So, I’m back from Rome. And it was amazing. The architecture, the food (though the ONLY options were pizza and pasta, but hey…it’s Italy) the shopping, and most of all, the history, were all remarkable. What wasn’t so awesome was the people. Ouch. I know what you’re thinking. Jason, don’t go blanket an entire group of people, blah blah blah. Listen, I’m not saying all Italians are wack. I know a bunch of Italians, and they’re awesome. What I’m saying is that my experience in Italy was dope, only after I got over the fact that I was a walking sideshow. I was like a circus freak, an oddity, an ogre. I was stared at, laughed at, pointed at as if I wasn’t human. So, the first two days were challenging as I was forced to control my temper and attempt to make up excuses for the ignorance happening around me. And after a while, I learned to block it out and had the time of my life.
It put racism in America in a different context. At least here, there are many of us. We live next door, and hold political offices. People with wooly hair like mine work as teachers and lawyers, artists and businessmen (at least in New York.) But over there, in Rome, it was a far more homogenous population. And it was made painfully clear, in this BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL place, that I was the fried chicken leg in the pasta bowl.