I've just read this post at interculturaltalk.org and it reminded me of something that has bothered me for the longest time.

For as long as I can remember, I've always felt some kind of guilt pang to see someone in the street and that the first thing I notice is their skin color, the shape of their eyes, or anything that would hint at their cultural background. I guess that calls for a discomfort zone rather than a comfort zone. The thing is, every time I've felt guilty, I've wanted to slap myself for feeling guilty, because I think that the feeling guilty is the worst part of it.

Noticing a difference is not the problem. The problem is all the heavy stuff that's tied to that difference and not being able to look at that difference without all the heavy stuff sinking in. I wish I was raised in a world where I never had to hear about Apartheid, Slavery, Immigration, Religious Oppression, Unemployment, Holocaust et al..

I remember the 6-year old daughter of my English teacher being brought up in an environment with 200 people from 80 different countries, telling her mother that this guy dropped by to talk and trying to describe him. She described his clothes, his height, his voice, and never thought one second to say he was black. I guess the comfort zone depends on where and how you're brought up.