Don’t Feel Pressured To Represent Every Black Person
In many countries, you’ll be the first black person that people have seen in real life. That’s a lot of pressure.
You’ll probably feel like an ambassador. After all, if this is the only time someone will ever come in contact with a black person, isn’t it your responsibility to be perfect in order to show them that black people are amazing? And if they’re being racist, isn’t it your responsibility to educate them?
No, it’s not. That’s exhausting.
Here’s the thing. You’re on vacation. Performing “perfect blackness” is exhausting, and it’s not your responsibility. Be yourself and your black excellence will naturally shine through.
Find Communities Of Black Women
Traveling as a black woman is lonely, especially if you’re traveling alone. In foreign countries, people usually won’t look like you. Or if they do, like the black population of Germany, then you might not speak the same language.
Join online travel communities of black women in order to make friends abroad. There are more black women out there traveling than you think! Wouldn’t it be great to team up every once in a while?
Educate Yourself On Customs Beforehand
Sometimes people won’t be staring at you because you’re black. They’ll be staring at you because you’re completely breaking the country’s customs without realizing it!
Before traveling, google the etiquette, dress code and even slang of the country where you’re going. Things that seem crazy to you may be the law of the land abroad.
For example, did you know that if you salt the food in Egypt, the cook will be mortified? If you arrive on time to an event in Venezuela, they’ll assume you’re greedy. In Norway, you will have to eat everything, even sandwiches, with a knife and fork.
Don’t Let Racism Stop You
Some days, you’ll be exhausted. You’ll feel discriminated against, and lonely, and maybe even homesick for your home country, where at least the racism is familiar and you speak the language.
Don’t let it stop you.
The world is yours. You have a right to explore, to learn, to discover, to make friends, to break hearts, to get lost, to lose yourself, to find yourself, to make memories. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t welcome. This world is just as much yours as it is theirs.
How To Deal With Racism As A Black Woman Traveling Abroad
Racism can be frustrating, but don’t let it define your experiences abroad. No matter what happens, live and learn and relax. The world is enormous and it’s yours to explore. And the more black women you travel with, the better.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll love living abroad so much that you’ll want to do it permanently!