Should I tell online friends that I'm not white?
February 13, 2015 1:30 PM   Subscribe

That sounds weird writing out... But it's something I've thought about and gives me some anxiety about whether or not it's an issue.

I've been using a popular website that isn't really used just for meetups, but definitely has them for certain cities. I'm an early 20s gal that recently-ish moved to a lovely city-that-has-a-sibling that is predominately white. (Or just really seems like it in comparison to the previous city I was in.) Being new, I wanted to make friends and just meet up with new people in general, so hey, there's that cool thing called internet meetups!

But, after a couple of experiences--and a lot of paranoid feelings after that--I'm wondering if I should be disclosing my race before meeting up with the internet people. I'm not sure if it's because the site is predominately white (revealed by a survey), or if my interests or manner of talking or flagrant use of emojis makes it seem like a surprise that I'm not white, but sometimes people act...surprised! And that's fine, whatever! But it's the times after that they still act surprised and a little odd around me.

I've made friends with people from all different races and genders and what not. I know I'm not awkward (all the time), and I like being friendly and learning about others. I'm relatively confident in my looks and how I carry myself. So I don't think it's that. I mean, I really could just be feeding off these couple weird experiences...

The first was where a girl I met up with said "Oh! I didn't know you were... I had pictured you differently haha! You know, my coworker is black too and she says some funny stuff..." (I'm half black and half asian, but that doesn't matter then anyways) etc. And then just acted really weird and distant for the rest of the time.

And then another time I met up with a group that was predominantly white-ish, young men who happened to be into video games. I like video games too, I guess I just don't look the part? Whatever that part is. But I was promptly stared at when I showed up, given a head nod by one of the guys and then ignored for the rest of the night. I would speak up but no one would exactly care. There was also one of my girl friends there with me, who is Asian, and they were a lot more interested in what she had to say than I did. She does have lots of interesting things to say! But so do I... At first, I thought this might be because I was female, but then I became a little disheartened to think it possibly wasn't just because that.

The rest of the times that I've gone to meetups, save a few where I've met quite cool people, I just felt either that others were surprised and felt awkward to be around someone that did not fit the image they had in their head, or plain ignored. So now I'm not sure if I should disclose my race beforehand, but I have NO CLUE how to bring that up in a non-weird way.

There's no way to put a profile picture on this site, no profile to describe yourself either. So unless it naturally comes up in the conversation, like "Have you been to this Korean restaurant? I have and it's delicious! My mother took me there, and she's from Korea, so I trust her knowledge about those kinds of places. Oh also my dad is black. Wanna meet up around 7?" That's weird. Any advice on this?

Am I just being a paranoid parrot? Sometimes I just want to apologize for not being the person people expected. "I know you might've imagined me being white, I'm sorry!" Growing up in a small, mostly white town I felt like I sometimes had to apologize for not being the majority or for not looking like my friends. If it wasn't that, I usually felt ignored but eventually got used to it. I knew a few people who certainly made clear that I was an other. Maybe I'm just feeling this way in a new city with a little bit less color.

Any advice would be appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (30 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Here's what I do when I'm meeting people from a website I frequent that is predominantly Black: I say "You'll know me because I'm the middle aged white lady." If anyone didn't know before, that alerts them.

Please don't apologize for who you are, and fuck anyone's expectations. The fact is that the first time we meet someone in person whom we have bonded on the internet, it is really the first time we meet them. We don't know them in person and people are different in person and on the internet. What a PITA for you but you get to be the poster child for illustrating this in very obvious ways. If I were you and this were appropriate on your web community, I would start a conversation to discuss gamester attitudes toward biracial people, or say something like "as a biracial woman, it really bugs me when men fetishize me."

It could easily be racism, depending on a number of factors, but of course you can never rule it out, especially in an insular white community. Let's hope that they're weird just because you're intimidating, female, and a gamer. Otherwise, the difference between you and your Asian girlfriend may primarily be self confidence. I know you have a lot of interesting things to add to the conversation, so make sure you add them, even if you feel like you're being loud or pushy. That's what gets people noticed and, frankly, if you're quiet to begin with, what feels loud to you may be a normal tone of voice to anyone else.
posted by janey47 at 1:40 PM on February 13, 2015 [15 favorites]

Honestly, I think people acting weird when they discover your race says more about them than it does about you.

I think letting it naturally come out is best, but with a bit of an adjustment from your suggested script: ""Have you been to this Korean restaurant? I have and it's delicious! My mother took me there, and she's from Korea, so I trust her knowledge about those kinds of places. Wanna meet up around 7?" The fact that your mother is from Korea actually has bearing on whether or not to attend a certain Korean restaurant; the fact that your father is black kind of doesn't.

The only time I've ever had someone I knew online "brace" me for his appearance before we met in person, it was a guy who had a profoundly disfigured arm; and even then I'm not sure I'd have cared. Because he was still the same guy I'd been talking to. Just like you're still the same person they've been talking to, and if they can't handle it, that's THEIR problem.

I'm sorry those people made you feel uncomfortable. But nothing you did caused their discomfort. Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:41 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

Gosh, I'm sorry these clods are making you feel weird about yourself. Let them be kind of idiotic, if they don't settle down once they've gotten used to you, you can keep moving until you find folks who will embrace your incredibly interesting background. Honestly, you don't owe it to anyone to be anyone other than who you are. And you're AWESOME!

People can feel weird about not imagining you as you are. If they can move on from it, great, if they can't, they're assholes.

Not all meet ups are great, and the first one will be different from the second or sixth. So you can keep going and maybe folks get used to you, or they don't.

It takes a HUGE effort to put yourself into these situations, so good for you for putting yourself out there.

One thing my socially anxious Husbunny does is play the alphabet game with people. He'll ask questions or bring up topics, in alphabetical order:

"Are you going anywhere on vacation this year? I'm really thinking about checking out the Azores."

"Since moving here, I notice that the Bugs are different. I get to get grossed out by completely different species."

"I was watching something on animal planet about Cows. Cows are so incredible."

Keep trying. Hang in there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:48 PM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]

Honestly, I think people acting weird when they discover your race says more about them than it does about you.

THIS. I mean, I have done my share of clueless-white-person things, but if someone I was unthinkingly expecting to be white showed up and wasn't, I wouldn't act "distant" though I might be nervous about saying something inadvertently racist for a while. But then I'd try to get over myself. Because that is about the minimum standard of what I should do.

It sounds like you have a healthy group of friends already, so you aren't forced to hang with people who have sad-ass racial hangups. I would just chalk these up to bad experiences caused by their unresolved issues, not by anything you did.
posted by emjaybee at 1:56 PM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]

I don't think that there's a way to pre-announce your race that won't be kind of weird. And, frankly, the reactions you get from people in person will tell you a lot about whether you want to be friends with them. This is not about you, it's about them. No need to apologize for their lack of consciousness or their inability to imagine people being a bit different than they are.
posted by quince at 1:58 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Absolutely do not apologize for being white. (I don't actually think you're saying that you're planning to, but don't even give the air of being apologetic.)

On the one hand, it's their own goddamn fault for assuming that human beings are by default, white, and, no you have no obligation to disclose ahead of time that you're Asian/Black, because why are they assuming you're white in the first place? That's their (racist) fault.

On the other hand, to avoid these types of unpleasant situations, you may prefer to work it casually into the conversation, if you're chatting with someone online before meeting, for example. I've done this:

Stranger: I've always wanted to visit Country!
Me: You should! I actually grew up there! For me, it was really an interesting experience growing up as a ______ person in Country.

Stranger: Where are you from?
Me: Well, I'm originally from Country [that explains unequivocally what race I am], but I grew up in Other Countries. How about you?

Or, just say "Here's a pic so you know who you're looking for."

I've had people cancel or just stop talking to me after I've mentioned any of these things/sent them a pic. It sucked, but I think it sucks less than showing up and having people look at you sideways for being... a human who looks slightly different does.

When I was in college, I was moving back into the dorms while the rest of my friends were moving/staying off campus- I just really could not bring myself to cook for another year- so I was going in blind. One of my friends asked me if I had told my new roommate that I was [race]. I just think this is so telling about the state of mind that some people have- that white people are "regular" and the rest of us are deviant.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 1:58 PM on February 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

This is a thing; you are not paranoid.

50% of the people I work with, I meet over chat and email and phone first, and then in person, usually years later. It's always weird to meet someone in person after "knowing" them for so long, even if their photo is in their profile and I see it every time I contact them. So, acting a little strange at first until your brain makes the connection that live person in front of you and voice and pixels on the screen are both Bob/Anna/whatever is normal, I think.

What is not normal is ignoring/continuing to act strange/making weird race conversation. If you'd feel more comfortable letting people know your race beforehand, by all means do. But I would say, that's not going to make people be friendlier or take away this issue. But hey, it's a way to weed out jerks you wouldn't want to hang out with anyway.
posted by umwhat at 1:59 PM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]

The first girl you met was racist. The group of guys you met was sexist. Neither of these things is your fault, and you should change exactly nothing in order to accommodate them or others like them.
posted by jesourie at 2:05 PM on February 13, 2015 [39 favorites]

They may be terrified of accidentally saying something that will offend you. It may seem easier to just avoid the situation entirely than to risk being stupid.

I've heard that, the odder you are in a given social setting, the more gregarious you have to be to put people at ease. If you're at all up for being outgoing and charming them, or even addressing the awkwardness out front, that could help.
posted by amtho at 2:06 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Sadly, I am a woman of color and have learned the difficult way that yes, to avoid the pain that will result when your online "friends" react unpleasantly, you should mention your race. I tend to like a lot of stereotypically "white" things which may have made the problem worse for me because people assume far too much based on superficial tastes.

The crummy thing is that a lot of people who seem really open-minded and liberal in cyberspace are not always like that when it comes to face-to-face reality. In fact some of the worst racists I have encountered are the best hidden, sometimes they hide behind academic research that seems very liberal. Conversely, many people who online have interests that appear less friendly to people of colour (metalheads, survivalist types) can actually be extremely open-minded and welcoming. My point is you can NEVER tell and to avoid the awkwardness let them know.

This is not to make them feel better but to make you feel better because it really feels awful when someone you think you have a connection with turns out to be a creep.

But please also note that in general people can be awkward meeting up which may have nothing to do with physical appearance. I am a very outgoing person and my online personality matches my offline one. However many people are completely different on the internet than in real life. Perhaps they are introverted. As a result they appear to be distant and rude when in truth they are nervous about making a good impression. In person meet ups require a lot more spontaneity and improvised discussion than online chats allow and some people know they don't measure up to the online persona - whereas an outgoing person is excited by the prospect of such an encounter.

That said, I do not think you are paranoid. You are coming face to face with the reality that a lot of people who claim to be open-minded and colour-blind in fact have many hang-ups that have never been tested, because they never willingly make close friends with those outside their homogeneous social group.
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 2:07 PM on February 13, 2015 [28 favorites]

Stranger: Where are you from?
Me: Well, I'm originally from Country [that explains unequivocally what race I am], but I grew up in Other Countries. How about you?

My assumption here is that the OP is originally from America and grew up in America and is meeting other Americans, so talking about where she is from is not going to clue people in.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:53 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

My point is that one could find a semi-natural way of working it in. I'm not saying to follow my script verbatim.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 3:06 PM on February 13, 2015

I don't know how you signal things like race or gender in online forums without expressly choosing a name or avatar to do so, and I know a lot of the time it is pleasant to be ambiguous about that. Would you be comfortable changing your username or whatever to reflect your irl appearance? Because I agree you shouldn't! But I do feel very sad that the people you met were so rude. Maybe you should beat them to the punch in future: "Oh my God! You're white?"
posted by mythical anthropomorphic amphibian at 3:27 PM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]

I'm white and have lived most of my life in a city/region with a significant black population. But I also lived for a while in a city/region with a minuscule black population.

Where there was the smaller black population, I noticed a narrative among white people that "there are no black people here." Like in the entire city/region? Which would obviously be factually untrue, but it was weird how any statistics I cited or any local black people I mentioned were somehow written off and the narrative remained.

Where there was the larger black population, I noticed that narrative only in certain spaces, for example around certain neighborhoods or hobbies. So, I don't think you're being paranoid. I think being in the area you're in is probably a big reason why you're encountering more of this.

Where there was the smaller black population, I only made one friend who was black during the time I was there. She would basically recite her life story including the reason she was in the area whenever she met a new white person. It was sad to me that she was basically having to defend her right to be there. But she felt like it was what she had to do in order to be seen; in order for white people not to hesitate awkwardly wanting to ask but knowing it wasn't appropriate to ask...
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 3:33 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I guess the conundrum is is that if you tell people right beforehand, they probably won't say they no longer want to meet you but they may still be racist/act awkward when you do. Of course their racism is not your problem, but I can totally understand you not wanting to go out of your way to meet people who are racist/sexist. I think the question you are asking is how to avoid that.

I think besides finding a way to mix it into the conversation more ahead of time (in order to be able to first guage how racist people are), you could also find one person who seems trustworthy (from the message board) to message privately. Another way is to just go, consider it an experience in and of itself, and be hopeful that at least some of the people will not be jerks and you can get to know them (although that doesn't sound like your experience with the guys). I guess ultimately you need to decide how much energy you want to invest in this- maybe go to some meet-ups, and meet others in situations where things are clearer.

All in all, it sounds like it sucks and I am sorry for that.
posted by bearette at 3:35 PM on February 13, 2015

Know why the first person mentioned how she had a black co-worker who said some funny stuff? It wasn't for you - that was for herself, to remind/convince herself that yes, she has been around black people before and that it'll be okay to be around black people. There is nothing you could have done about that, and so nothing about that was your fault.

I hope you take to heart all the folks here saying you have nothing to apologize for re: your race, presentation, interests, i.e. who you are. Having confidence in that reality will help you to put into practice some of the concrete suggestions here, as you'll end up spending a lot less energy trying to please other people's preconceptions, some/many of whom there's no way to actually please.
posted by obliterati at 3:37 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

If it helps any:

I am white. I grew up in The Deep South. I was married for a lot of years to a white man. At one new place we moved to, he became fast friends with someone at work and would not stop talking about the man. In all the months that he failed to shut up about his new best friend, he never once indicated said friend was black. When they arranged for both families to meet, I was surprised and the surprise showed on my face. It was a very awkward meeting.

For me, it was shocking to realize that I assumed he was white because nothing had been said and I realized this was a racist assumption rooted in growing up in a racist environment and my husband was not like that. I really did not care that the family was black. But I had no idea how to explain to them that I had just discovered this icky thing about myself -- this assumption that I had not thought about -- and it wasn't them. I never did feel comfortable with them because I felt like they thought this really nice guy was married to a racist and that really bothered me and it was not a topic we were ever able to clear the air on.

So I think you should try to find a way to set people's expectations appropriately so they have some clue how to interact with you. It's annoying. It's frustrating. It's a lot of work. I do this when I hang out in environments where I am a demographic outlier of some sort. I think it's not very realistic to assume that every decent human being on the planet has to already have some advanced, well-developed understanding and practices and so on and so forth about multiculturalism or something.

I am reminded of how Muhammad Ali said something about not wanting to go to war "because those people never did nothing to me" or something like that. His lawyer ended up filing for conscientious objector status. He was religious and had a good heart and honestly did not want to go shoot at other people (and has said something like "wars are white people ordering black people to shoot at brown people") but he wasn't that articulate or sophisticated in his ability to express it when caught off guard by the draft.

So I would, yeah, try to give people the head's up. Try to find a way to make it low key. back in the day, some black country singer used to begin his stage act by saying something like "Don't be put off by the permanent tan..." because people tended to not expect him to be black. They knew his music. They knew his voice. They found his race a huge surprise. He did a good job of putting them at ease and getting things focused back on his music.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 4:23 PM on February 13, 2015 [7 favorites]

I wonder if color or race is the whole problem here. I suspect its not, although it maybe the most identifiable difference between you and some of the groups you are meeting.

It also could be your sense of security, or your looks, or being a female.

I would work it into a conversation, the same way one mentions being single, when looking to find people to possibly date, when NOT on a dating site. You could be honest about it, and bring it up with new potential meet up people "You know, one time I met this girl and when she saw me she had this reaction. Is that normal here?" Actually, the same question you are asking here could be a good way to check the waters.

Or, you could ask people about themselves. You could be like, "So cool! We're gonna meet! Describe yourself to me, so I can have a better sense of you as a person, instead of this faceless internet entity!"

Or you could say, "I love this website-thingy but I can't believe there are no avatars! How do you know people are who they say they are...? Me, for example, ..."

I know it seems strange to have to "let people know" but... that's the Internets for you. You just have to figure out conversation that purposely gives people an idea of who you are (color, hair, confident, everything).

People can just be horribly insecure and unhappy and when they meet someone who is they just act cold or weird. Totally NOT your problem.
posted by Locochona at 4:58 PM on February 13, 2015

It's not your fault, and by no means should you apologize for not being whom they expected you to be.

Sometimes it seems like white people treat people of color like space aliens. Some are freaked out, some are excited because you are an exotic and different, some want to relate but keep talking about this E.T. guy they saw in a movie and acting like all aliens are the same, some have a bunch of questions based on weird stereotypes.

None of those are good. You want the people who sees you as a person first.

It's also not your job to educate them or get them to change their behavior. You can try if you want, but trying to point out people being racist or sexist may tend to make them defensive. They have to want to change in the first place.

But tipping them off? Not a bad thing if you want to do it. I wouldn't see it as tipping them off really, it's more like you are coming out: making your identity visible, rather then letting people assume.

At the same time, there are a lot of people who like the same things you like, and it's perfectly alright to not favor people who are bigoted with your presence. You, after all, are clever and interesting and well-spoken. It's okay to cast aside the people who don't properly appreciate you and find a group that deserves you.
posted by gryftir at 5:03 PM on February 13, 2015

So I think you should try to find a way to set people's expectations appropriately so they have some clue how to interact with you. It's annoying. It's frustrating. It's a lot of work.

But it's not your work. You absolutely do not have the responsibility to clue people in that white isn't standard, default human. If the shock of that does something to them, that's on them to fix. You don't have to go through life making it a more comfy process for others to get over their prejudices. Fuck that noise.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 6:58 PM on February 13, 2015 [15 favorites]

This happened to me in the Midwest and I'm not even black. But I do look and talk and act and think different. I do think it's because they see you as an "Other" so they don't feel like they can be themselves. I think some Midwestern people are just very used to dealing with what they're used to and anything else throws them off. They don't know what to do so they do nothing. But that's their problem. Don't warn them and don't feel bad.
posted by bleep at 7:11 PM on February 13, 2015

Without getting into whether you need to do this or should do this, the easiest and most natural way to signal race before you meet is what janey47 said:

"Looking forward to meeting you at 7! I'll be the tall black girl with the purple t-shirt and green sneakers."

That come across as totally natural for me, and I would assume you threw race in there with as much importance as t-shirt color or sneaker color--just as a way to identify you. On the other hand, it does give them a heads up.

That's what I do whenever I meet people online: "I'll be the short white girl with a striped sweater and red handbag." My husband does the same: "I'm the tall bald South Asian guy with glasses."
posted by whitewall at 7:17 PM on February 13, 2015 [5 favorites]

It really doesn't matter what you do. Racists gonna racist. I've sprung my blackness on people at times and broken the news gently in other circumstances, but it turns out it really doesn't matter what I do. I learned from experience that some people are cool and others aren't, and there's very little you or I or them or anyone can do about it.

That's not to say you should end your relationships with everyone who displays awkwardness upon learning you're not white - they've not bad people after all - but it is likely that those people will probably never become your really close friends (though you never know!)
posted by lesli212 at 7:17 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

This is a common occurrence during my on-line interactions, that someone sometimes me sometimes other people describe their status/es. So I don't think it's awkward ... But maybe that's with political-y discussions?
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:09 PM on February 13, 2015

You're already doing everything right. You're being who you are, as a person. If other people get hung up because they're too used to seeing their own skin pigment, well, they're being who they are. They're giving you information about themselves. Stick with people who are able to move past first-meet oddness and who strike you as genuine! The other sorts, well, some may come to apologize for it, some may continue acting strange, some may behave like children raised by intolerant parents/an intolerant society.

You don't need to explain to other human beings that you are a human being. You are you. They know it. If they treat you otherwise, they are making a choice, on one level or another. Human beings know how to apologize when they're in the wrong, unless, again, something is messed up, on whatever other level. I'm not an angel, I've said stupid shit too. When you feel a pang of "oh crap, I hurt Y's feelings," you say so to Y. They may or may not accept your apology, which is also part of being human. People who don't apologize or make amends? Something's up. Something is more important to them than your feelings. Whatever that is, well, it's there, and if they can't talk about it, well, that's there too.

And just as someone who's experienced pronounced, localized xenophobia – be prepared to listen to your gut deeply enough that if/when it says, "man, this place is messed up, maybe we should try somewhere else," it is probably telling the truth. I tried SO hard to do the confident, accepting, clear-spoken, culturally in tune, let-water-roll-off-my-back thing in an area that never, ever wanted that; it only wanted me to be the Foreigner. I moved somewhere more tolerant and the difference is huge. Almost unbelievably huge. So listen to your heart and gut. Sometimes it really is the other people.
posted by fraula at 1:02 AM on February 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

You don't have to go through life making it a more comfy process for others to get over their prejudices. Fuck that noise.

It depends a lot on your goal. If your goal is to shock white folks into realizing that little things they do are actually racist, welp, my shocking experience was quite memorable and I think of it often and try like hell to not make those kinds of assumptions any more. So if you (the OP) has a goal of slapping people in the face with their unconscious biases in order to take a righteous stand and larn these hicks a few manners, hey, have it. But if the goal is to socialize, you will see more success if you make a little effort to do some appropriate communicating.

That won't stop some folks from being racist or from being assholes for other reasons. But it will prevent some doors from shutting unnecessarily. So it's a sensible thing to do if you would like to keep your potential social circle as broad as reasonably possible. Given that you posted this question, I am operating on the assumption that the goal is to socialize and keep as many of those doors open as you can. But, hey, if I am mistaken, have at taking righteous anti-racist stands. Whatever floats your boat.
posted by Michele in California at 9:40 AM on February 14, 2015

It depends a lot on your goal. If your goal is to shock white folks into realizing that little things they do are actually racist, welp, my shocking experience was quite memorable and I think of it often and try like hell to not make those kinds of assumptions any more. So if you (the OP) has a goal of slapping people in the face with their unconscious biases in order to take a righteous stand and larn these hicks a few manners, hey, have it. But if the goal is to socialize, you will see more success if you make a little effort to do some appropriate communicating.

I generally think Michelle in California has useful things to add to a conversation, but this framing reveals an appalling and white-centering bias, and OP, please do not take it to heart. Your mere existence is not in any way equatable to slapping someone in the face in ANY way. Your life is not a learning experience for anyone else. You should not have to "appropriately comminucate" your race in order to be allowed the privilege of socializing with others.

THAT SAID, clearly we don't live in a perfect world, and some people are going to make your feel uncomfortable because of their biases. If you want to tell people you aren't white before meeting to gauge their reaction for your own safety and comfort, please do that. But do not do this to make them more comfortable or "prepare" them for the wild experience of seeing a brown person.

(This is for the perspective of a person who has had MORE THAN ONE coworker tell me that they thought I would be "a little blonde girl" based on my phone voice, so that's kind of an extra fun blend of misogyny and racial bias to deal with on first meeting someone. For the record, I'm more of a Scary than a Baby Spice.)
posted by tyrantkitty at 1:15 PM on February 14, 2015 [9 favorites]

Hmm---I admit you're not being paranoid because I'm in a similar situation because I have a very ambiguous name and my hobbies happen to be niche too. I felt nervous going to a local club because I had no idea what it'd be like in-person but it was alright. Yes a lot of the same problems I assumed I'd run into I did and other unexpected issues showed up too.

However, I didn't give up right away and I stayed with the club because it was fun and I liked talking about my hobbies where most people tend to ignore them elsewhere. We share a few interests like video games and I know their community is extremely toxic to anyone who is different or has a new idea for video games. I know this but I still want to be involved with video game dev and tech because deep down I like these subjects.

At the end of the day I ask myself: Am I having fun? If yes, then carry on but if not then I'll quit. It's not that I'm letting myself down or entire gender but I just don't have time for boring/stressful activities.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 3:21 PM on February 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think a paranoid parrot might be very cute. I've spent several minutes thinking of things a paranoid parrot would say and most of them have made me laugh.

I am the person who apologizes for being myself. I take up more space than many and I spend time trying to make myself less visible, however I can make that happen. But I know this to be true - it's stupid that I do it, because what others think of me is on them, not me. My therapist reminds me of this regularly because I am very good at forgetting.

I am also the person who cannot hide my reaction. After you and I had chatted for days or weeks and then when we met my mental image didn't match your actual image, I'd have the biggest, fakest (apparently not a word), shit-eating grin and it'd be super obvious I was making things awkward. But I know this to be true - that's MY inadequacies getting in the way and is on me, not you.

There might be less color in town than where you were before, but you have my encouragement to not believe you have to apologize for not being what someone else thought you would be.
posted by ovenmitt at 5:16 PM on February 14, 2015

OP, you do not owe anyone a "warning" about your race. BUT - in order to give yourself a bit more peace of mind navigating a racist world online and off, you could absolutely use the "I'll be the black girl" line to filter out racist jerks and other generally ignorant people who would need a "heads up" about the color of your skin.

Learn from your prior experiences. White people acted weird and bizarre when they assumed you were white and were surprised to find themselves faced with a brown person. You probably don't want to hang out with those people. Give yourself a heads up by minimizing the likelihood that you'll be sitting across from a racial ignoramus.
posted by Gray Skies at 12:46 PM on February 16, 2015

« Older Help me not hate my Camry.   |   Fly me to the moon Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.