(London Guardian) A few months after I moved to New York, a magical conversation happened that would radically shift my psyche forever. I was telling my friend that I had gone to his favorite shop and he asked: “Who served you? Was it the tall white guy?”
I frowned and replied, “Are the rest of the staff not white?” to which my friend replied “Huh? What do you mean? No. I was just describing him.”
While he wandered off to get a beer, I stood dumbfounded. This was the first time I had heard a white person’s race used as a casual descriptor, a simple point of differentiation in what I perceive to be a white world.
Advertisement - story continues below
As a Brit, I grew up in a country that was 86% white, so “white” was the norm. That kid you were imagining in books like Roald Dahl’s was white, unless you were told otherwise (which you never were). The men paraded on the TV show Crimewatch were described as black when they were black, and short or tall or thin or fat when they were white.