BBB: Through The Looking Glass – Getting Over The Stare While Abroad

According to, “to stare” means to gaze fixedly or intently; to be boldly or obtrusively conspicuous. Having been in China for only one week thus far, the looks I have received have been both bold and easily noticeable. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Shanghai, I became a mythical creature for onlookers to marvel at me.. I had anticipated this action long before my coming to China, but soon I realized that actually experiencing it would bring about many emotions.

Depending on where you’re from, to stare at someone can symbolize an informal greeting or polite gesture, while in another place, it could potentially mean a sign of battle or war. For example, when one of my best friends from Los Angeles first moved to Atlanta, one of the first things he noticed was how often people would not only look at him but also stare. In their eyes he saw a curiosity that was working overtime to figure him out.  Yet, whether it from interest or ill intent, he was still made to feel uncomfortable from these many looks.

Similarly, I too felt a sense of discomfort from the eyes that had fixed themselves upon me. Whether it is on the street or the train, I am constantly being stared at for my blackness. On the basketball court, my least favorite sport to play, I was embraced as if I were one of the greats. In order to to not break their stereotype, I was too shy to even play or dribble the ball on the court at the thought of people laughing at me. Recently, a man walked past me than ran excitedly back toward me to have our picture taken. The list could go on and on, but their stares caused me to think deeper on the subject. Was I ugly to them? Did they expect me to be an athlete, a rapper, or a  rapist? However, from their gazes I did not feel a sense of hate or distaste; instead, I felt a sense of interest and ignorance. I use both of these words because their ignorance or lack of knowledge of Black people and black culture caused them to be intrigued just by the sight  of me.

Consequently, I started to make fun out of the daily looks I received rather than frown and begin my experiences here on the wrong foot. I soon began to smile, wave, and stare back at the people who knew not what they had caused so many others to feel. Before I knew it, I became a model for what being black looks like and would laugh as I would say to myself. “It’s okay to look, I know I’m sexy. Are you looking at me? I sort of favor Taye Diggs and a splash of Idris Elba huh?” While they may not be attracted to me or even find me appealing, I stopped caring and started creating my own narrative for them. All I had to do was simply change how I felt about these stares and I began to feel more at peace and at ease with myself.

Though some people may wonder why should I have to carry the burden of someone else’s perception of me, I realized that you cannot create change unless you become that very change yourself. I cannot run from my blackness anywhere in this world, but rather I must embrace and engage in activity that brings about positive images of what black looks like for those who  come into contact with me. As there are still other issues I am currently facing here in Shanghai (ie. euro/white privilege, race, loneliness, and sexuality), I feel victorious in having conquered one so far.

Comments 0

  1. KennethPem

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Nicely put, Regards.
    viagra cialis soft cheap buy viagra how by viagra generic viagra
    generic viagra sildenafil citrate
    best time to take viagra 50mg
    buy generic viagra si br
    women’s viagra virginia
    buying viagra online in australia
    <a href="”>viagra afghanistan

  2. KennethPem

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Whoa a good deal of excellent facts.
    does pink viagra really work buy generic viagra viagra without rx generic viagra 100mg
    name cheap viagra
    viagra sales in uk
    viagra sildenafil cialis tadalafil dosage use
    viagra and relationships
    discount viagra levitra
    <a href=" Development&fname=Brendanlib&lname=Brendanlib& actually mentioned this very well! viagra 100 pic generic viagra 100mg continuing medil edution lifornia viagra viagra without a doctors prescription“>how fast does viagra begin working

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *