Traveling While Black: Italy

Ahh Italy, gelato, pizza, pasta, shopping, history. I was too excited to go. Of course my excitement didn’t stop a particular “friend” of European decent from telling me that Italians didn’t like Blacks so I should be prepared to face racism. Well, uh, who wants that? However, I refused to believe him. Sure I’d heard of some Italian

Anywho, I came, I saw, I shopped, I ate and ate. I mean the food was really good. What I didn’t experience was racism. But here’s what I did notice. Loads of black people. From Africa to be precise. There was even a mini African neighborhood (I couldn’t tell you what countries but there was a salon, heeyy).  It was funny because yet again I met an African cleaning woman who asked me where I was from because she could not imagine black people traveling for fun. At first she thought I was English then from Latin America.
So I can’t figure out why so many Africans came to Italy. I can only assume s who were racist but that wasn’t all Italians. Read More

Traveling While Black: Jamaica and Bahamas

So I know what you’re thinking, this mini posting series is all about race and international travel, what could I possibly have to say about my experiences with race when going to countries predominately populated by other black people? A couple things actually. I don’t know if other groups feel this connection when traveling but when I go to other black countries there is a pull that I get. At first I thought it was just the people being kind hosts and treating us the way they would anyone else. I suppose some of it is. But I’ve had a few experiences where I tend to believe my friends and I get a little special attention when we travel to brown/black countries because we look like them.

It’s the same joke about when you see another black person walking down the street or the hall you give them a nod or “hi” and if you didn’t, you were rude. I first encountered this logic in college where it was over 90% white so the few blacks there felt like we must have a special connection. If we walked across campus it was an unspoken custom that you say “hi” and if you didn’t, you were talked about and it was passed around that “that person wasn’t friendly to other black people”.  (see this scene from “blackish” displaying this sentiment )https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/k0Zn4NCsP9Q&source=uds

Read More

Traveling While Black Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Brazil

So in the fourth installment of this race and travel mini series I discuss my experiences in warm Spanish speaking cities. I lump them together because my experiences were very similar.

Let’s begin with San Juan and Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. I’ve actually been here twice. Great food (and drink), nice weather, definitely a fun destination. But this is about race so I will narrow down my recap to my experiences there as a brown girl. Now Puerto Rican’s come in all shades so as a brown girl I didn’t stick out. However, like any countries that host the African diaspora, there are issues with color discrimination. My first time going there was during law school for a conference. I was feeling myself so I rented a car to get around. When I drove back to my hotel resort from the car rental place I asked the lady at the gate to direct me where to park. She pointed me to where the employees park. I had to explain to her that I was actually a guest and she looked at me with disbelief. n with San Juan and Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. I’ve actually been here twice. Great food (and drink), nice weather, definitely a fun destination. But this is about race so I will narrow down my recap to my experiences there as a brown girl. Now Puerto Rican’s come in all shades so as a brown girl I didn’t stick out. However, like any countries that host the African diaspora, there are issues with color discrimination. My first time going there was during law school for a conference. I was feeling myself so I rented a car to get around. When I drove back to my hotel resort from the car rental place I asked the lady at the gate to direct me where to park. She pointed me to where the employees park. I had to explain to her that I was actually a guest and she looked at me with disbelief.

Read More