I was going to write about this one earlier but too many things got in the way and now there's a new angle on it.

A few days ago, I was on the bus and a white man got on who looked like hadn't cleaned himself or his clothes for quite some time. He smelled bad - fusty, of stale old wet cigarettes and vomit. I moved away pretty quickly and stood by the back door of the bus, in case I heaved.

As the journey continued, the smell began to permeate the entire bus and drifted towards the front where the driver sat. He promptly ordered that all windows should be opened and the air became less noxious... though I still chose to breathe through my collar. An asian woman in front of me became, by tacit glances and nods of the other passengers, the perpetrator of the hideous smell. I was furiously signally that it was the guy at the back. I knew. I'd sat by him. But the rest of the bus, the non-asian passengers, had decided it was this woman. The driver was also Asian, though not Bengali, and also maintained that it was that woman and she was carrying fish.

To me, it seemed like people expected the smell to some from a particular kind of person, so they blamed that person... but still, I thought, maybe it was true. Maybe it was bad fish and it was that woman. Everyone seemed so convinced.

Then last night the smelly man got on the bus and I breathed cautiously as he went by. Yes, he smelled again, but not as strongly this time. It didn't carry up the bus the way it had the other day. So maybe it was true. Maybe it was the woman and maybe it was bad fish. Maybe I was so outraged at the predictable levels of anti-asian feeling that I couldn't tell who the real culprit was.

Doesn't matter... it was bloody awful either way... It's just kind of interesting about expectation and how I understand a situation becuase of what I'm expecting... If I expect racism, I find it. I just don't know what the 'truth' of the situation was.

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