There was a brief time, at least in the United States after the election of Barack Obama, that some people believed they'd begin to live in a post-racial society, one where the wounds of the past could, at last, find the space to heal.
That assumption was incorrect, but racism is not limited to the United States––far from it. Thanks to Redditor Anonjohn123456, who asked "What is the most racist thing you have experienced or witnessed?" we can listen to some of these stories, which truly demand to be heard.
"Most racist thing..."
Most racist thing I experienced was probably when 10 year old me was playing football by myself in front of my own house and suddenly got ganged up on by three people who were in their late teens. They took my ball and started calling me chinky and told me to go back to China, then walked off with my ball.
I'm not even Chinese, but I guess all Asians look the same to racists. Sad thing was that I came from a poor family and had saved up for that ball for months, so I was very upset when it got stolen. Turns out an older man across the street saw everything, so a few days later her handed me a new ball. He also kept an eye on me and guarded me when I played, up till I moved away from that awful neighbourhood about a month later.
"I was a bag boy..."
I was a bag boy at a local golf course. I would stop cars as they'd approach our bag drop, unload their clubs, load them onto a cart, and drive the cart down to the patron's car.
Car pulls up and it's an elderly fella. He tells me "No thanks," which was no big deal since many people declined.
I run inside to go get something. About fifteen minutes go by and my coworker, who was also a bag boy, hands me a few bucks because we split our tips. He tells me that, after I ran inside, he waved my friend (who is white) over to his car and said "Go ahead and grab my clubs. Like hell I'd like a filthy Jap touch my golf clubs."
"I went to a bar..."
I went to a bar where a band was playing. Admission prices were a donation, so you gave as much as you thought it was worth. There was no minimum.
My white friends and I get in paying somewhere between 2-3 dollars. The bouncer stopped our black friend and told him it was a 10 dollar minimum entry "donation." When my friend pointed out what the rest of us had paid, the bouncer started throwing slurs, and everyone squared up.
Likely the closest I ever came to getting arrested.
True story. I am from Georgia. I joined the Army and was stationed in Germany. There was this kid in the company, he was getting 'chaptered' out of the Army (couldn't adapt to military life). He was from Georgia too. We happened to be sitting in the snack bar of the PX together one day and I asked him why he was getting chaptered. At first he said he just couldn't deal with it. I noticed he had a wedding ring so I told him he should get his tour changed to 'accompanied' (meaning his spouse would come over and live with him- albeit he would have to stay for three years in Germany instead of two). He just shook his head in disdain.
I asked him about that and he said, 'When I first got over here, I was walking to the PX and I saw this white woman- she looked German- and she was pushing this baby stroller past me. So, I looked in the stroller- you know- to see the baby. And it was a MIXED baby. I couldn't believe it. And, in case you haven't noticed, there are a lot of n----s in the Army. I never knew that. (he was from a town in Georgia that didn't have a lot of black folks)
That's what he said.
But still, that didn't explain why he was getting chaptered, so I asked him again. 'Well, once I decided I didn't want to work and live amongst so many n------s, I went to the company commander (who was black) and told him "I want out of the Army because I hate n-----s".'
The company commander obliged him.
"As a 7 year old Jew..."
As a 7 year old Jew I was once checked for horns by two other seven years olds that I met in pool in New Jersey. They were seriously looking for them. I wouldn't blame them, they were just curious about what they most likely learned at home.
"As a kid..."
As a kid (age 6 to 10) I lived on a military base in Europe. We used to have fun tossing heavy rocks over the fence in an attempt to hurt the Turkish kids that played on the other side. Even if we just barely nicked a kid, we made sure to cheer extra loud. We weren't entirely sure the point of our actions, we just knew our parents were 100% okay with it and encouraged us to do so.
As an adult I feel absolutely horrified by my actions because I recognize now what a truly awful thing that was to do.
"Did you choose to be half Asian?" This was a question I received when I went to college orientation. I honestly thought at first she was being racist/ignorant but in reality she had never seen an Asian/person of Asian decent before because she grew up in the Midwest in the middle of nowhere.
Also, shout out to the racist TSA agent for calling me a half-bred-jap after he read my passport and noticed my middle name.
"I had an Indian guy..."
I had an Indian guy rent from me for a month. He was hired at a company to do construction project management because that's what his field was. When he got there he got assigned to an IT desk as soon as he walked through the door. Told them every day he didn't know how computers worked at all. He quit after a month because even though he was hired to do project management, he didn't have a single day where they let him do it instead of asking him to do IT support that he had no clue on how to do.
"People have straight up..."
People have straight up offered me jobs in web development, coding, etc because I'm Asian. I have zero IT experience whatsoever, but I used to go to these business networking events and have met people who literally offered me a job (usually short-term positions for a specific task) moments after meeting me without asking about any of my qualifications.
While it doesn't sound bad for me, it made me realize that for every person who thinks I can do something just because I'm Asian, there are people think that someone is unqualified for a job just because of their race/ethnicity. I can't imagine what it would be like to receive the opposite treatment of what I get.
Being biracial in the southern US isn't easy.
- Had people leave Zebra Cake wrappers in my lockers throughout school.
- Had a person sit behind me and mispronounce the country Niger on purpose.
- Had two people call my house and threaten me and call me and my family racial slurs.
- 2 guys followed me home from the mall and jumped me, the same ones that called my house.
- Had eight police cars pull me and my friends over because they said we had a gun. After being cuffed and loaded into separate vehicles they found a box cutter in my friends car...which he used at his job at Frito-Lay.
- My mother's parents disowned her because of her relationship with my father.
- Cousins mispronounced Arnold Schwarzenegger's name on purpose.
- My father in law said police are justified in pulling over black people since they commit the most crime.
- My test scores in school were constantly scrutinized it seemed. Maybe that was just me but on standardized test and even just in the classroom they always seemed surprised.
These are the ones that stick out the most. I still get shit to this day but my focus has changed and it really doesn't affect me too much.