“Mozambique” could be the answer. And the he knows Mozambique to be a country of dark-skinned people on a “dark-continent” full of famine and lacking modernity. True or not, the images and the ideas that the colonizers and their media planted into our ancestral minds generations ago and that are still being harvested today fill in all he doesn’t know about the human in front of us. The person is no longer a person, they are a fact and they are a fact full of fiction, written by the imagination of the asker so that they feel less scared or less guilty or less confused about what they have done and thought or what they allowed to continue being done and thought.
And she is being asked to fit easily into this imagination and all of its associations and she knows it is best if they not reveal the layers of complication and nuance- especially if even the most basic state of being seems odd at best or worse, inferior and unwelcome.
She hopes one day a man will approach her and simply say, “Hi. How are you?” and that he truly wants to know, that he will be prepared for her to say “I feel hurt and unwelcome and confused” and that he won’t try to prove her wrong. Someday.