My life: last year, I graduated in "chinese studies" (i.e. I am mainly a historian of China but I also speak and write chinese, the discipline is called sinology) and then spent a year doing various jobs and slowly realizing I needed something more technical if I wanted to achieve any real financial freedom. My initial high school orientation was science-oriented which made it easy to get accepted. So, this summer I've had a preparatory class in automated systems, which is what I'll do full-time from september on. Zis appens in France so you can read all of it in a silly accent.
Said preparatory class was targeted at two demographics. People in my situation (7 white dudes, 1 pacific islander, 1 moroccan) and jobless people getting paid for attending it (13 blacks and one white guy).
I had to attend class and study in a work group of five where I was the only white. I don't even remember what first made me seriously consider the possibility of racial inequality. I had to do 75% of everything on a good day, the best of the four doing the remaining 25% while the three others were basically noise, smell, worse smell and louder noise. One by one:
$1 was a good boy. Not particularly quick at anything but he did his part and was usually quiet and polite. I even heard him calling out #3 on his gibsmedat attitude. A miracle I tell you. Tags: spitting everywhere, littering.
$2 was a good talker but didn't do a thing to help. He was the cleanest of the lot and somewhat sharply dressed. Tags: massive liar, gibsmedat, extremely religious and obnoxious about it, as vocally sexist and homophobic as you can get, had a kid with his white girlfriend but would (proudly) report cheating on her during the week-end, massive ego.
$3 was a lazy fucker only interested in muh dick and soccer. Really stupid, too. Tags: gibsmedat, littering, stealing mainly.
$4 was a musician and apart from that, dumb. as. a. brick. 80% illiterate and 100% unable to do basic math. Two kids at 22. Tags: gibsmedat, stealing, liar, believes every conspiracy theory you could think of, vocally religious, entitled and wannabe swindler - and proud!
None of them paid for their meals (gumment gibs) or for public transportation.
I can think of a couple things that planted in me the seed of doubt. First, one time #4 was talking about someone he knew who (allegedly) got aids from a doctor and how aids was a plot to kill people in africa. I said something about condoms. #2 then lamented that there were too many rapists there because, hear me, the police wasn't as good at catching them as in France. They discussed it for a while and I was shocked to discover that from their perspective, rape was kinda ok if you didn't get caught. They were, like, laughing about it. "You gotta be careful here or you end up in the ~hovel" (slang for jail) All of that was disturbingly lighthearted.
Another time was when a disheartened teacher asked me to help #4 who didn't know how to math. After trying for a while, I marveled at the fact that this guy was seen as perfectly normal by his peers and had, like, a wife and two kids. A white person who cannot add 6 and 13 or doesn't know what a substraction is despite spending years staring at a black board is just not functional and will be a social outcast. Yet, nobody saw #4 as retarded, or even as weird. As I discovered later, #3 was only marginally better than him.
These are anecdotes, but #3, #4 and #5 acted like the ignorant, stupid dickheads that they were just about every minute of the day.
This is pretty trite compared to the experiences of other coontown residents. I've never had a really bad experience with blacks and I was never physically assaulted. I do believe ours are marginally better than african americans - maybe because they don't have that same whiny, bossy, entitled-sounding accent, I don't know. Well, anyway, that is what made me doubt some of the liberal narrative I was brough up in. Just enough that I went on to find /r/coontown with a relatively open mind. And then, you know, statistics and studies n sheeiit.