The first few months that I was here in Germany, I was very conscious of how different I looked from other people, having ever only lived in Asia before. After a while, however, I got used to it and said to myself, well, we’re all human beings, so I just went about my jolly way and saw myself as no different from everyon else.
But then you get the looks… the stares. The judgement of who you are based on the color of your skin, the color of your hair, and even the way you say things. Those instances when they don’t sit next to you in class or when they assume you can’t speak English, and even being refused help even when it’s their job to do so. Yeah, these things. Subtle racism. Those moments that make you feel like you’re less of a person just because you look different.
Last Tuesday, as I was coming home from school, a group of teenagers, wearing skinny jeans and black leather jackets, shouted “Konichiwa” and “Toshiba” at me, hollering racial slurs while we were passing each other.
Now every time I see a group of males gathered, I avoid them. Being a size XS in clothing measurements, you can guess how intimidating I can get. On the streets, I usually keep a distance of about 7 feet between me and the next person, anyway. But at this particular sidewalk, these boys took up most of the space, and it was too late to turn another way. I’m not sure if they were high on drugs, youthful enthusiasm or testosterone, but either way, it was not okay to do that. It is never okay to discriminate based on sterotypes or prejudices. It is NEVER okay to be racist.
I have been discriminated a couple of times before, in Asia, and even in my country of birth. But what’s unbelievable in Germany, is that it’s not the Germans who are being racist. It’s the foreigners or the people who were once foreigners themselves.
Racism, subtle or not, is never okay. I don’t want my kids to go through what I have experienced. I want them to know, that anyone, no matter how they look like or what choices they make, is not any more or less than they are. They should be able to live in a world where they feel safe and be proud of who they are. They should live in a world where racism has lost its definition because it has ceased to exist.
I know that some may not like what I’ve written today. Maybe they’ll say i’m just being touchy. But if you’re ever made to feel different or inferior as a human being, if you were made to feel less as a person in any way, or if you are made to fear or push away from being who you are or where you come from, then, me and you, we have to say that it’s not okay, and it never, ever will be.