Reader Question: Black Women Abroad

I just discovered your blog thanks to a random google search. Your life is very inspirational for me. So is your writing talent.
I’m a 21 year old black woman who would love to travel to other countries. Perhaps I could even live abroad one day like you. Fear of not being accepted has a hold on me. I was raised in south Louisiana by a mother who had the 70’s mentality of the world hating blacks. I’m not sure how true it is, but I’ve always been terrified to travel to new places. I lived in Atlanta for 8 months, and even then I did all that I could to stay around people of color. I would hate to be on the receiving end of anyone prejudice.
 I would love to visit Asian countries as well as the other countries in the world. But I have heard horrible stories about blacks in Russia. Then I have heard about Chinese and Japanese hating blacks. I know that India has the caste system that discriminates against skin tones as dark as mine. It seems as if all of the odds are against me in my desire to travel, as I am single, female, and black.
In your experience, how difficult is it to be a black woman abroad?  Thank you for your time,
–Afraid to Travel
First, I want to thank you for your email and for reading my blog.  In regards to you wanting to travel to other countries and the fear of discrimination because you will be traveling while Black; basically it depends on where you go.   Every country has good and bad people, but some countries are more accepting than others.  However, it is never to the fact that you would get physically hurt.  I think that mostly happens in the states because of our history with discrimination.When you travel around the world.. people usually don’t see you as black ,they mostly see you as American, because there are Black People all over the world in every country.

Most European countries are a little more accepting of people with darker skin because they have many people of various backgrounds in their countries also.   Societies like China, Japan, Korea… they are a little less accepting only because there are so few people around that are different; so we stand out a little.   But they dont physically hurt you .. in any way...(in most cases.. I am sure there are a few exceptions to the rule, but nothing to worry about)  Being American has a lot of advantages when you travel, at least in China you are kind of protected.

If it is your dream to travel around the world.. I suggest you put your fears aside and do it.   Just plan ahead and do your research.  You don’t want to be stranded in any country; no matter your skin color.

Start small and go to Canada, England or Mexico… then work your way up to places farther away.. once you travel to the first place, the rest will be easier and easier. It will calm a lot of your fears.   People in other countries are not a cruel as you think.  I have met some of the best people in the world from other countries.

I hope this helps calm some of your fears..The only thing stopping you from following your dream to travel abroad is you…

9 thoughts on “Reader Question: Black Women Abroad

  1. Pingback: Travelling while female…and Black (Part 1) « Toward the within…

  2. Jo is right: your seeing as American/Foreign first and black second in most places. I have a lot of female friends that have worked or lived abroad, myself included. I loved living in Japan! While I won’t say every one has a great experience, the idea of thinking someone may not like you shouldn’t be a reason to not travel. The world is a big place with tons of countries to explore.

  3. AfraidToTravel,

    Like Jo said, “The only thing stopping you from following your dream to travel abroad is you…” You took the first step by searching online for knowledge, keep learning as much as you can. Sometimes a weekend trip is all you need to get your feet wet and show you that the world is not that scary.

    If you are still in college a great way to travel is by doing a semester abroad, there are varying lengths some for a little as 3 months and others for the whole year but investigate every opportunity you can can to explore the world.

    If you are on Twitter there is a weekly chat Women of Color Talk Travel #woctt (4pm EST Wed) that you can join and ask all the ladies about their travel experiences. Many of them have their own blogs (not all travel related) and some are expats so you will get access to a variety of information.

    Best of luck on your travels.
    Lady Littlefoot
    “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” ~ Anon

  4. QueenQ

    sorry but did she just said Blacks are disliked in Japan?… Honey you just dont know.. they worship blacks in Japan the dark the better (especially if you are a woman)….but it can be scary with cameras & stares or the touching and rubbing you all over 😦

  5. You also can’t let small minded people dictate what you will or will not do in life. I had to say I had slight reservations about moving to England and how diverse it would be but that would never stop me from what I want to do. I’ve not had any issues since living in England…well there was one time but out of 4 years you are bound to come across at least one asshole.

    I really agree with your travel advice at the end. Start closer to home to gain confidence as that is really all she lacks. Once you start going further away you will look back and wonder why you were ever worried.

  6. Susan C

    I am also African American female who live in Philly in the 80’s. I was a teenager when I had the chance to visit London and you would have thought I was going to the moon. Since I would be alone everyone tried to talk me out of it but I had some family there so I ignored everyone and off I went. It was the best decision I ever made. My cousins took me to seven countries in Europe and it was fantastic. So what if people don’t like you, who cares. Everyone was so kind and asked me all kind of questions. The only moment that made me pause was when we went on a Rhine cruise and a Chinese tourist took my picture without asking. The tour guide questioned him and he apologized saying he did not see many black people in his village and I was very pretty so he wanted to show his friend. Now if that was true or not it made no difference to me. I was having too much fun to care. So go where your heart leads you and show people the stuff you made of girl.

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