The Honeymoon is Over
In my first blog I wrote about how I don’t stand out because I am black. Many people refuse to deal with me because I am black, OR, choose to deal with me to get a photo op, OR, because they want a black friend (who chooses friends based on color?).
I lied to you all and I lied to myself. One thing I have learned about myself on this trip is that I am ignorant! Until coming here, I was never judged so much. All the friends I have in life like me because of my personality, not because of my color. Before coming to Taiwan, I never thought too much about my skin or the texture of my hair.
Life is extremely lonely.
I’m guessing prejudice against people who have darker skin is extreme. For example, someone told me that in many Asian countries, if two men are linked to each other sexually, they will be executed. He also told me that many Asian people would rather live with a gay man instead of a black person… pretty extreme.
The person who told me this is another exchange student. He is from a neighboring Asian country and is also an exchange student. Like me, he is also being discriminated against. Not because he is Asian, but because he is gay. He said that gay and darker people in Asia are treated without respect, and looked at as second class citizens or not fully human.
I feel like an outsider. I DO UNDERSTAND that I am in a foreign country and there are times where I would naturally feel like an outsider, but come on!!!! For instance, I think a majority of my teachers feel some negative feelings towards me. When I first arrived here, I needed to go to the Taiwanese Department of Immigration in order to take care of some visa stuff. When I asked a teacher how to get there, he did not want to help. He rolled his eyes, huffed his breathe and gave me a pretty hard time. Every time I ask this man a question, he gets frustrated. He doesn’t like speaking to me. I compare the way he speaks to me with the way he interacts with other students. He is very welcoming to everyone else, questions them about their home nation and communicates with them. At first, I thought maybe it was because I am American, or because I am from the west. This isn’t true because there are some Americans & westerners in the class. I also thought that it was me… maybe I was not social enough or talkative enough. I am!!! In fact, I think I raise my hand too much sometimes. The only difference is my skin. I doubt this man even knows my name… he has never even asked me that. This has happened in other classes as well. Professors separate me by not asking me any questions about me or where I come from. I mean really, the kid from Minnesota gets more questions than me. I am def biased, but I would much rather hear about Brooklyn or the NYC area than Minnesota, BUT as said earlier, people choose to distance themselves from me.
It feels weird sometimes for people to genuinely not like me when they don’t even know me. I guess I would rather have people not like me because I am Black than people not liking me because I am a jerk. At least I know its THEM and not me. I don’t feel hate at all… sometimes it is painful and lonely, sometimes I feel humored and entertained by it but I always honestly feel sorry for people that think like this.
A student organized a going away/ end of the semester party for exchange students and did not invite me. I AM THE ONLY PERSON THAT HAS NOT BEEN INVITED!!!!
Sometimes I wonder, “Why separate yourself? I love people! I’m sure that if we talked we might have a lot in common… I drink water too!” but whatever. I can’t change what people THINK… I love my skin!
I won’t let this trip scare me into not liking Taiwanese/ Asian people. All people aren’t jerks… just the narrow-minded ones. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this, especially when it seems like everyone around me hates me.
Everything is a learning experience & I am truly blessed to be able to learn things about life here.