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A woman was stunned when her neighbour asked her a racist question.
Eileen Chong, from Sydney, Australia, was leaving some Scottish tablet (a sweet treat made from sugar, condensed milk and butter) out for one of her neighbours in her apartment block, which she has lived in for eight years, when an 'old, white man' came up to her.
The poet, who was born in Singapore and is of Chinese descent, shared the hurtful encounter on social media, hitting out at the man for assuming she was a cleaner in what she says was a blatant example of racial stereotyping.
She wrote: "Racism means entering the building you’ve lived in for eight years and being asked by an old white neighbour how much you charge for cleaning.
"I have been brought up with such impeccable manners that I merely blinked and said, 'Oh, I’m not a cleaner, sorry', when really I should have said, 'That depends. How much do YOU charge?'
"It’s so tiring. I’m so tired.
Racism means entering the building you’ve lived in for 8 years & being asked by an old white neighbour how much you charge for cleaning.— Eileen Chong 张奕霖 (@eileenchongpoet) January 11, 2022
"Some white people will really look at an Asian body & think ‘interchangeable person here to serve me’. No shade on cleaners. I’ve worked as a cleaner before, it’s real work. But it’s just a lot."
She added: "If you’re outraged that this casual racism happens, you should be outraged we have refugees in detention. You should be outraged Palestinians have to fight to stay in their own homes. You should be outraged at the systemic injustices Aboriginal people face on their own lands still.
"Anything less is hypocrisy."
Since Eileen posted her story, it has been liked more than 3,000 times.
One shocked user commented: "That’s awful. Except the bit where you did something lovely for your neighbour. That bit was lovely."
Echoing the compassion, another commented: "Love that you have the capacity to ignore racism and still be kind to an old Scot.
"As a long-term Advocate for refugees, Palestinean apartheid and Aboriginal deaths in custody, we have to keep those issues in the spotlight."
A third said: "I used to give older people a bit of a pass on racism, a generational thing, I used to think. But now me, my siblings, cousins and friends ARE the older generation, and I know old people should know better."
Others shared their own stories of discrimination.
"Often used to be taken as my daughter's nanny. She was blonde with bright blue eyes as a child. I'm half Thai," recalled one.
While another added: "I was at our community trash dumpster and a hispanic resident came with her trash.
"Another (white) person congratulated her on getting a cleaning job."
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