Thursday, September 01, 2016

Good thing


It happened again. Someone lashed out at me for being English, only I'm not.

My summer home is Argelès-sur-mer, normally a wonderful little village. Yet after the Brexit vote a woman told me to go home. I told her I was Swiss. She didn't care. I could go home to Switzerland.

Then this week we were having a farewell apéro at La Côté Place. Across the Place the band for that night's dance was warming. They were ear-breaking loud. I liked the music, but the volume was awful.
I went over and told them I liked the music, but could they lower it a bit. The drummer, a man about my height (read unimpressive) and a white pony tail, jumped from the band stand and started ranting at me.

He belonged there, I didn't. He didn't like the English anyway, he said.

"I'm not English, I'm Swiss."

"They're just as bad, blah, blah, blah." He waved his arms. "If you don't like it you can leave."

Had I thought about it, I should have asked him why he felt the way he did. I should have complimented him on something (that really throws an angry person off track) but I didn't. I admit it is harder for me in French but not impossible.

"Go away, I'm staying," he said. And although it was unlike me, I did.

In reality he did not play much longer and we could chat with our friends.

As a white, older woman this does not happen often, but I can sympathize with blacks, Muslims, Latinos or any group being rejected for their category. For me it is a rarity. For them it can be a regular event.

In a way that this has happened to me is a good thing. I am more aware of the problems of other people who do not have the advantage that I have of being the majority in most of the places I am.

I  do not understand xenophobia. We are all part of the human race and to dislike another part for some geographical or pigmentation reason makes no sense. It is a rejection of ourselves.

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