On Racism, Part Two

Writing part one brought to mind a nearly forgotten incident that took place at a hotel in Turnu Măgurele, Romania, in 2003. I had just completed business negotiations with my father’s client, after a fifteen hour train trip. Read more about that, if you need background.

Exhausted and hungry, Constantin & I pored over the hotel restaurant menu. As a tangent, the thing that stood out on the menu was spelled “crap,” Romania’s spelling of “carp.” Hmm. I think I ordered a pizza.

While we awaited our food, I noticed a guy at another table sort of glaring at me, and not nicely. His outfit looked like that of a hotel cook, and he was talking to one of his friends at the table. Undaunted, I glared back. At one point, he said something in Romanian, maybe even in English, I can’t remember. Translation: he was asking me if there was a problem, in a rather belligerent fashion. Constantin & I both replied that there wasn’t. The creepy guy left. A few minutes later, the waiter came and apologized, saying that the guy had mistaken me for someone else.

Who else looks like me in Romania? Dark complexioned, stunningly handsome, etc.

Gypsies.

The cook had mistaken me for a gypsy, and was ready to throw all his hate at me. So much for Romanian hospitality, at a hotel, no less.
It seems every country, every group of people needs a scapegoat. So much easier to feel good about yourself if someone else is “worse.” Or so it seems.

How disappointing the human condition.

Posted: October 1st, 2006
Categories: blog
Tags: , ,
Comments: 2 Comments.
Comments
Comment from me - 1 Oct ’06 at 8:41 pm

It isn’t just racism – it’s hate. People hate what’s not like them. You know that I know this is true. People haven’t really hated people of my race in a long time (in the beginning of America people hated the Irish so much that they were killed on the street). Then they hated for religion (my parents came here because one was catholic and the other protestant). Now, I am a member of another hated group that has nothing to do with race. People hate me because of who I am attracted to or who I have loved.

It all goes back to my long-old premise – people suck!

Pingback from Turnu Măgurele at Roman Edirisinghe - 3 Oct ’06 at 4:40 pm

[…] That night, we stayed at a hotel (read about what took place there), and woke up at 4 am the following morning (monday) to catch the train to head home. I was standing in the hotel room with the window open, and looking out over the countryside surrounding Turnu Măgurele, I could hear the most fascinting sound: a cacophonous din created by thousands of stray dogs yelping and howling and roosters crowing, greeting the encroaching dawn. […]