comfortable”, she said leaning into my neck. “Comfortable?” She stared, she knew I knew, but I wasn’t letting her off the hook: “Ja, sorry, please swap with me.” I did. More for the man’s sake than hers. I would have been entirely happy to call her out on her racism, but it could have hurt his feelings. When I asked him to let me in the row, he smiled broadly at me, stepped out of his seat, stowed my bag in the locker and let me pass. He then sat down and went back to the Koran he was holding. Reading his prayers. I read my Vogue. We didn’t talk.

When we landed, he took down my bag, stood back and handed it to me. “Have a lovely weekend”, he said. “I will”, I replied, “you too”.  He smiled: “Inshallah”.  As I walked down the aisle I wondered if he had heard any of my conversation with the woman. And what he had made of it.

ignorance_bliss_lrgShe caught up with me at the luggage claim. “Thanks for swapping with me.” she said. I looked at her and nodded. Too tired to get into any kind of debate. She stood there for a minute, then said: “It’s just that they are killing people everywhere.” I couldn’t ignore that and turned to face her: “So, here’s my question”, I asked,”What exactly did you think he was going to do to you on an airplane? Behead you?”

She stared: “Fuck you,” she said loudly, “Fuck You”.

The man next to me asked: “What was that all about?” I told him briefly, “She’s got a point though, you can’t tell these days. If Ebola doesn’t get you, the ISIS could. One just never knows.” He smelt like stale beer. I looked him in the eye: “Or my boyfriend could “mistake” me for a burglar and shoot me four times through a toilet door. One just never knows.”

So it is happening. We have got our tar and our brushes out of storage, and we are setting to work in public. We never bloody learn.

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18 Comments

  1. sofagirl
    sofagirl

    Higher intelligence turned into higher intolerance. No wonder we never meet species from other planets. They take one look and hightail it home.

    October 15, 2014
    |Reply
  2. it is a shame that so many people still carry around so many prejudices. I guess what is also interesting is her violent reaction to you asking her what she thought he was going to do to her. That shows a guilty conscience on her part, or she really is a stupid woman not worth your time.

    October 14, 2014
    |Reply
    • sofagirl
      sofagirl

      The thing that drives me mad is that people believe whatever news they hear or read. I’ve seen so many shares on facebook of articles on satirical sites … and then the fury that follows. Without anyone checking to see if the article is real or satire. People just never check the provenance of the news. Makes me nuts

      October 15, 2014
      |Reply
      • totally agree. That said however, it is very difficult to find unbiased news reporting, especially in the US and UK

        October 15, 2014
        |Reply
  3. What surprises me about this story is that, because she felt ‘uncomfortable’, she thought it was quite ok for you to be made uncomfortable by sitting next the Islamic man.

    October 14, 2014
    |Reply
    • sofagirl
      sofagirl

      Yeah Charlie – she obviously thought: “Rather her head than mine”. Nice.

      October 15, 2014
      |Reply
  4. I have yet to see such behaviour personally but yes it is quite a disturbing trend.

    October 14, 2014
    |Reply
    • sofagirl
      sofagirl

      History only teaches us that history teaches us nothing!

      October 15, 2014
      |Reply
  5. You handled it better than I would.

    People are surprised that this stuff happens. It’s happened to me so it’s like another day another racist moment.

    October 14, 2014
    |Reply
    • sofagirl
      sofagirl

      You give me a shout next time. I have no tolerance for this type of nonsense.

      October 15, 2014
      |Reply
  6. Michael Barrie
    Michael Barrie

    You certainly handled that situation well. It makes you wonder if any other species is so maladapted to coexist in harmony as we are.

    October 14, 2014
    |Reply
  7. Nothing like a bit of stereotyping. If she’s really smart she’ll buy herself a contamination suit with a white pointed hood

    October 14, 2014
    |Reply
    • sofagirl
      sofagirl

      BRILLIANT image …. I wish someone would create a photo of that.

      October 15, 2014
      |Reply
  8. Ugh, people are just absurdly stupid. I’m glad you finally called her out. Until people are confronted, they just won’t get it. Chances are probably good she’ll NEVER catch on but I suppose we have to take the high road and confront these bigoted Neanderthals.

    October 14, 2014
    |Reply
    • sofagirl
      sofagirl

      In the old days I would have had it out with her … but I see so much crap now I have to pick my battles wisely. I’ve developed a technique where I smile vaguely and let my eyes slide over the person when they are still talking. They don’t know how to respond.

      October 15, 2014
      |Reply
    • sofagirl
      sofagirl

      Perfect word: disheartening. Can you imagine being on the receiving end? Awful.

      October 15, 2014
      |Reply

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