I sat in a cafe at the end of the work day. I had two laptops open as I was transitioning from my "day job" to all the other projects I am working on.
Two white middle-aged men walked into the cafe in high spirits. They passed by my table and said hello. I greeted them back. They talked about how having two laptops open made me look very "sophisticated". I smiled and explained that I was done with work for the day but needed my work laptop open incase of any last minute emails.
It was a very polite conversation. They moved on and went to sit at a table across from me.
As I turned to get back to what I was doing, one of them said "One last question - Did you buy or steal the laptops?" They started laughing and then said that it was "only a joke."
That ladies and gentlemen is what we call polite and covert racism -disguised as a joke. I did not laugh. I found myself trying to explain that I hadn't stolen the laptops but I stopped mid-sentence. They did not deserve my response and I was not sure what I could say in that moment that would change their perceptions of my entire race.