Am I living with a racist?
February 2, 2013 2:49 PM Subscribe
I'm Indian, living with a white roommate for the past few months. Most of my friends and previous roommates are white, and this is the first time that I'm feeling uncomfortable, so I don't think I'm being oversensitive. But perhaps I am, and I thought people can shed some light.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (39 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The couple of friends that I've told think it sounds like there's a mild case of racism here, but they're friends, and may not be objective.
(1) My roommate has never been friendly with me... just about polite. That by itself -- no big deal. But her boyfriend, who visits almost every weekend and makes himself at home in our apartment, refuses to engage in conversation. Any questions I ask him are returned with a monosyllabic answer. The times that I don't say hi, he'll just completely ignore my presence. I've seen him dozens of times, and he's never once made eye contact or initiated a conversation. I initially assumed he was socially awkward, but he seems pretty normal and comfortable with her friends...
(2) ... and her friends are pretty much the same as far as ignoring my existence. My roommate has never introduced me to any of them, even the ones that come over often. I've introduced myself a couple of times, but they haven't reciprocated or tried to engage in conversation. When they're here and I need to go into the living room or kitchen, they pretty much pretend that I'm not there, right down to ignoring me when I smile at them.
As a result, I feel uncomfortable being in my own apartment when her boyfriend or friends are here, and end up holing myself up in my room. I've never been in this position with roommates in the past. We'd have their own friends, but anyone visiting the apartment would be introduced to the roommates, and if it was a frequent visitor, we'd chat casually once in a while. I respect people's privacy, but if they're visiting my home, I expect _some_ acknowledgment of my presence -- a casual hi or a nod, at least.
I hate to jump on the race card, but I just can't think of anything I've done that my roommate or her friends can hold against me, or that would explain their strange behavior. We're in a very small town, and I'm very much a minority here. My roommate and her boyfriend are from a (different) very small town too.
How do I figure this out? Because if it's not a race thing, it could be something about me personally, and I'd like to know what that might be.