Thursday, January 12, 2012

White's Alright

For the second time in my life I am a visible minority. It is a bizarre feeling to be obviously foreign, to be obviously alien. Lucky for me my complexion is of the paler variety and for whatever reason these societies love whitey. I really started thinking about this recently and realized how truly strange it is to be given respect, or beneficial treatment based solely on the colour of my skin. I can't really complain I'm not sure if it's racism when I get to jump the queue. At the gym I frequent here in Jeddah there is a Pakistani janitor/maintenance man whose face completely lights up when he sees me. It's as if we are long lost brothers suddenly reunited, the immensity of his smile frightens me I can not imagine the sight of a stranger bringing me such joy. I am somewhat overwhelmed  by the attention and this sort of reaction is a fairly regular occurrence. The Filipinos who do all the work in this country always pay just a bit more attention to me and are just a bit more courteous to me than the those of the non-Caucasian variety.
This preference for white people is not confined to the Arab world I had very similar experiences in South Korea. On my first day of work as I was taking the elevator up to the school I was joined by a middle-aged man who looked at me and said, "You so handsome...ahhh you so handsome" (in a ridiculously offensive Korean accent), "You teacher here, I very happy." I would frequent a chicken restaurant there primarily because their menu had pictures and there was a cute little Korean girl who worked there. One night the owner came out and greeted me again I was informed that I was handsome and he was very appreciative of my business and that the meal was on him. Now of course I am a fairly handsome devil but these occurrences did not happen just to me other pale skinned people got the same treatment this pro-racism is apparently endemic. I heard similar stories from people who have traveled around Africa.
All of this just does my head in. White people have basically spent the past 500 years raping and pillaging the coloured lands around the world. Apparently the constant pounding of our chest telling all who would listen that we are the best in the world and I guess everyone else just sort of agreed. It's a mad, mad world I guess I'm just glad I'm living in it with the right pigmentation.  


  1. At least you are self aware enough to know that you were born into the "lucky sperm club" as some pundits have called it. Imagine the boorishness of those who aren't!

  2. Looks like you're not the only one to ponder this kind of stuff this week: