As I walked through the terminal, what I knew of the Czech language came rushing back to give me some confidence heading into my solo effort. Navigating the trams and the metro to get to my apartment was a breeze. At dinner, ordering that beef goulash with potato dumplings and red cabbage was certainly easier for me than the British couple across the restaurant.
So many things were aligned in a way that completely reassured me that I was in a good place to have a productive trip… At that very moment, I saw a man on the level above me pull back his arm and throw a beer at me. I dodged it, but a second one came immediately after the first. I sidestepped the second one, too, and I dashed into a tunnel where I found some police officers.
As I wiped off my beer-drenched arms, the officers said that they had no actual evidence against the man. They gave him a light warning and said that they would kick him out if he did it again. By the time my temper eased, I realized that all my anger and loneliness and embarrassment in that moment was not a reaction to the racism. It was a reaction to the fact that everyone else saw, and no one did a thing.
This story, written by Stuart Robertson ’15, originally appeared in the 2014-15 Dean Rusk Annual Report.