Joyce 🐝 Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee en Lifestyle, English Public Speaker • RAINN 10/9/2017 · 2 min de lectura · 2,0K

Am I a Racist?

Am I a Racist?

I’ve been pondering this story for a long time. Istiak, a stoic Bangledeshi, piqued my interest. I viewed his demeanor with humor as he practically grunted through purchases I made at a local convenience store. More than anything, I wanted to see him smile. He has such a beautiful face

His coworker is Guatemalan. Hmmm—there’s a pattern here.

I tend to ask people from what country they come. It’s as if I have no concept of—they’re American. My people came over during the time of the Mayflower. Even though my ancestors wrested control from its indigenous peoples, I feel a sense of possession. But I am the descendant of immigrants. How dare my mind capture a sense of belonging when, in a sense, I don’t belong here.

So do I generalize that notion to those that embrace this country as their home? I find myself sitting alone here at this keyboard muttering,

“I do.” 

This morning, during my usual foray, I encountered another young man at another convenience store. His dark eyes and golden skin screamed “foreigner” to me. His shock of black hair topped off a beautiful face.

“What country are you from?” I asked.

“Mexico,” he said.

I knew immediately he was not from there. He must have seen the confusion on my face because he clarified his home of origin, Pakistan.

So why did he say he was from Mexico, I wonder? Was he parrying my thrust of curiosity with a response that said, None of your damned business?

We Americans often call ourselves the melting pot of the world. Embracing that can be hard. I grew up in a White Ago-Saxon neighborhood. It was with a sense of pride that I acknowledge the two black families on our streets. How dare I. My Jungian memories lie deeply entrenched in my Puritan roots.

Supposedly the Puritans came over here to experience religious freedom. What is not often contemplated is that the Puritans did all they could to eradicate the beliefs of those already entrenched here. Religious freedom? We’ve changed our history books to extoll us, but in viewing history books of old, I found references to Indians being viewed as a lost tribe of Israel. Hence the connotation of “tribes” for Indians. And hell—they aren’t even Indians! Columbus just got his GPS screwed up when he set his directionals. He thought he was in India.

So we have bastardization of historical fact in the term, "Indian Tribes."

As indigenous peoples sought to hold on to their homes, Puritans eradicated them in the name of religion. Again—Religious Freedom?

So what is it I’m seeking when I ask where people about their home countries? Am I a racist? Perhaps—or is it that I seek to embrace the world by experiencing other cultures through the faces I encounter?

I experienced Bangladesh through Istiak’s Facebook page. I never realized Bangladesh was so beautiful. I found smiling pictures of him that I see now every time he grunts through my purchases. I no longer see the pictures I assume were from his homeland.  It's as if he wants people to know, "I am American."

My Pakistani friend told me I should travel to India, etc. I would love to do so, but the truth is that I can flip through lives far quicker on my computer. Those I meet walk me through the splendor of their countries rather than the dismal references we often get through the news. I am an innocuous figure, so I am often able to wrestle a few details from folks that sets my mind to wandering.

Thank you, Friends, for sharing your roots. You’ve taken root here now, and enriched us all.


Copyright 2017 Joyce Bowen

About the Author:  Joyce Bowen is a freelance writer and public speaker.  Inquiries can be made at
Sobre el autor: Joyce Bowen es un escritor independiente y orador público. Las consultas pueden hacerse en

Joanne Gardocki 11/9/2017 · #17

Beautiful, @Joyce 🐝 Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee, thank you for the gentle reminder. ::hugs::

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Lisa Vanderburg 11/9/2017 · #16

What a delicious and intuitive buzz @Joyce 🐝 Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee - I've asked myself the same question! When I was around 7 (moved from the US to UK a year earlier) I got to play the Virgin Mary in the schools Nativity play. I took that as a sign that God wanted me to be a nun when I grew up (ha..!), but in fact, it was because of my olive skin; a throwback to the Blackfoot tribe (or black-out, as one of my sons wrote years later in a junior school paper)! But as I grew to middle school, I saw how my hue (and accent ) set me apart. In summer after playing in the sun I was a dark-gold brown and this was the time in England when the Brits were 'Paki-bashing' so I was a bit fearful. Many years later and back in the States with my own young kids in Florida and I couldn't believe the way builders etc would approach me in their break (I was 'white ' enough then) to make openly hostile reference to other Americans of color - I ate them :)
Love your pith to the myth!!!

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Preston 🐝 Vander Ven 11/9/2017 · #14

I love to learn about others. I read a quote that helps the term racism out of my heart and mind. "There our two types of people, Decent and Indecent. If I can remember this Truism, then I will never be Racist." - Unknown
I am a person who loves to learn and loves the adventure of the uncovering the unknown.

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#12 The Arab poet says what closely means "X claimed he shall kill y, then I assure you y that you shall live for long".
If you would kill me then I am honored to be killed by the beautiful @Nicole Chardenet. Love your sense dear.

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Nicole Chardenet 11/9/2017 · #12

Of *course* you're a racist. We all are, to one degree or another. Fear of The Other is ingrained into our cavecritter brains which haven't evolved enough to catch up with the times. Hmmmm, Joyce looks like me so must be okay. @Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee not so much, should kill him just to be on safe side. Ug, pass me more mastodon meat. Save blood so I can paint cave wall later.

The latest is that asking people where they're from is racist. Don't worry if you didn't know that, Joyce, those of us who are old enough to have lives and actual responsibilities don't have time to keep up on the up-to-the-minute ever-changing rules of political correctness. I guess I can understand the reticence to answer that question to some degree what with all the xenophobia and race-hatred going on now (and I mean everyone, not just the tiki-bearing Neanderthals at alt-reich rallies). I mean, what kind of a weird world is it when an American feels more comfortable identifying as a Mexican than a Pakistani? I s'pose because a guy suspected of taking your job will engender somewhat less fear than a guy suspected of wanting to blow up you or your family.

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Jan 🐝 Barbosa 11/9/2017 · #11

Bastardization/ Vandalism/ Violation of historical FACT... One of the worst crimes of humanity... True Story.

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