I consider myself to be open-minded, non-discriminating. Which makes it all the more worrying when you catch yourself at being a horrible bigot…My current job is in Canary Wharf, the (new) financial district of London. Glass-and-steel highrises, a huge underground mall, lots of eateries and pubs, all interspersed with bits of water from the old docks. And people. Lots of people. In suits (mostly).
It was during my afternoon walk-for-a-bit-of-lunch. As I mentioned, lots of eateries, so good to try things out (“pulled pork” is quickly becoming a favorite). I had gotten my lunch (a sandwich, if I recall correctly) and was strolling through one of the parks. I saw a guy with dark skin in a suit. And the thought popped into my head: “They should wear that more often.”
Now, as far as discriminatory ideas go, this wasn’t by far the worst of what the world has brought us. But it was a shock, as it was my thought!
I grew up in a smallish town in the North of the Netherlands. There was a hand full of Asian people around, but that was about it. When I studied just about everybody was as pale as a ghost as well. I’ve lived in Haarlem and Utrecht, also not known for their populations of dark-skinned people. I’d see someone of a different color than myself once and awhile, but this was definitely the exception rather than the rule.
- I’m happy that I caught myself thinking something I’m not happy to be thinking. This way at least I can actively do something about it.
- I’m hoping that living in such a highly multi-cultural society will make it more common (and thus more “normal”) to be around people different from myself (in whichever way).
Unknown makes unloved (in The Netherlands the highest number of voters for our right-wing anti-foreigner populist party are from regions where the number of foreigners is actually lowest). Which is a shame. Because I do love the new and the exotic!
I’m Bastiaan. I write this blog to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.
I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!