Monday, March 13, 2006

cambridge's fall from grace

i tried to stay away from this post, but the events of this past weekend have forced me to share a side of cambridge that you would think didn't exist. you would think being one of the top schools in the world, you would not have to deal with type of ignorance and stupidity. i am just trying to share the REAL cambridge and let you know it is not all rosy like you may think.

while i was making my decision on where to attend graduate school, one plus about studying abroad was the fact that it would be a more "color blind" experience. this could not be FARTHER from the truth. it seems that people here have SERIOUS staring problems. wherever i go, it never fails that people just stop and stare as i enter. next time this happens, i am going to stare back at them and ask if i look ok. when i first arrived, there were many instances where people i came in contact with seemed to shocked that i was a phd student at cambridge. i can say this confidently because i was greeted with "you study at cambridge?" from fellow cambridge students. so, i brushed that off as mere ignorance. the next incident i will share was news to me. apparently, there is a certain "look" that a phd student should have. i was actually told that i "don't look like a phd student." well good. i am glad i don't look like a phd student. lastly, this past weekend, i had an experience that made me feel like i was in georgia in the 1960s. i go to the bar (the river bar.....have to put them on blast) with some white friends (4 to be exact). of course, there were the usual stares as i enter. we go to the bar, and all get their orders taken and drinks served one by one. i just happen to be the last person in line. there were two bartenders and a few customers, but as it comes to be my turn to order, there are no other customers within arms length of me. so, there is no way they don't see me. anyway, the bartender actually tells me he will get me in a second. kool. i continue to wait and the bartender is just chillin and talking to the other bartender as he helps some other customers. now, the bartender that is helping customers at the other end of the bar looks at me and tells the idle bartender (the one that said he would get me in a second) that he needs to come take my order. at that point, i am FURIOUS and walk away as he comes back over. i was waiting for about 15-20 minutes. i get my stuff and prepare to leave, but the friends i was with get me to stay as they are almost through with their drinks.

how is it that i have had more experiences like this in england, and i am from georgia? it's crazy. i guess prejudice and racism isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

as far as my research goes, i am still stuck. hopefully it won't be for much longer.


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