Hunting for Racism

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Experiencing racism can make one paranoid; however, paranoia can really make one paranoid, as it feeds on itself.

Sunday I drove to a gathering point to carpool to Nagoya. After the event in Nagoya we went out to eat and enjoyed a few drinks. When we arrived back at the gathering point, everyone started going on about how I had some drinks and I could not drive. I sampled the, “It’s been five hours.” argument, but immediately realized that wasn’t going to hold water. Fortunately, our driver gave me a ride home so I didn’t have to take the train and long walk home.

Monday I went to retrieve my car after work. Generally, when I encounter people along the way, I give them the respectful, subtle-nod bow. This endears me to most of the people in my vicinity; however, I occasionally get odd responses. This day happened to fall into the latter category. Driving out of the small, old, conservative neighborhood an elderly man gave me a rather nasty look, he wouldn’t make direct eye contact; looking at me a little askance, he seemed to be thinking, “What are you doing in this neighborhood?”

Sounds horrible, if not for the fact that this is a mistaken impression. The askance look at me was really a very direct look at someone else. He was eyeing a character that I had just passed. The man I passed, indeed, looked a bit suspicious and was walking through.

So, my attitude (and ability to observe my surroundings) make all the difference in this case. I could have easily gotten offended and left upset. We should remember the sage advice: be quick to listen, slow to anger, and slow to speak.

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