I had first hand experience of how Antisemitism feels like. Thanks to my height !

I’m tall….However I’ve never measured myself or have any interest in doing so in future but people I meet say I’m 6.6 or 6.7. Most of the time people don’t see me but they see my height first before they can see me. This was so true today when I met this elderly couple while queuing to pay for my lunch at the supermarket. They were behind me and exclaimed “gees, you are tall”. Then they went on and on with the usual narrative that I have to deal with everyday from complete strangers like:

Do you know you are this tall?

What’s your height, It must be cold up there !

Tell me is it from your mom side or your dad side?

Who’s the tallest in your family?

Do you play basket ball? ( as if all tall people need to play basket ball, worse I don’t like basket ball)

And to tell you the truth I don’t know how one can answer these questions because they are weird and uncomfortable. Well the man then said something I certainly didn’t anticipate.. He said ” if you were Jew in an extermination camp, you were certainly gonna be one of the first people to be executed” . And I thought to myself isn’t that rude !! I mean I know I’m black and tall but Isn’t that some kind of antisemitism !!.

Other experiences…

At one point I had an interview at a restaurant and in the middle of the interview I excused myself and went to the bathroom, when I returned back the interviewer said God you are tall. Why didn’t you tell me that you were this tall ? and I replied you didn’t tell me the prerequisite of the Job entails that I need to be short, he laughed (I didn’t), he never hired me.

All this is nothing compared to when I got a scholarship to study in Indonesia. Nothing prepared me for what was coming my way.

I didn’t choose to go to Bali which is a tourist Island because I knew that I really won’t experience the real Indonesian lifestyle and culture. I knew that if I wanted to achieve such I needed to be with the real Indonesian people on the ground so that I can learn as much as I can about the culture and the Bahasa language since English is not an official language of Indonesia.  I chose a college in Sumatera. The first six months was hell. The food was different. There weather was different, There were earthquakes ( something which we only saw on TV in my part of the world) and one more thing I was the only black and the tallest person than all the people in that Island. The people have never seen a black person and especially a tall one like me. So you can Imagine how that must have been like….. I digress

This experience with the couple brought me close to experience how hard it was for Jews, Gays and Lesbians, Gypsies, Disabled people in Nazi Germany. Worse how hard they still have to deal with the discrimination to this day !!!.

“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite… Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never explained.”…. Nelson Mandela

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12 thoughts on “I had first hand experience of how Antisemitism feels like. Thanks to my height !

  1. I’m so sorry you had to experience such hatred. I have been the subject of anti-antisemitism, (I am Jewish) and its not something you are ever prepared for.My fathers family escaped the Nazi’s and came to America for a better life. Sad to say, racism and anti antisemitism is still alive and well all over the globe. Its just so absurd that people feel they have the right or need to comment on your height. Stand tall!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bobby, I really enjoy your blog and your style of writing. I appreciate your perspectives very much as such would like to nominate you for a Very Inspiring Blogging Award. My intent in accepting and nominating others is to work to increase blog traffic – everyone’s. I would be delighted if you chose to accept, but if you prefer not to I do understand. You can read my nomination post and the rules on my blog if you are interested.

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  3. I’m actually delighted and grateful to know that there is someone who cares to go through my read and my unimportant life experiences. Thank you so much for the nomination ibdunn.

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  4. I loved reading this very candid view from your insight and it surprised me to think that a tall person would/could be intimidated by comments on their height. I am short and have always admired tall people and thought they were the lucky ones. 🙂 It was interesting “following you around” to the grocery store and the dialogue that occurred there and then on to your studies in Indonesia and how you chose to move out of the tourist area to be closer to the true, everyday people, and yet, you still felt their stares and your difference. I also enjoyed the last thing you left on this blog, the quote from Nelson Mandela. What a wise man he was. Nice to read these things, Bobbie. Nice to see you again. Happy blogging.

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      1. Hal itu kembali pada selera masing-masing bob. Tidak semua mengatakan begitu. Di Papua, bagian paling timur indonesia, kami terbiasa melihat orang berkulit hitam. Lagipula klo ada yg berkomentar tentang tinggi badanmu, maybe they just envy. Sama seperti mereka melihat bule yg ada di indonesia. Hal yg tdk lazim, karena mereka pendek, hehehe. Soal jelek atau tidak, relatif. Tp bagaimana sebagian besar orang-orang indonesia menilai jelek atau tampan, sy yakin kamu sudah paham. Itu tidak berarti sy termasuk di dalamnya.hehe.anyway, happy bornday bob, wish u all the best. Hope everything going to be great in your life.

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  5. Butuh waktu untuk memahami bahwa masyarakat Indonesia yang penasaran saya. By the way memberitahu saya, adalah Papua koloni Indonesia, Apakah orang-orang di sana senang bahwa mereka berada di bawah kekuasaan Indonesia?

    Dan hey Dessy Terima kasih banyak untuk keinginan ulang tahun dan untuk mengambil waktu Anda untuk membaca blog saya.

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  6. I am fairly close to your height and have heard all the same comments. In contrast, some of the men I work with are nearly a half meter shorter than I am. When they comment on height, I merely point out to them that they can work with easy in cramped spaces where I could never go. In some places height is an advantage and in others a hindrance.

    It is amazing how we as humans begin so easily to lump others into groups. Friends, enemies, short, tall, fat, thin, educated, ignorant, agile, clumsy… the list can go on almost forever. The better we become at separating one group from another, the smaller our own group becomes. This in turn makes it easier to either turn our heads or join in when something is done to someone from another group, because we no longer attempt to identify with them. This is not because of the group we belong to, it is human nature.

    Would it not be nice to live in a world of “just” humans? While I understand there are those in the world who are distinctly evil, improving our sense of compassion for others could not help but be beneficial.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I would have never, ever thought of comparing being tall to the plight of “Jews, Gays and Lesbians, Gypsies, [or] Disabled people in Nazi Germany.” It’s very interesting that you feel so ostraciszed. In America, I think being a tall man, to an extent, is a plus. From a relationship perspective, a lot of women like tall men – makes us short people feel protected. (I’m 5’3.) The comment from the person in the supermarket was beyond rude. Definitely insensitive.

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