I was talking to a friend about books and suggested an author I thought she might enjoy.
“What does he look like?” the friend asked. I immediately knew she was asking about his race.
Before you judge my friend, you need to know that she’s an immigrant from a very poor country. As immigrants, we have to learn about a country where we come from people who live here. It takes a long time of living here, a lot of cultural competence, and a sense of intellectual authority to question what everybody around you is saying, what’s on the TV and in the press. If you hear constantly that this is a terribly racist place, why wouldn’t you believe it? And once you believe it, you’ll see proof everywhere.
I’m afraid my friend is getting radicalized and will soon tell me that we can’t be friends anymore because of how I look. This is a recent thing with her but it’s getting stronger at a very rapid pace.