Racism under a Friendly Guise

Racism under a Friendly Guise

Joy Huang Stoffers: Writer and Novelist
Saturday, 2015-05-09

Joy Huang Stoffers

racism, n.

A belief that one’s own racial or ethnic group is superior, or that other such groups represent a threat to one’s cultural identity, racial integrity, or economic well-being; (also) a belief that the members of different racial or ethnic groups possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities, which can be compared and evaluated. Hence: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against people of other racial or ethnic groups (or, more widely, of other nationalities), esp. based on such beliefs. —The OED.com

Since beginning my MA degree in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, England, I haven’t been subject to racism. Maybe it’s because the British are usually reserved. Maybe it’s because I don’t go out much. Most likely the answer lies in an amalgamation of these two factors and others.

Today, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, this changed.

This morning I ordered a taxi to go on my once-a-month trip to Costco. (For those of you who don’t know, Costco is a warehouse that offers members sundry high-quality goods, often in comical bulk.) The cabbie was a jovial, middle-aged Caucasian man with an understandable Geordie accent. I buckled myself in and he, smiling, immediately began to interrogate.

“Joy, right? Where are you from?”…

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