yesterday, I ran into a professor that taught before my network and Internet protocols class. He was teaching an intro to world history course. He said most of his studies were actually about French colonialism, and that in spite of that he was a huge self-declared Francophile, a lover of all French culture despite their crimes in SE Asia, Africa, etc. I nodded and pretended to understand what he said, but in the back of my mind, I could only think of the photographs of the French posing with the heads of my people, the pictures of starving men and women, comments on how the French treated the Vietnamese with a cruelty that rivaled that of Nazi Germany.
I wish I could have said to him, "It must be easy to ignore the worst parts, then." But I didn't.
I told my mother about this man and she scoffed and said, he sounds like an annoying creature. I laughed.
I have so many moments like this, where I choose to placate the other person instead of give myself the satisfaction of being a bitch. My older brother isn't like this. He just says what he likes and figures the rest of it could go to hell. But he is not a great example on how to be a good person.
I remember the time that I told a woman that I was Vietnamese and the first thing she said to me was, "Do you know how many of our boys died in that war?" I was sixteen and I had never experienced such an isolation of race. I did not know what to say. I must have pathetically said something like, I'm sorry.
I told this to my father and he told me, does she know how many of our boys died in that war?
I wish I knew the right things to say to these people. I wish I were better than this.