Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just a Little Racist, Still Good, Still Good...

So as it turns out, our trip wasn't 100% unicorns, glitter, guapos and caramel vodka. The Spanish are kinda racist. I wasn't shocked nor overly upset about this reality. I know the world I live in, I know Europe, and I know what I look like. It's a harsh reality that us blacks and browns accept as a part of life. As Chele from Black 'n Bougie would say, "le sigh". But here's the thing, it didn't ruin my time, nor dampen my desire to move to España. Mostly because their racism was quite obviously based on ignorance and curiosity, rather than some of the uglier shit we see play out on the Fox News Channel or at Tea Party rallies on a regular fucking* basis here in the lovely U.S. of A!  It's not as if the Spaniards have a whole fucking "news" channel devoted to bigotry, ignorance, and pure shit spewing disguised as conservative political fodder, every fucking day of the year. They just don't know much about black folks in general and therefore make stupid ass assumptions based on whatever black media makes its way to their Spanish televisions, which based on my experience, I'm going to assume is rife with images of athletes and entertainers being the only type of black folks who go to the south of Spain and have four bedroom homes. Not that I'm excusing the Spanish for their hot-ass-mess-ness. Like really, our DWB was really un-fucking-necessary, as was the  personal inquisition at passport control in Sevilla's airport upon our return from Marrakech.  What I wanted to tell them was, "Do you see my AMERICAN passport? Don't you know that my president is BLACK?! It's NONE of your beeswax where I'm staying! And yes, my cousin has room for ALL FUCKIN FOUR OF US!" It was ridiculous, it was frustrating and still wasn't like some of the shit I've seen and heard in my own country or even my college campus! When they would stare, which really only happened in El Puerto de Santa Maria, it wasn't the type of stare that made you feel like, "Oh fuck, I need to take my black ass out of here". We were often met with quizzical stares, like, "this is new". Of course, walking in with my cousin, who is some what of a local celebrity, probably added to the staring. And not all the staring was bad, as indicated in the picture slide show in this post, ya dig?

But in spite of all of that, I still am going to live there (or Italy, I could do either), because at the end of the day, my black ass could still be very VERY happy living in España, occasionally dealing with racist motivated inquisitions as to my destination and/or whereabouts and rather ridiculous almost comical staring at my presence. Cuz Spain was hot shit like that, y'all. That's just what it is. And if mi primo, who is a tall, muscly, dark skinned, black American male can live there for five years and tell me that that's pretty much the worst of it, then I'll deal with it.

this song is so appropriate for that moment, and it wasn't planned, ha!

Oh, and some quick announcements: obviously, I didn't get around to a Soap Box Wednesday post today. Which means, I really need to get my shit together for next week, right?

I realize that I've given you a very one sided perspective of my trip, you know food, booze, partying, guapos, but no pictures of the scenery, which was freakin beautiful. Check out Hillary's blog for pictures of Barcelona, the story of Madrid,  and coming posts on Marrakech. FYI, I co-sign with Hill on La Sagrada Familia. It is the most amazing piece of architecture I've ever seen in my life, including the 5 weeks I studied abroad in Italy. It was breathtaking!

And one more thing. I'm gonna be featured as a guest blogger, on a very fabulous blog soon! Watch out blog world, I'm coming blog near you, with far more readers than mine, awww shit!

*I said fuck a lot in this post. Kinda hard not to curse when talking about racism, European or otherwise...


  1. Nice summary. I feel like it's the same everywhere outside the US. There are stares..but more like "ohh, this is new" rather than, "get that ni@@a outta here". In Korea all the kids want to say hi, and pointing is not rude here so it happens A LOT. But it's mostly interest in the unknown, with a little bit of straight up stankness (which not surprisingly comes from the Europeans I run into...tsk tsk Netherlands man on the bus).

    btw--fuck goes with racism talk like bacon goes with eggs, they are meant to be!

  2. You remind me of my trip to Romania for study abroad. None of my classmates wanted to point out to me that people were staring. (Like I wouldn't notice.) One time, we entered a diner and everyone literally stopped. Forks dropped. Jaws dropped. People stopped and stared. It was literally like a scene in a movie.

    We really need to do a better job of balancing the images people see on tv. Some people NEVER see black people. Our tv images make us look like heathens!

  3. The worst part of my study abroad experience in Spain was the "racism". You describe it well - it's different from that in the US.

    My perspective is that historically, Europeans were "the colonizer" and people of African (and Native American and Indian) descent are "the colonized".

    Spain is a beautiful and fun country, but I don't like being stared at on vacation. I'd travel to Europe again, but I'd prefer to be in a (black) group. I'd feel safer and more secure.

    My best non-US travel experiences have been in Canada (they have seen black people before and don't seem alarmed) and in the Caribbean (they treated us like family). I would like to travel to Africa someday. I want to be around more people who look like me.

  4. people stared in Italy. it was a little ridiculous and put a tiny cloud over the trip but it wasnt terrible. and congrats on your feature! watch out world

  5. @Dfig,lol the pointing would annoy the shit out of me. And for real Netherlands dude? That's why his country lost the world cup, what does he think about that?!

    @Toya, yeah I remember you and Tiff telling me about Romania. The stares weren't that bad though, Eastern Europe is a whole 'nother level, but I still want to go to Prague.

    @Keeley, yeah that is definitely the Eurpean "colonist" mindset. Spain is probably the worst of western Europe with the racism, followed closesly by France. Your first trip to Africa should be somewhere in western africa (not lagos, nigeria though...seriously). It's an indescribable feeling step of a plane into a sea of blackness. I've got to do the carribean soon, I'm thinking february when winter starts to get ridiculous.

    @LIG, yeah, the i remember them staring in Italy, but was funnier was that they would also stare down my all white classmates (yeah, i was the ONLY black person on my trip) and they got so upset about it. I just brushed it off and had a GRAND time with those Italian men. They're a "friendly" bunch, lol...yeah I gotta get back there soon!

  6. This is very ironic, because I was just having a conversation about the great time that you had in Spain. I had always heard that there was still some racial tension in Spain, but now I know someone that's experienced it it first hand. For some reason, staring seems to happen where ever Black people go in the world, but that is definitely better than some of the experiences that I've had in my own backyard here in good 'ol Wisconsin. I can stand a few inquisitive stares, and, if that's mostly what you had to deal with, I'll surely consider making the trip to Spain. I was treated with alot of disrespect when I visited Nassau, Bahamas. I think they had a problem with me being with a group of White people, so I've experienced discrimination from people that look just like me.

  7. I have split my time between Spain and the states for the past 8 years and I can honestly say that I haven't experienced much racism. To bad I can't sat the same for some of my husbands "companeros" who are constantly being pulled over for DWB. They have also been referred to as "Los Americanitos". When u add "ito"to a word it means small. So yeah, definitely not cool being referred to like that. I can say that if you have to live out of the country Spain is a decent place once you master the language. However, I could never imagine living there indefinitely. I truly enjoy the comforts of home and Spain can be challenging at times for a BAP like me. :). Good luck to you!

  8. @Jazz, you've been talkin about my trip :D awesome! And yeah, racism definetely comes from every color of the rainbow, tragic! But I had such a good time, that the memories make me wanna cry when i look at my current reality. we must chat soon!

    @Anon--please tell explain your living situation, as I am serious about getting the heck out the states. i def want to do Spain for at least two years, and perhaps Italy indefinitely. I'm trying to see more of the world, but i need to change my home country, ASAP!

  9. Ugh, how unfortunate. At least you were able to look past their ignorance and have a good time!

  10. Well, like I said...I think the Spanish are just plain rude!! I think they discriminate against anyone that isn't Spanish or European, because they seem to have issues with Dominicans and Ecuadorians too :o/ Sorry you had the blip in your trip radar, but I'm glad you didn't let it get you down. BTW - when are you going to talk about Morocco and post pictures?! That's what I REALLY want to see :)

  11. Nadette, My husband works in Spain so we are there 8-9 months out of each year. For us, it gets old after the third month. We have lived in about 6 different cities there and they are all very different. People that live in the south of Spain are def more outgoing. Folks in Madrid are uptight and more traditional. I would say stay the hell away from the North of Spain. Barcelona is my fav because the people there are less conservative and open to things that aren't Spanish. As a matter of fact, they don't consider themselves Spanish. They are Catalunyan..but that's a whole 'nother Oprah.

  12. @Maddy - You're right about the Spaniards hating on Dominicans! When I was in Spain some Spaniards decided that I was Dominican (I'm not) and would ask me over and over again if I was from DR. I guess black people who speak Spanish have to be Dominican? Isn't traveling great?

  13. My first time reading your blog but i LOVE it! Love how in your face you are...funny...informative...and intelligent. Will have to check out some others!




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