How My Daughter Dealt With My Racist Neighbour

But should we expect perfection in our locality?

Josephine Crispin

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My old neighbourhood where neighbours looked at me and treated me as one of them, even if I do not look like them (photo by the author)

Racial sensitivity is a topic that is flogged all over. In print, in broadcast, on social media — you name it. It is also a topic that is supposedly discussed in the academe, from primary years upwards.

No-one can escape the topic unless one lives under the rock, snoozing in oblivion.

With my brown face, living in countries with Caucasians as the dominant population posed no friction. There had been no encounter with people who looked down on me, save for that couple of late-teen girls who referred to me as chink.

This happened at my bus stop in Auckland eons ago. Shortly after, I met the girls again, at the university where I worked. I thought they felt uncomfortable when they saw me — but no apologies from them.

Now living in the UK, there are no instances of racial insensitivities that came my way — just from plain curiosity (“where did you learn your English?”) or from ignorance and gaffe (“a Thai Philippine bride”).

I dealt with that curiosity and that insulting faux pas, not contentiously but in a laidback manner. Making them realise that they’re no better than me based on skin colour, I secretly thought that was a hoot.

Having moved houses last year, I found my neighbours to be as lovely, as helpful, and as chatty and friendly like our previous neighbours.

I must emphasise that I live (and have lived) in areas where I am the only brown face in the neighbourhood. The same with my daughter, living in another part of England, where hers is the only brown face. Suffice to say that her neighbours are as nice and as friendly as mine.

Or so I thought, that my new ones were all skin-colour blind.

The exception lives at the back, sharing half of the other one/thirds of the garden fence on the south side; the ones whom I have not met nor have any sort of interaction with.

It was Easter school break. My daughter and her 11-year-old son visited us (my Caucasian husband and I). It was a sunny spring. Mother and son on school break were in our back garden.

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Josephine Crispin

Writes about writing, nature, animals, the environment, social issues and spirituality. Editor and published author of romance novellas amongst other genres.