A Sea of White

September, 2000

One very weird thing about this place is that there are virtually no dark-skinned people whatsoever. Having grown up in Nashville, moved to Washington, DC, and spent several years in Latin America and Africa, this seems really strange to me. I can’t help thinking that I am walking through some sort of World War Two movie from time to time.

It has given me some understanding–if not sympathy–for the outrageous racism displayed by many Europeans. I am sure that many of them simply have no experience with anyone who isn’t white. Now to display my own prejudice: I still can’t get used to everyone from the babysitter to the maintenance men being white either!

It have also become more conscious of the fact that I am a typical American mutt. My husband, who’s family is nearly all German and Polish, fits right in here. People are always coming up to him and speaking Czech, assuming that he is Czech himself. (The permanently serious expression probably has something to do with this ancestry as well!) My father-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, I am suddenly aware, also look very Slavic.

Meanwhile, I am dwarfed by tall, pale, big-shouldered, busty women in the train stations, and will certainly never be mistaken for a Czech! It will probably be hard to find clothes and shoes that fit anyone under 5’8,” here. My ancestry clearly lies in some peat bog in Northen Ireland or Scotland.

Guest performance by an African band at my kids' school in Prague.
Guest performance by an African band at my kids’ school in Prague.

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