Young white male asks me for money. Thoughts on #whiteprivilege from a tropical island
I feel like I almost got scammed. I was waiting to get on the ferry off of the island in Thailand to make my way back to Bangkok to catch a flight.
While sitting on a bench, a young white male comes up to me and starts talking to me. At first I don’t understand what he saying, partly because he has an accent and partly maybe because he was speaking quickly. He repeated himself, “Could you give me 100 baht for the ferry…”
My gut immediately refused him. I said I’m sorry but I don’t have any change. Sure, 100 Thai baht is little more than 3 US dollars, but I didn’t feel compelled to give this young white guy my money. Why should I when this person, just by luck of birth, has all the advantages in the world. Why should I, a young, poor, female, minority (in my country) student, give him, a young, seemingly healthy, white, man, my money?
I saw him ask other people for money. Two different older, white men, and two white girls who looked like they were traveling together. Then he grabbed his bag and walked off in the opposite direction of the ferry.
Was he scamming people?
This thought crossed my mind, but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t see him come back to the ticket window. Maybe he didn’t get enough in the end to buy a ticket. Who knows?
What pissed me off the most was his attitude in response to me. I guess maybe I would have responded in a similar way, but he seemed to know that I was making up an excuse because I just didn’t want to give him any of my money. He had a tone of knowing. And he said “whatever.” That word alone in this tone and context made me angry.
Maybe my tone was part of the problem. I can’t tell because I was just saying what I felt like saying on impulse, but maybe I had a slight condescending tone. I said I didn’t have change, but I didn’t check for any either. Maybe I just know very well what money I do have on my person, and also I just didn’t want to give him money.
In any case, that interaction lasted all of 20 seconds and he walked off without any money from me. I don’t know what happened to him, and I don’t think he remembers me for a second.
I left this post a bit half done because I accomplished what I meant to do already. I let off some steam and put down some thoughts.
I’m letting this go now. It’s done. I may have been wrong, maybe I was right. It doesn’t matter.
I’ve been reading a bit about Buddhism, and mindfulness, and meditation, and if I’ve learned anything it’s that these types of things are transient. So I’m letting it go!