Pride and Prejudice
As a black man, I’m pretty much to the song and dance called “racism”. Actually, my encounters fall under the category of “colourism”. That’s a form of racism where the arrogantly ignorant questions by skin colour because of my desires, interest, and such contradicts the norm of my African American community. For example, I got a lot of hate for being a good student in school and I got even more hate because I wouldn’t use ebonics (slang common among coloured people). But I always managed to ignore it. I even use sass and knowledge to shut them up. I do that for all forms of prejudice. However, this time around, it didn’t work. In fact, almost got me arrested. Let me start from the beginning.
I had already got my bank card thanks to my SA Serena. But, according to the information Hamed gave me, I needed to be linked with a bank that allowed me to see money overseas. I elected to go with a bank that had a Western Union attached to it which required me to get another bank card. I was okay with that. Laws are laws.
Now, during the pandemic, I would have my mask down when I’m walking in the streets, but I would put the mask up when I went inside of a building. I got a couple of weird glares but nothing too aggressive because I was keeping my distance until…well…it happened.
See, foreigners and Chinese locals were engaged in a cold civil war type of thing because of all the misinformation that was spreading around. So, foreigners were being treated like “a virus” and Chinese people in other parts of the world were being treated like “a plague”. Unfortunately, I was not the exception despite how hard I tried.
A Chinese local was following me and my principal at the time. He didn’t notice but, being in security for so long, I did and I pointed it out. We turned and the guy was telling me to put on my mask; it was under my chin. I didn’t want to argue because we were on a schedule since he had to get back to his pregnant wife. So, we opted to ignore him and continue our way to the bank. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, that was my big mistake. Well, one of them, anyway; I made a big one.
My principal was only there to translate for me. We got done everything but the Western Union was still closed which, again, I was fine with because I just wanted the two cards. Now, we were leaving the bank to go our separate ways only to see the man, again…with a cop. I let out a sigh that screamed “You have got to be kidding me”. This man told the cop that I was intentionally spreading the virus because I didn’t put the mask up when he asked me to.
Now, my principal is a mild-mannered gentleman. Gem among gems. He was trying to defuse the situation and I don’t know if it was working but I do know that I made it worse. All it took was nine words to almost land me in jail. “You know I didn’t start this whole pandemic, right?” Yep! I said that and the cop understand it. He was about to arrest me for making a racially-charged comment but my principal stopped him. He told me the cliffnotes of what he said but he got the cops and the man to back off and we both went on our marry way.
Oh! The cliffnotes! He told me that he informed the cop that the man was harassing me because I was a foreigner so I shouldn’t be arrested. I’m sure that it was more to it but I didn’t press the matter. I was just happy that I didn’t get arrested. I’ve had clean record my entire life and I’m not going to ruin that streak.
But this was learning experience for me as well as a reassurance of things. Fear is an entity that doesn’t discriminate when spreading it mayhem and virus was fear at its worst. It’s behind me now and stores were opening up. Good thing because I needed a breath of fresh air.
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