How to Make Racist Friends and Alienate People

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Q sits in my kitchen drinking a canned gin and tonic from a dirty wine glass.

“I can’t make any friends in Russia,” he says.

I wait.

“Q.”

He turns.

“We’re friends.”

He shrugs.

“Kind of.”

“Kind of how?”

“We are just two people who don’t really listen to each other talk. That’s much better than friends.”

I frown. “How is that better than friends?”

“Less judgmental.” He takes a drink. “And I’ll be less sad if you die.”

“Right…”

“Right.”

I light up a cigarette and we drink. N comes in a bit later.

“What are you guys doing?” he asks.

I shrug, “not listening to each other, apparently.”

He looks to Q, Q nods. He takes a seat. “Well, today a pirate tried to take over my bus.”

“What?” Q asks.

“A pirate,” N repeats.

“Oh.”

N sighs and looks at me. I shrug. “He can’t make friends with Russians.”

He turns to Q. “Why can’t you make friends with Russians?”

Q mutters something that sounds like hamster.

“What?”

“I said, Black Panther.”

Both N and I give him a confused look.

He finishes his rosy gin and tonic. “They all keep trying to talk to me about black panther.”

“So?”

“So, they keep saying it is a racist movie. And one person,” he leans onto the table and puts his head to one hand, “one guy even told me he thought the movie wasn’t playing for the first five-minutes because everyone was black and it was dark.”

N looks a bit shameful. I continue to smoke.

“That’s not so bad, Russians just aren’t used to seeing black people, that doesn’t make them racist,” N says, a bit defensive.

Q holds a finger up at him and says, “when I tell them they are racist they always say the same thing.”

“What?” I ask.

Q looks to me, “they say they have a black friend.”

I laugh. N raises an eyebrow, “that’s not so racist.”

“No—they say their friend is Russian-black, tan people from the south. And that it is the same because Russians oppressed them, too.”

N nods, resigned. “Okay, that is racist. But, at least you’ve got us.”

Q looks long at him, then to me.

He sighs.

 

 

The Paris Test

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We find a Vietnamese place between where I live and Q works. It’s fair since neither of us likes walking too far from where we need to be.

“Why are we getting Vietnamese?” he asks.

I shrug. “I wanted soup.”

“We’re in Russia. They practically invented soup.”

“Yeah,” I agree, “but,” I point to the bowl, “this is the only soup they won’t put mayonnaise or sour cream in.”

Q nods. “I am so tired.”

“Why?”

He sighs, “I went on a walk last night with some racist girl.”

“How do you know she was racist?” I ask.

He shrugs, “The Paris test.”

I choke on a bit of soup. “What the hell is the Paris test?”

“I ask them if they like Paris.”

“So?”

“So, if they say no, they are racist.”

I sit back and try to find some secret meaning in what he said. I don’t. Instead, I say, “what?”

“Well, you know how racist Russians are. If they don’t like Paris, it’s because of the immigrants.”

I cross my arms, “that’s–”

“And,” he cuts me off, “what do they say after that?”

I sigh, “that they are dirty and cause a lot of crime,” I mutter.

“That they are dirty and cause a lot of crime,” Q repeats, pointing at me. He raises an eyebrow.

I sigh. “Okay, yeah.”

“To be fair, it’s mildly racist for Russia,” he admits, “like the other day, I was playing never-have-I-ever with some Russians and one girl–out of nowhere just goes ‘Never have I ever run down the street with niggers.'”

“Uh–what does that even mean?”

Q throws up his arms. “Who knows.”

“So, walking girl was just mildly racist.”

He nods, “for Russia.”

“Right.”

“In England, she’s an outright bitch.”

We finish our soups in relative silence. When the table is cleared Q wipes his hands on a napkin. “She did say the n-word, though,” he admits.

“So, she’s full racist then.”

“Yeah, full racist.”

“So are you going to see her again?”

He sits and thinks a moment, “it was a really long walk. I don’t think I want to do that again.”