When Does Casual Racism Stop Being So Casual?

I‘m embarrassed to write this. There’s a whole lot worse in the world and I’m complaining about this?

But, I’ve been prompted to write this because of how I feel – crappy and worthless. All because of some casual racism.

He renamed me on Skype – which we use as our work’s messaging tool – as Mulan. Because I’m Chinese. He didn’t rename anyone else after Disney characters. He asked why I didn’t know the etymology of the word typhoon and which Asian language it originates from. Because I’m Chinese. It’s happened more than a couple of times.

They do their ridicule laugh which digs the knife even deeper. Their comments all thinly veiled as a joke of course.

Well fuck that.

A ‘joke’ at someone else’s expense because they’re a different ethnicity to the majority isn’t a joke. And it certainly isn’t funny.

I brush it off, I ignore it, pretending I haven’t heard their comments. I’m not one for confrontation but I’d have loved to say something, but they’re my colleagues.

I cried about it today. Things had already been getting on top of me, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Their comments and laughter act as a reminder of all the past casual racist comments I’ve received – not just from them, but from others. When does a joke go too far? When someone’s feelings are hurt? When someone cries?

When does casual racism stop being so casual?


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