Young and black in Babylondon: part deux

“I’m sorry, did you say you worked for the…?”

An arched eyebrow, a quizzical look, a quick reappraisal of the dreadlocks, the accent (could she be American? perhaps Welsh?), the attitude, the general foreign-ness.

“Oh! Well!”

And so on, and such like.

It’s not that I’m the only black person in the building, at these conferences I attend, or the events I often cover. It’s just that I’m often the only one not waiting tables, or collecting coats, or generally clearing up the detritus of the Establishment.

Surprise surprise, for I am unaccountably articulate, and bright and clean, and I work in the very heart of a City where “diversity” does not quite look like me.

“So are you going home to Jamaica for the holiday?”

“I’ve never been to Jamaica, but I am looking forward to going back to Trinidad.”

Smile brightly, look them right in the eye.

“So, what do you speak in the Caribbean? African?”

But sometimes you have to blink.