Recently, too much racist shit (excuse my language but it's necessary) has been happening to me and I have been too silent about it for too long. I will no longer continue to support systems of oppression by remaining silent, I will no longer participate in my own domination by perpetrating the silence and secrecy that is crucial to oppression and the abuses of power. From now on, I will be rewriting personal incidents that I have personally experienced. As well as a form of resisting, this will be my way of trying to make sense of the incidents by reflecting and trying to place them within an analytical framework. Please bear with me.
About two weeks ago, I walked into a certain futon store in Toronto. I proceeded to browse my way through the store but since I had been to that particular store only a couple of days before, I decided to focus on a particular futon that I really liked. Eventually after a few minutes of looking me up and down from behind the desk, the white man wearing a turban approached me and asked whether I was interested in the futon. I answered yes and pointed to which futon I was interested in. For some reason, this man felt that it was still necessary that he direct me towards the less expensive futons at the back of the store despite the fact that I had already pointed to the one I was interested in. Nevertheless, I decided to ignore his efforts to redirect me by going over to look at the futon covers and as soon as I approached the futon covers, I was met with a very loud "Oh those covers are too expensive." When I confronted him and asked whether he had a problem with me, he laughed and replied "I don't understand. Is there a problem?" laughing away as if I had just cracked a really funny joke. I then turned to walk out of the store angry, frustrated, humiliated and without a futon.
A few days ago, I walked into a spring rolls around lunchtime and it was packed so we (a friend and I) waited to be seated. A waiter came up to us and asked for how many. I said for two. He looked around and said that it was really packed so we'd have to wait anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes. (Side note: From the entrance of this particular restaurant it is not possible to see the entire seating area) We were tired, hungry and that did not seem like to long to wait so we said we'd wait. Two minutes later, an asian man and his girlfriend walked in. When they said they were looking for a table for two, the waiter at the door replied "sure!" without even pausing - that is until he saw me looking at him. And then he quickly said "actually, there's a take out branch just two doors down which is less packed." Note, he did bother to inform us of this during our conversation. Rather, his immediate response "sure" and then quick change of direction informed me that in fact, there WERE tables of two. Just not tables of two, for a black person. I turned to walk out in frustration, anger and with a growling stomach.