KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — I reckon the appeal of working and texting is universal, because even here, in a world-class city flush with prosperity, you’ll find Malaysians under 35 tethered to their iPhones. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been surprised had I gone to Malaysia with more research behind me.

As a Black man, I played the clueless traveler; I jumped aboard a Delta flight and let it whisk me to this Asian city with high expectations but no reason for them.    Had I done research, I might have known Blacks don’t have Malaysia on the top of their places-to-visit list. Unlike nearby Thailand or Vietnam, Malaysia has no deep connection — or affection, I now know — for folks who resemble me.

At first, I thought I might have misread Malaysians. I mean, you spend a short time anywhere and you can’t expect to come away with clarity about what makes its community tick. But, looking back, whatever Spiderman’s tingling I got in my limbs proved an accurate gauge.

In fact, a former student from my teaching days at Ohio University pointed that fact out to me while he and his girlfriend were chaperoning me around street events. The student asked had I felt the cold that greeted Blacks. I told him “yes,” even though I couldn’t point to one incident where I felt disrespected or fearful.

More than anything else, I felt as the narrator did in Ralph Ellison’s novel “Invisible Man”: People looked through me but not at me.

I found that discomforting, enough so that I was left to ponder whether I had perhaps stepped foot into a cultural abyss, an expectation I knew nothing of.

It might have been easy to see my invisibility as a fiction if what I can call the Malaysian chill hadn’t been so Antarctic-like. In a place that routinely runs 90 degrees or hotter, I couldn’t escape what amounted to a sociocultural deep freeze. I stuck out like a sumo wrestler trying to wiggle into a girdle. People around him can’t but ask themselves: Is it going to fit?

The answer, doubtless, is “no.”

In all my travels, Malaysia, in general, and Kuala Lumpur, in particular, have been peculiar. While Panama City, Buenos Aires and Havana had their warts, all seemed more at peace with color than Kuala Lumpur. I’m not trying to slap Malaysians around for not accommodating me, because as a stranger to their land, I should have done more to embrace their world. They ought not worry about whether this man with dark skin belonged; they didn’t worry either.

As I continue my post-professor sojourn, I’ll likely encounter other cities (and countries) as unwelcoming. When I do, I’ll do what I didn’t do here, which was rebook my airplane ticket and head back to America pronto.

For I see no purpose in stretching out a dreadful, 9,351-mile ordeal anywhere; it brings more headaches than joy. Malaysia has plenty to pride itself in, but as for being a melting pot, it fails in a close-minded way of its own making.

I wish Kuala Lumpur hadn’t been what it was. I enjoyed the history and the beauty of the city and outlying regions. I never felt afraid in Malaysia; I never felt welcome either. Yet it is hardly the only country outside the United States where I sensed my Blackness was welcomed. It’s not any one thing that makes you want to stand up and shout; it’s more small things, the sort of disrespect you get in parts of America when you are Black and everyone else isn’t.

Few places on the planet prove that like Malaysia did.