Being the Minority in a Crowd

When was the last time you really stood out in a crowd? Are you comfortable in that position, or do you wish you could fade into the woodwork?

Secretly, I’ve always wanted to standout.  But there’s one instance where I hated standing out.  Here’s the story:  near my apartment in Florence, there was a mosque.  Now, I’ve been to mosques in Turkey, and they are beautiful!  This one wasn’t really like that; it was more of just a place of worship for the Muslim people of Florence.  Don’t have ANY problem with that.  BUT!  There were times when I would be walking by that part of the street as I was say, coming back from school or the grocery store, and there would be a HUGE crowd of men.  And to make matters worse (in terms of feeling uncomfortable), none of them were as white as me.  I felt like all of them were staring at me like, “What do you think you’re doing walking by this mosque!”  I know that probably wasn’t the case, but either way I felt REALLY uncomfortable.  I think it’s important to say that it wasn’t because they were a different religion or ethnicity that I was.  If it were a group of all white guys, I would feel equally awkward.  And if it were a huge group of guys of any religion or ethnicity, it wold be uncomfortable.  I think it’s more or less an instinct because if you look at it from an “animal” point of view, my “species” was outnumbered 50:1.  I feel like the uncomfortableness came from trying to protect myself, even though there was no danger whatsoever.  Either way, I learned what it meant to be a minority.