Thursday, November 06, 2014


We interrupt my list of 5 things in order to bring you a short story entitled Racism in the Corps (aka Why Some People Can't Be Helped), a throwback story. 

My story takes place back in Cameroon.  As I've blogged previously, during my time there, I experienced a lot of harassment from the locals because I was Asian.  Surprisingly, I also got it from fellow PCVs.  There's an ugly truth during my time in Cameroon -- there was racism amongst PCVs.  It was along the lines of "Let's make fun of the Asian guy's ethnicity because its ok to make jokes about the Asian guy". 

It all started when I became friends with a fellow PCV fairly early on.  We would make jokes and we had a good time.  Sometimes though it seemed like the jokes started to creep towards crossing the line.  Eventually, they did.  This fellow PCV started using words like "chink" or "Chinaman".  As a joke.  I wasn't laughing.  There's more.  He kept making jokes about Kim Jong Il and of the inability of Chinese to distinguish between "L" and "R" and directed them at me.  It all came to a head one day when he made a joke using one of those racial slurs.  There was another fellow PCV who heard it.  She just looked at me kind of shocked.  Then, I suppose, not knowing how to react, she laughed, although kind of a nervous laugh.  This was 2 years ago and I myself couldn't believe that I would be subject to racism in that day and age, let alone from a fellow PCV.  That's when I realized.  My so-called friend is actually a d-bag.  Also a racist.

Now I have to say that he was not alone in thinking it was ok to use those racial slurs.  There were other PCVs who used those words.  But then they stopped using them once I called them out on it or when they realized I found it pretty offensive.  Yet the fact that I had to call people out on it in 2012 or 2013 is astounding.  Anyway, things were never the same between me and said PCV after that incident.  I don't keep in contact with him and I doubt I ever will.  He has never apologized for his racist comments and he probably doesn't even think he did anything wrong. That's ok.  I don't need any d-bags in my life anyway.

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