Racism-induced Exhaustion

I wasn't sure how long the men had been on the train, to be honest. I don't usually pay attention when I am on my way home from work. At some point I had started a short conversation with the two Brazilians nearby mostly because I never get to speak Portuguese in Portland.

Later on I was talking on my phone to a friend, in Spanish, relating to her my day and the neatness of running into Portuguese-speakers on the commute home. As the train pulled into the last stop, my stop, I put my phone away and as I approached the exit heard the loud end of a conversation about how "we should just close the borders and then tell them all to shut up."

My knee-jerk reaction was rage, of course. Those men weren't looking directly at me when they said it...but you know that feeling you get when everyone is talking about you but they're not actually acknowledging your presence nearby? They probably didn't think I even understood English...and I'm not even Mexican. At all. The shocking part was their appearance...they all seemed rather innocuous...for older White men. People are ugly when they think you're not paying attention or that you don't understand what they're saying.

So when my friends or acquaintances (mostly the White ones) whine at me about how they don't understand why these horrible racist things happen to me or around me and that  I "must be hanging out in the wrong areas" or with the "wrong people," I smile now, thinly. I don't have anything to say anymore. I'm too damn tired of experiencing it,  pointing it out, and "discussing" it.

 I just want to know who the hell you're all hanging out with.

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