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That’s No Excuse, But It Is, At Least, A Reason

, , , , | Friendly | August 17, 2021

I’m both black and foreign, and I’m living in Spain. I went to a bus stop where a woman was sitting, and I casually sat down in the seat next to her. She immediately bounced up and walked several paces away from me, yelling, “Can I not have two seconds without some [racial insult] trying to get at me? What is wrong with you people?”

Here we go again, nothing new here. I pulled out my phone and pretended to be more interested in it than her ranting.

Woman: “Why are you even here, anyway? Did someone invite you? How would you like it if everyone in my country went and flooded your country and took up all your jobs and got your women pregnant and made a bunch of mixed kids, and none of us speak your language?”

I kept ignoring her.

She continued this rant for a good five minutes before suddenly growing quiet. She stayed quiet briefly before reaching into a shopping bag she had, removing a juice bottle, and trying to remove the cap. After twisting futilely, she got a look of defeat on her face. She slowly handed the bottle to me.

Woman: “Can you open my bottle, please? I’m feeling really dizzy.”

I gave her an ice-cold look at first, but then I decided to be the bigger person. I opened the bottle and silently handed it back.

Woman: “Thank you.”

She sat down and then spoke again after a few moments of silence.

Woman: “I’m sorry. I lost my job because of the health crisis, and I found out they gave my position to a Japanese girl who wasn’t even there for six months. I’m just so mad.”

Me: “Sorry to hear that. But blaming me for your problem isn’t going to solve anything.”

Woman: “I’m sorry.”

My bus eventually rolled up, and as I boarded and rolled away, I couldn’t help but notice the woman burying her face in her lap. It was interesting to hear from the other side of racism and bigotry, and to see one of the many pieces of the puzzle — this instance being misplaced anger.

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