Monday, January 11, 2010

Black people in Spain


Being black in Spain is different from being black in the UK, France or The Netherlands. In an interesting article five black people from Spain share their experience about living in Spain (short translation). You can read the full article (in French) on the blog Noirs d'Amérique Latine

Among the interviewed is television reporter Lucía Asué Mbomio. In the video for the website Live unchained she talks about her her documentary and about being black in Spain.

Short translation
Marcia Santacruz is chocolate coloured. Black like her father and her mother. Black as her grandparents. But apparently, in Spain, clothing, education and money determine the level of melanin. They nuance skin tone. The Afro-Colombian, who came to Madrid to complete a Masters in Public Administration, said: "In the Spanish mind Black is synonymous to domestic work, poverty and lawlessness. In their subconsciousness, they can’t believe that there can be a Black latina who speaks about Sartre.

Spain is not an openly racist country. There is no xenophobic party with parliamentary representation. The country does not represent a clear rejection of Black people, except for marginal extreme right groups. But there is subtle everyday racism, manifested in the way home. It is installed in the eye. You find it in the classic statement: "I am not racist, but ..." Or it’s the shop salesman who rushes to serve a black person, just so that person can leave the shop quickly. It’s racism in a country where blacks have gone from singular exotic elements, to being put all in the same bag, which is perceived with some concern: immigrants.




Here, there is neither Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey. There are not many symbols of success. The Black presence is recent, an explosion which occurred in the late nineties.

Spain has about 683,000 African descent. 1.5% of the population, just over 10% of foreigners according to the High Council of Black Communities (Alto Consejo de las Comunidades Negras). This exponential growth is most striking: in 1998 they were no more than 77,000. And just last year, about 7,500 descendants of Africans were born in the Spanish territory.

According to the association that advocates the visibility of the black community, these figures are approximate. First, they counted the foreigners residing in Spain from countries with Black people, and mixed the result with the percentage of African descendants from these countries. These figures have a margin of error. Unfortunately we have no ethnic census, the racial difference does not appear on the national identity card. But the quantification of a minority can be seen through another lens, especially if the initiative comes from the minority itself.

There are data that say: "We are a growing community. We are here. Take us into consideration."

For there was a time when the Spaniards (white) rubbed their eyes in seeing them. Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo, writer and minister of the self-declared government of Equatorial Guinea in exile, based in Madrid, arrived in Spain when his country was still a Spanish colony. A province on the African continent, one hundred percent black. In a recent article entitled Una nueva realidad: los afroespañoles (A new reality: afro-Spanish), the Equatorial Guinean wrote several anecdotes of his early years in the white territory.

For example: "Older women who, at Christmas 1965, ran, terrified and scared to see me in a city within the Levantine region, laying hands on her head and cried a black, black, My God, a negro! "[...] My classmates had scratched his head and hands with their fingers and were surprised they were not stained black.

Guineans in the former colony were the first to arrive so widespread. Today, they are a little over 23,000. This is the third African country with the most big contingent of Blacks in Spain, after Senegal (47,000) and Nigeria (35,000). But migration has been very different. They came to study in the metropolis. To be formed. Today, they perhaps represent the most integrated Black community of African descent with a second and third generation.

Lucía Asue Mbomio reporter for Españoles por el mundo (TVE1) is one of them. She speaks with an accent of the district when she wants. She says it is her vulgar side. Born to a white mother and a father Equatorial Guinea, she grew up in Alcorcón, a municipality south of Madrid. She's 28, and her room in a shared appartment, is filled with pride of her race. From "I Have a Dream" Martin Luther King, to the "Yes we can," Obama.

You can read the full article (in French) on the blog Noirs d'Amérique Latine

Expat
Also see Black travel expert Nelson George of BlackAtlas talking to Black British Judi Oshowole, who has lived in Barcelona for 18 years. See more information about her and the community BIBS (Barcelona International Black Sisters) here.

Links
- High Council of Black Communities (Alto Consejo de las Comunidades Negras)
- High Council of Black Communities on Myspace 

- Black Stories From Spain

Postings
- Black travel experiences in Europe
- Report black Belgian in Spain
- Africa Vive - Biggest African cultural event in Spain


New stories
I think I Hate Spain – Relocation Chart not necessary 
Living in Spain Changed Me Forever
 

234 Comments:

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Sibo Kano said...

And yet another European organization that embraces the fate of the afro descendant westerners! One day we will bring all these initiatives together at an ‘AfroEuropeanCongress’ or something of the sort … ? Thanks again Erik for bringing all this info together.

Afro-Europe said...

Thanks Sibo. An ‘AfroEuropeanCongress’? Great Idea! But I will have to start working on my French again.

Phillipa Drake said...

This odd behaviour hit me full force during my first visit to Spain approximately five years ago. It was subtle but it was just loud enough to make the small hairs on the back of my neck stand up, you know what I mean? One of the things I couldn't help but notice was in almost every single church I visited, near the altar was a figure of the archangel Michael. Nothing unusual there, right? But here's the kicker: instead of having the traditional serpent beneath his foot, it's a "Moor." For those of you not hip to that term, it's an African. Spain simply cannot seem to shake the fact that it was under African/Muslim rule for over 700 years. They can't let it go. Until they can, that resentment will continue to fester. I am currently writing a screenplay on El Cid, hence my interest in the subject. If any film needs to be remade, it's that one.

Afro-Europe said...

Phillipa, thanks for sharing your experience. It seems a lot of black people have similar experiences in Spain.

Good luck with your screenplay!

Anonymous said...

I am so shock by black people when in other places ( other than Africa) you are this sucess story only being held back by the people there.But when in Africa you cannot get a good thing going. You wish to be part of eveyone history German, french, spanish, even part of some asian group, BUT just try to hold yourself to those same ideals in Africa you cannot seen to make it happen or work I think blacks are very envious of other groups of people, the black men perfer Light to white skin women who have long hair so I guess trying to get light skin offsping. I get the feeling that you do not like yourself very much that is why you cry so much about everything in the world. Start within yourselves then maybe you will get it right to take care of Africa where your mind need to be. and off of White girls with long hair.

Anonymous said...

@ last anonymous....To start off,I would like for you to proof read what you decided to post. From reading your post it seems that you are ignorant to history and the government in Africa. You are oblivious to the fact that Caucasian's tan to get a darker colored skin. They also partake in mixing races as well. By now no one is any more envious that the next race. All races have mixed because at the end of the day we are all beautiful people. I think you are jealous because you , yourself must have lost "white girls" to a black man???? Get over it. Learn to love yourself and look at the bigger picture. Open your eyes and your mind.

Holistic Locs said...

As an African-Spanish girl, I find this blog post very refreshing! Many thanks for posting on this ;o)

Afro-Europe said...

Holistic Locs, thanks!

Afro-USA said...

I am an African American & I just came across this thread & I think it's fascinating. I find it strange that many people who buy into the Western "Pigmentrocity" view of the world refuse to believe that the world didn't always revolve around concepts of race? I say concept because if your observant you realize "mixing" of people is nothing new around the world. (How else to explain the look of the people in the middle east? Many of whom look like Barack?) After all if you know your history the people of Spain look like they look because of African Moors. If everyone was trading gold as well as other natural resources in Europe & around the world in Ancient Roman times (or even before) where the hell did they get them from? Africa of course! In terms of natural resources Africa is still the wealthiest continent & some how I don't think it was a "white" man who showed a bunch of Africans how to smelt gold? Africa has the greatest number of mineral deposits in the world (even today). The stupidity of Racisim taken out of the equation- How conveniant was it to practice chattle slavery for 400 years in a land so wealthy in natural resources? (Especially compared to Europe who used these things as footing to become a world power along with the rise of America). History in general would make a lot more sense if it was taught in a more complete way instead of fragments. It's the same way the US is at war in the middle east because of oil & of course the government won't admit this openly on CNN.

Anonymous said...

@Afra-USA

The Romans has huge gold mines in Spain and Wales.

There would be more 'noise' about the large amount of European and African slaves that Arabs hold when history was taught in a more complete way.

@Phillipa Drake,

Many Muslims cannot seem to shake the fact that a large part of Spain was under African/Muslim rule for over 700 years either.

RR

Tony Gaston said...

I am Tony and I am teaching in Thailand. I am an African American male from the United Stated of America.

Everyday I am recieved as a lesser status. But what is ironic, when they talk to natives about me and the positive Thai people that know me tell inquiriers that I am: 23, from the U.S.A., an English speaker, teaching English, and making money that requires using my mind instead of muscle, I can see in people's eyes aweness.

It hurts very much to be in the place where I am "1" and no one identifies with my natural origins. But my greatest joy is being an inspiration to the children who share my same skin complexion and develop encouragement that they can be successful more than what Thai society subjects to them.

Thus, to Lucia Asue

there is one person in Asia correcting the misconceptions of Black people. As hard as each day maybe for me, my joy comes from seeing the younger ones view a successful Black men off the football field and in the classroom, upright, positive, and intelligent.

Tony Gaston

Afro-Europe said...

Tony, thanks for responding to Lucia's comments in the video, that there are no black people in Asia.

Aasia said...

I am a fifteen year old girl. I would love to travel all over the world. I am an African American. I notice that I will come upon racism and people will look down on me, but I still will do what my heart desires.
I have very good intentions. I want to help and volunteer wherever help is needed in the world. When I grow up, I want to join the medical field. I will join the medical field.
As for my relationships (when I come of age) I don't care what race or color my husband will be. As long as he has a good head on his shoulders, he is sane, a good husband (that doesn't cheat), and loves God, he is perfect in my eyes.
I love being black, and i believe that God has something great in store for us black people.

Afro-Europe said...

Aasia, great to see such determination!

Anonymous said...

Max-in-korea
Blacks are right here in Korea n japan making mixed babies with asians...will racial mixing solve racism? i doubt it!! there are hard nuts to crack everywhere even in my country south africa

Anonymous said...

I would like to know about black people on ibiza..

Im african, i was watching youtube videos about ibiza, and i didnt see any black person there..

I want to spend vacancies there, but like this.. im not pretty sure.. heheh

please if some1 know about it let me know: eude3@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I am a black woman and have travelled through Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. My trips are typically for work, and I remember the fear when I had when I was asked to go to the Middle East for the first time.. The question in my head.. 'how will Arab men deal with a black woman in a corporate environment?...in fact the fear was made worse by my boss who was worried about racism and considered sending a White middle age male colleague. My fear was unfounded! I found the people to be were warm, caring, and considerate. I am now going to Asia for the first time, and am sure the people will be curious, but I suspect they would be just as warm. Go into the world believing you deserve a seat at the table no matter what race or sex you are, and you shall find your seat and your voice.

Anonymous said...

spain is definitely a racist country. i'm a black male of jamaican origin from london and i lived in andulucia, the south of spain for 1 year (through work). everyday i would experience racism and it definitely made me realize what daily life might have been for a black person living in 1950s deep south america (minus the lynchings, beatings and verbal abuse). spanish are not violent people.

not knowing how to speak spanish i couldn't communicate with anyone so i learnt how to read peoples body language and gestures. so the moment i walked into a restaurant, bar or public place... 99% of the time i could see people were uncomfortable with me as a black person.

if i walked into an establishment and people smiled and were friendly... it would truly shock me and over time it became easier to remember the rare nice little things rather than the frequent bad

other races being racist toward me is something that i can ignore... because it shouldn't surprise me. but black people being racist toward me is just unsettling and strange. in spain there are black spanish speaking people from around the world... not a huge population but here and there, and it seemed to me that in the latin countries where they are from they'd been raised on a diet of self hate. like, where they are from black is at the bottom of the pile... so this is the reaction that you get from other black people that you encounter in spain.

i'd try to have conversations with other black people and ask them about their experiences of living in spain... and all the black people i encountered spoke so highly of the country and that they didnt experience any problems... so this is why its important for people like me who can just tell it like it is to exchange my experience. most black people that i had these conversations with (black british) where deluding themselves. they bought into the british dream of living in spain and had convinced themselves that they are accepted by the spainish, no problem with being black... keep dreaming!

i can really identify with everything tony gaston said. really..... if only you could imagine what its like living in a place where being black is detested by everyone. one thing i learnt about myself is that it takes a very strong character to do it. to feel strength as a black person in a country where everyone see's you as less than human. and i relate to what the anonymous poster above said about believing in yourself... people smell confidence and self-belief and will bow down when they see it

i could go on and on about my experiences but i'll leave it that... dont want to bore you with an essay

the only good thing about spain is the weather (but way too hot in jul/ aug)... the people are not as enchanting and cultured as were led to believe... in my opinion they are a closed minded people

re-submitted as i think my last post didnt go through

Anonymous said...

I feel with you. There are still too many people living in another century.

It makes me so mad.

SHANEKIA said...

Hello everyone,

I go by the name Sneaka, and I am an African-American female living in the United States and I am planning to travel to Spain to study abroad with my university in June of 2011.

After reading these postings, I have gained a lot of insight as to what I should look forward to when I visit Spain. From these blog entries, a lot of you have provoked me to explore many aspects of history and culture before I decide to travel. I can speak both Spanish and English, and I will also be learning Arabic and German once I master the Spanish language.


I have experienced a few incidences of racism in the United States, but I knew how to handle it. I speak to people with intelligence, even though they assume that because I am an African American, that I do not engage in proper rhetoric. They are sadly mistaken!

When people first glance at me, I guess they see a "little kid." I am 21 but I take care of myself, so I look a lot younger. Lots of people are amazed that I am going into medicine, and that I have a college degree and am currently working on two master's degrees.
I try to portray a positive image of those who are "chocolate colored," like myself. It does, however, make me sad that "Black people," or African Americans in the United States are like crabs in a barrel: everyone is trying to climb over everyone else to get to the top, yet we are all failing miserably to help and uplift each other.

A lot of people of my own race look down on me because I speak proper English and that I want to become a Doctor and teach English and Spanish to non-native speakers. Honestly, I have no idea what is wrong with the people in the United States, but for the most part, everyone is friendly and desperate to help foreigners in need when they are lost or need help.

There are, of course, some places in the United States that are incredibly racist, like where I live in North Carolina, but I have only had one incident of racism in my 16 years of living in this state. If anyone decides to come to the United States, I just advise that you do some research before you come so that you may have the most pleasant experience possible.

I do not want to sound racist myself, but this will be my first time visiting Spain, and I want to live with a host family that is similar to me in appearance. I believe that I will be very comfortable with this family and will learn about many aspects of life for minorities living in Spain, not to say that I will not be just as comfortable with a family of members who have peach colored skin.

Other than what was previously stated, does anyone have any advice for me as to what I should do to prepare myself for what may be to come during the two summer months that I will be visiting in Spain?

If you have any questions or comments that you would like to personally address to me, you can send an e-mail to SDB0907@gmail.com


Sincerely and Respectfully,

Sneaka D

Anonymous said...

I suggest for you to learn spanish before you go over there even if it is the basics. I went to Barcelona , Spain in 08 and they will stare at you. I am black American it took some time to get use to. Interaction with Spainards was mix. Most of young peeps were alright. When I spoke a little spanish to them for like question/directions some gave me a surprise look but answered my questions. You can tell some of them don't see well off blacks very much . Most of the blacks I did see were poor African immigrants.

Anonymous said...

i am sory aboult my coment,since it may seems a bit racist. but africans or blacks as many would say are basicly colonizing europe. and many blacks cant accept that spanish are not like the english , or french that "welcomes" them into their country as part of a program that wants the world to believe that the nordic white europeans are not racists. Spain is not rich as north europe. and to be honest , i think the very white from the north want the black blood into their society so they can build "stronger" armies and seem less racist than they used to be. there is far to much black in europe , there must be a control.

Afro-Europe said...

Anonymous, because I believe in freedom in speech I reposted your comment, but without your last sentence. I don’t want foul language on this blog.

Concerning your comments, I live in the Netherlands and I know Spanish immigrants came to work here as guest workers. Nobody complained. My Antillean family knew Spanish and Portuguese workers who immigrated to the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curacao, nobody complained. And now you are complaining about poor African immigrants taking over a big country as Spain? I don't think that’s going to happened.

But if you want to go back to the original Europe that's fine with me. Start a campaign to ask all white Americans to go back to their home countries in Europe. And ask all the Australians, the new Zealanders and the white South Africans to also go back to their countries in Europe. Europe for Europeans.

And I am sure that one of native family members in Surinam would like the Spanish people (or immigrants) in South America to also go back to their country Spain. Because that’s where they really belong, right. South America for the “real” South Americans.

And when your finished with your Spanish agenda, you can also try get rid off the borders in Africa, which are now the "countries" in Africa. Countries that African people have never asked for. How would like to live in a country which a made up of Spain, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco?

If you can do that, it will end the wars and will create stability and economic growth in Africa. And more importantly for you, it will stop the immigration to your beloved Spain.

Fred said...

I will be going to Spain for
Spring break in March. I thought I should look into the perception of black people in this part Europe. So I suppose my real question is this the place for a 25 year old black man to go kick it and have a good time. I did my undergraduate degree in Alabama so I know all about racism spoken and unspoken. In that part of the country people will simply tell you they don't like you, or fly their Confederate flag so you know.
I am flying from the states to have a good time and party with some of my white friends. I talk to every shade of woman I find if she looks good.
So to my real questions:
1) As a black man will this be a miserable trip?
2) If I approach Spanish women will they be receptive, and should I be looking over my shoulder when I do?
3) Are there certain parts of the country that are better for blacks than other?

Sibo Kano said...

Dear Fred
There is nothing really to worry about. Of course you can have bad luck. But you'll be in Spain to have a great time and that what's you'll have if you look for it.
It will not be a miserable trip as long as you don't want to see racism in any negative reaction towards you. Spanish people normally will not provoke you.
You may notice that many blacks in Spain are very poor African immigrant workers (comparable to the Latino's in many parts of the States) living in miserable conditions and doing hard and dirty work. But besides that in the party circuit you'll meet black british and black dutch too who are also on vacation or who work in bars and clubs and find living in Spain much more pleasant than up north because of the lay back atmosphere, the beautiful nature and the charming weather conditions.
Concerning women, you may attract even more attention just because you are black. You are also American and beleive me people make a real difference between an African migrant worker and blacks from the States or parts of Northern Europe. In hiphop/R&B clubs there are just not that many blacks but all people in those clubs just love blacks.
Concerning some parts being more dangerous than others, again I wouldn't worry too much. Being dark skinned in Europe means you will more often be perceived as a potential threat for other's safety that be a victim. It's all in the attitude.
Check this
http://www.blackatlas.com/city/landing/1738/Barcelona
Don't worry too much, have fun and go with the flow.

Fred said...

Thank you so much, after reading many of the posts I started trying to figure out how to change travel plans. I was not afraid to go, I just really wanted to chill out and enjoy myself. Thank you for the insight. I am sure I will have a great time.

latonya said...

Hello, my name is Latonya from the U.S. in the state of Florida. I just happened to stumble across this blog, as I am taking a modern language class about Spain. I must tell you all that this blog has been a an eye-opener ...it has definitely made me think about how the world preceives Black people. It seems to me, that no matter what you do to prove to people that you are OPPOSITE of the stereotype...they will think the worse..always. I will say that I am sooo jealous of you guys, experiencing different cultures and traveling the world!Latonya

Afro-Europe said...

Thanks for your comment Latonya. I don't agree with "no matter what you do to prove to people that you are OPPOSITE of the stereotype...they will think the worse..always". Views do change and are changing everyday.

Every time a black person walks by that does not fit the stereotype something changes in the minds. Some will not admit it, but that's their problem. But to be honest, I don’t but any effort to prove that I am not the black person they see on TV everyday, the only thing I try is not to make a fool of myself.

Good luck with your language class. And hop on that plain to Europe, you will love it!

Day said...

Fred, as a woman of color, I don't think you have a thing to worry about. I also say that with a little envy because black American men seem to be so welcomed with open arms in many parts of Europe. I will add that as long as you look like a black American. From experience, sometimes if you look like a Brazillian, Dominican or a Cuban, things can get a little tricky. However, enjoy yourself!

Carlbooze said...

Hello:

My name is Carlton, and I'm an African-American living in Italy. I too, stumbled across this blog while searching for experiences other African-Americans were having in Europe.

I have to admit, I was feeling pretty unique, lonely, and hopeless about being stuck here in a place that seems to absolutely despise people of color, until I read some of the experiences other people like me are having in various parts of Europe (particularly in Spain). I'm stuck here because I have a young daughter with an Italian woman in northern Italy. I know this is a blog for Spain, but I couldn't resist posting, because I can relate so well with a few of the other posters. I don't like it here, but I feel that I'd be abandoning my daughter, who's now eight years old, if I returned to the States. And, what makes it worse for everyone involved is that her mother and me have nothing in common, but our daughter. Anyway, I'd just wanted to say that the insights and experiences I have about living in Europe, are not unlike others who were so kind to share here.

Anonymous said...

carlbooze take your daughter and move to the states brother dont worry you are not alone be safe.

Carlbooze said...

If you don't mind my asking, where are you good brother? Her mother won't let me do that, besides, my daughter likes it here, because she doesn't know any better!

Where are you, though?

Anonymous said...

reading about the subtle racism, its very similar to Engla. In fact the as a youth in school, many white children found it acceptable to tell me overtly racist black jokes, and i would laugh it off, however anything involving black people was immensley ridiculed as stupid. And this is in multicultural England!

however, this is not to say that everyone in England is racist, some are some aren't however it exists here in the UK and im schocked when i hear British whites brag about how England is more tolerant towards minorities such as Blacks when we have the BNP and racial slurs are heard almost everyday. However, i will say one thing about Britiain, its more divided based on class as opposed to race, blacks generally being synonymous with the working class.

Carlbooze said...

Thanks for your comments, I never knew about the racial situation in the UK.

SHANEKIA said...

Latonya,

Don't be jealous! I encourage you to go out and see the world. See if your university has a study abroad program. If they do, sign up for next year. You can use either the Boren Scholarship/Fellowship, or the Benjamin Gilman scholarship to travel. If you play your cards correctly, you should be able to use both.

Sneaka said...

Fred,

Have fun on your Spring Break trip. Be safe and tell us alla bout it when you get back!

Esperanza said...

I appreciate this blog I am an a mature african american woman who has been given a second chance at life by the grace of God. I will be recieving my BA in Theatre and Speech Communication over the summer. I have a burning desire to travel abroad and experience different cultures. I plan to take my last 3 credits abroad in Spain. I dont speak spanish however I have set a goal for myself to learn the language. I'm determined to learn the language fluently. I'm grateful for the comments on this blog they have made me aware of the unexpected and encourage me to pursue my goal. Thanks for sharing. God Bless

Sneaka said...

Esperanza,

Go for it! There are so many different study abroad programs to go on. I can get you some information if you would like. I am going to write a travel blog about my experiences and I am going to do it bilingually and also include a dictionary of the new words that I learn. Also, if you need help with your Spanish, I can direct you to some information on that as well.

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Anonymous said...

I am a Ghanaian woman,and I love this blog. I came across it today and can't help but say, thank you to AFRO EUROPE. YOU ROCK.

Spain is a country where blacks will always be seen as a threat. A police man once said that he left the police force because they were always given secret orders to raid black homes and businesses, just to show them that they dont belong in the country and make them feel unwanted.

A pregnant friend of mine was stopped for a check right in front of her house. After checking her documentrs, The police man said it was a routine check and when she asked, ''why didnt you stop the white people around me'', he just looked at her and finally,walked away when she threatened to file a racist report ''

Spaniards dont like you if you are black. They even hate you more if you are an educated black(cos a lot of their youths are not).

They only accept a black person if they know you are there for a short stay and not to compete with them. They also like you, if you decide to stay for long but spending all your money in their country without generating it from them (that is, invest in our country, but dont take it away)

I think it a great symptom of LOW SELF ESTEEM and GREAT ENVY. There is no remedy to it, I have lived in Spain for 5 yrs and my next door neighbor doesnt even know my name or care to know, but he didnt say NO when I offered to pay his bus fare.

Afro-Europe said...

Ghanaian woman from Spain, thank you for the compliment.

Afro-Europe said...

To Anonymous who spammed this blog with postings like,
“How many successful black people can you find in spain? And show me your discoveries”, etc ....

I believe in freedom in speech, but when I gave my opinion on of ‘your’ blogs they didn't publish it. Somehow you don’t like it when people tell you it's joke if you compare yourself to Albert Einstein, Michelangelo or Christopher Columbus. And that during the industrial revolution and before almost 80% percent of the population in Europe almost worked as slaves for a few rich people.

And Africa, I already gave the answer in a previous posting.

To cut it short, if your blogs don’t allow my comments, I don't allow yours.

Conquistadora said...

Hi everyone,

I will be traveling to Murcia, Spain for an exchange program this fall. I visited Segovia last year and was naïve about the racial issues in the country until I had my own discomforting encounters.

This blog has been very insightful and made me think about other possible explanations for the racism in Spain. I have been studying the recent trends of globalization at my university and found it interesting that in the 21st century economic disparities have become worse: the wealthy are becoming wealthier and the poor are becoming poorer. This has created an incentive for people from developing countries to migrate to developed countries in search of more opportunities.

As a result, cultures are in closer contact with each other more than ever before and people often feel threatened and vulnerable. Unfortunately, an outcome is a stronger sense of national identity that can be expressed through racism, violence, and prejudice. From my experience, the Spaniards seemed to have an inherent sense of pride for their country and culture, not aiding the ensuing issues from a current influx of North African immigration.

I find it very difficult to cope with racism and want to enjoy my time in Spain. I am twenty-one years old and half black and liked the advice to, “Go into the world believing you deserve a seat at the table no matter what race or sex you are, and you shall find your seat and your voice.” But, do you have any other advice or are there areas of caution I should know about when interacting with the locals or dating?

Thank you for your time, this is a great topic!

Anonymous said...

Spain seem determine to keep its underline racist ways.

Anonymous said...

/sigh
I am a black male 21 years old who is signed up for a 2 month summer program in Alicante spain in June. I am not an Alicia Keys or Will smith light brown shade. I am clearly a black male. As someone who wasnt informed at all about racism in Spain i'm finding this all a little disheartening. I was looking forward to learning the language and experiencing an amazing culture. But after reading this post and some other blog articles it looks like I can look forward to being stared at, feeling unwanted, and possibly questioned by police for no reason. Am i overthinking this or should i rethink going on the program?? Any thoughts will be appreciated.

Afro-Europe said...

Anonymous, don't rethink of going! You have to experience it yourself. Just see all the comments as extra information. And please let us know how you have experienced it.

Sibo Kano said...

Just GO!
There is nothing really to worry about. Of course you can have bad luck. But you'll be in Spain to have a great time and that what's you'll have if you look for it.
It will not be a miserable trip as long as you don't want to see racism in any negative reaction towards you. Spanish people normally will not provoke you and are not agressive. Of course you nmight get stares once in a while, in places where you will not want to go back to. But I guess that's something that can happen anywhere.
You may notice that many blacks in Spain are poor African immigrant workers (comparable to the Latino's in many parts of the States) living in miserable conditions and doing hard and dirty work. But besides that in the party circuit and study exchange network you'll meet black british and black dutch too who are also on vacation/study visit or who work in bars and clubs and find living in Spain much more pleasant than up north because of the lay back atmosphere, the beautiful nature and the charming weather conditions.
Concerning women, you may attract even more attention just because you are black, it depends where you go out. You are also American and beleive me people make a real difference between an African migrant worker and blacks from the States or parts of Northern Europe. In hiphop/R&B clubs there are just not that many blacks but all people in those clubs just love blacks.
Concerning some parts being more dangerous than others, again I wouldn't worry too much. Being dark skinned in Europe means you will more often be perceived as a potential threat for other's safety than be a victim. It's all in the attitude. Related to this, concerning police: low-rofiling is the message (but that's the case anywhere in Europe/America, even if you're 40 years old, if you're black, you where sneakers, jeans and sweater, you may be perceived as 'street youth', but I believe you can talk yourself out of any situation)
Generally my experience with Spain is great, I really love it.
Check this
http://www.blackatlas.com/city/landing/1738/Barcelona
Don't worry too much, have fun and go with the flow.

Anonymous said...

i would definitely say that spanish are not violent... they don't fight amongst themselves or with others... but they are definitely racist, so in spain you don't have to worry about your safety... you'll just feel bad vibes everywhere you go

there's no point in trying to break it down why spanish are racist. simply put, they just hate black people. anyone that's a darker shade than them them they just hate ...did i mention they despise gypsies... and check this... gypsies in spain feel that black people are beneath them

spanish love white people, they love everything blonde and blue eyed. this is just how it is... and i've spoken to people from south america that share the same views

there are societies in this world that have been conditioned to believe that anything to do with the black race is bad and ugly, and react in that way. seems unusual to people like us from the UK or US when you first have these travel experiences, but this world is an usual place

i've traveled to many countries and as a black person i feel the hate that comes my way... more so from people that are neither black nor white... but from races that are in-between... like asian, indian, spanish, arabic, latin, etc.

i find that most people that are not white either hate themselves for not being white or hate black skin... whereas white people don't really care and are just comfortable being who they are

one thing positive i can say about the spanish... at least they are real with you and show you they dont like black people... where as other countries people just smile and take your money

Anonymous said...

Interesting, conflicting viewpoints. Well thanks for the information... I have my tickets now and it's a done deal. Hopefully i won't feel the "hate" that anonymous above me speaks of. I leave early June so if I remember i will certainly come back to this blog and share some thoughts as events occur

Afro-Europe said...

Great!! I know for sure that all the readers (including me and Sibo of course) are looking forward to hear from you!

Anonymous said...

I am a black male who was born in South America and grew up in the United states. I studied abroad in seville spain. This brings back some memories. I also lived in Madrid and Barcelona. Seville is more traditional in some ways. It is funny that I have really great spanish friends from seville. Some are still there the rest have married american college students that they met there and are living in the states. I went on vacation to spain in 1998 and 1999 and studied abroad in 2002-2003 and I visited in 2008. Spain has changed. I remember the stares I got in 1998 when I first went there. Fast forward 10 years later and the stares were non existent. Madrid has changed so much and there are people living there from all over the world.

I lived in barcelona close to the Sagrada Familia. I had a great time there as well ocasionally there was sutle racism. In general people left you alone. There are professional blacks working in Barcelona. No stares at all unless you eat in a fancy restaurant.

Seville is great and it has a little hippy culture. You will see spaniards with "rastas" or dreadlocks as we call them. They smoke lots of hash. From time to time there was a little difficulty there, not often. A black girl in my program could not handle it and she quit the progam. The girls in seville are beautiful many of them like black men. My senora even tried to get with me. There are places where they embrace hip hop and some of the spaniards are dressing in that style. Madrid also has some great black clubs. So does barcelona.

One thing that you must remember is that spain was a facist country under Franco. Some spaniards still get scared at the mention of their name. They really did not become a democracy until the 70's. Also there is still some animosity because of the invasion of the moors.My mom went to school in England in the 60's and spain is a cakewalk compared to the stories that she told me back then. You could not get an apartment they used to have signs in the windows of no coloreds allowed back in the day. Spain is a cakewalk. In the USA i have had white people call me the "N-word" not in spain. If they don't like you they will say "I don't like black people". I have had only one person say this to me while I was there. If you are american, they will treat you better.

One thing to consider when going is that the rural ares might be tougher. Granada is great and is open. I have been to torremolinos , malaga, benidorm. Those are tourist areas and they are used to seeing blacks there. A few good hip hop clubs in Malaga. Ibiza is a lot of fun. The brits hang in one area the spanish another the germans another. In the nighttime everyone comes together to party. It is just one party atmosphere. Not too many blacks and if there are they will be american or british.

Whatever you do just go. Your life your experience and do not let anyone take that away from you. At least you can say you have lived in another country and it is also good for your resume. Most americans have not even been out of the USA. Invest in yourself and your experiences. I learned so much from being there. It made me tougher and it also made want to find the darkest blackest person to marry. Black is beautiful (especially the black girls in NYC)

Just an ordinary girl said...

I went to spain (Salou) in 2008 and i had a very good time. Iam roughly the same colour as naomi Campbell and iam from the U.K . I thought i would have got stared at alot, but low an behold i never. This is the reason why iam going back again on holiday later on this year(if god wills).

I must admit i did find alot of germans there and some would slightly stare, but who would'nt stare at a beautiful, dark, glowing, coco buttered body girl, with large almond eyes that screams totally tropical....lol!

sneakpeeksandseeks said...

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for all of your comments. I am going to study abroad this week and am doing a travel blog to keep everyone posted about everything that I learn.

With Afro-Europe's permission, I would like to share the link with everyone.

At the end of my travels, I am hoping to do a documentary on topics, to include "Love," "What is Beauty?" "How do people in Guatemala and Spain view Americans, but more specifically, Black Americans?" "Are Black Women stared at while abroad because they are deemed beautiful, or a threat?" and "Is it true that the Spanish don't like people of African descent?"

I am really excited about going abroad, but I will now go into it with more insight and wisdom than I would have before.

Again, thank you for all of your postings. Please keep them coming. Like many others, I am anxious to hear of the experiences of other brown-skinned people abroad. We are highly under-represented within the arena of travel.

I think that with these postings, we can all educate everyone and also help more people with darker complexions to see the beauty in travel and experiencing the cultures of the world for themselves.

Afro-Europe said...

Hi Sneaka, no problem! Let me know when you write your first post.

Alan said...

I am an African-American male who loves to travel. I have been to 11 European countries but I have avoided Spain because of what I've heard. I have the chance to go to Madrid in a couple of weeks. What should I do? Is it worth the trouble? I really don't like to spend my money in a place that does not want me there.

Afro-Europe said...

Alan. Just go! A world traveller like you can’t afford not to go. :)

GRITS said...

I'm off to Spain in a couple of weeks and would like to tour some sites that were African influenced, mingle with people of African descent, and I would also LOVE to take an African dance class. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

im an 18 yo australian born with a nigerian background (both parents)still living in aus and i also stumbled across this and found it to be a really interesting read.Ive really only experienced one case of racism in my junior years but nothing like current comments.
Me and my sister are thinking of going to spain and i was a bit apprehensive as ive heard that spain is a racist country etc and this is a holdiday to have fun and relax. However me and my sister are definately going to go to ibiza and barcelona and hopefully it will be a memorable holiday.
I wanted to know how people react to blacks in ibiza as their doesnt seem to be many that go there??

Afro-Europe said...

Hi Australian. I only know that a lot of black Surinamese-Dutch people go to Ibiza, but that's because it's the favorite party destination for people in The Netherlands.

But please come back and tell us about your experiences in Spain. Have a nice holiday!

Anonymous said...

As an African American woman, I find it quite disheartening that this is the 21st Century and we who have African ancestry still care about the disparaging opinions of other races toward us. There has to be something to it. Black skin is not synonymous with failure. As a matter of fact, I personally feel that a Black man who excels at anything basically stands alone. Perhaps it's just jealousy.

We need to just smile at the ignorance and keep moving toward our individual goals. I'm in the process of completing my doctoral degree. The intelligence, beauty, and resilience of our race cannot be overlooked. Yes, there are those in our race that should strive to make better choices, but those kinds exist in every race.

Europeans have spread their seed all over the world. They dominated, not with love, but with guns. So, to look at others as if they are impeding on their "turf" is confusing at best.

Anonymous said...

its quite simple, american racism cannot be compared to that of spains. African-americans have fought against and integrated into the system and you will indeed find blacks in every facet within the american infrastructure. Can u say this about spains blacks? in this respect spain is like 40years behind in real multi-ethnic societable integration. Seperatism is true racism, not someone calling me a ridiculous word. Are there black lawyers or doctors in spain? i have yet to see a blackman in a suit in spain on his way to the office. Racism in spain and much of europe is deep-rooted in so much that its almost accepted. Bananas being thrown out on the football field..r u kidding me? let something like that happen on a u.s. football field i can garauntee there will be a different outcome.

Alan said...

Ok, I'm back from Madrid and I'm glad I went. I was treated with courtesy and respect. A few people were nice. No one was rude and most people were indifferent to my presence. I do speak a little Spanish and that REALLY helped. I saw people's faces light up when they expected English and got Spanish instead. So I'm glad I was able to overcome my (somewhat irrational) fear of Spain. I noticed several other African American tourists there as well, and they all seemed to be having a great time. Of course, I am fully aware that some blacks have bad experiences, but it did not happen to me. Thanks for telling me to go.

Afro-Europe said...

Alan, I'm glad you went to spain and I'm also glad hear you had great time there. I mean it. And thanks very much for coming back to let us know!

Angelo said...

There is no denying that there's racism, sexism, classism and discrimination practiced all over the world. It's an unfortunate human condition that amounts to jealously, fear or ignorance of the unknown, or just plain meanness. And it afflicts those who have low self-esteem.

Frankly, I don't give a damn what anyone thinks about me. I know who I am and what I want out of my life. I do not let anyone define those things for me. If you do, you will become the victim.

But as individuals, we have a choice. We do not need to succumb to the discriminatory views of others. Hold your head up high, and have confidence in yourself wherever you go. Let the fools sink in their own self hate, because that's what is going on with those who discriminate against another human being or groups of human beings without knowing anything about them. Don't let them drag you into their condition.

Anyway, enough of the philosophy. I just want to say that you will perceive and experience what you expect. It's all about your attitude. If someone is staring at you, is it because they don't like people who look like you? Or is it because they find you interesting, unique, attractive? Why assume only the worst? Seek out the ones who are actually thinking, "wow, I wish I I could get to know this person!" Ignore the other fools. Life is too short and it's up to you to define what your life experience will be.

I've travelled across America, to the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, Europe, China and Africa. And there are so many other places I'd like to visit. Everywhere single place I've been, I have had an amazing, unforgettable experience, learned new things about the world, met interesting people, and made friends. I've also had interactions with close-minded people who I chose to ignore; I just felt really sorry for them.

My advice is this: when it comes to getting the most out of your life including your experiences relating to people - regardless of who they are or where they are from - it's your own attitude that will determine the quality of your life experiences. So if your neighbor of five years doesn't even know you or has never said hi to you - it probably means your neighbor is thinking the same think about you! You don't know them either and also probably never said hi to them.

So how do you change the world? Don't wait for your neighbor to say hi to you. You take the initiative. If each one of us takes this approach, there'll be a lot less racism and perceived racism in the world. It's easy to change perceptions when reality replaces imagined stereotypes over and over again. Will racism and discrimination be completely eliminated? Of course not. There will always be close-minded fools everywhere and in every race - just feel sorry for them; what a waste of life!

Chico-Rei said...

I lived in Madrid and am going back in 2 weeks. I loved it there. It is racist but it's more from the way the people look at you, also police will stop you, me personally I don't care I'm a proud black man I go where I want and don't restrict myself, before I went I was worried there wouldn't be any black people and I wouldn't be able to get my haircut etc, but found the opposite, I found an area called Lavapies which is an area dominated by African people the people there were so friendly, also Cuartos Caminos an hispanic area dominated by Domincians who are black hispanics.

Whilst I was there I decided to take spanish lessons to improve my Spanish and took a one on one class with a woman, I e-mailed her first, but when I first came round she didn't know I was black, the woman nearly had a heart attack her eyes popped out of her head when she saw me, this was probably the first time she had, had a black person in her house lol but after 5 minutes when she realized I was a human being and wasn't going to rob the place she was cool and carried on teaching me the whole time I was there, she was a nice lady.

My experiences are different because I was brought up by a white family so i'm used to racism, but what I have found is when you are proud of who you are and have high self esteem you walk different, you walk with your head up high, people wouldn't really bother you, because racist people have low self esteem and are imtimadated, believe it or not I have changed alot of peoples opinons on black people, opinons shared by black and white.

Whilst over there I prefered being in the african or hispanic areas and made alot of friends in both areas. I went to one Domincian barbershop and everytime I went there they would get out the rum and we would all drink together, even though my Spanish was limited I would chill there till closing time sometimes I would go in there and not even get a haircut!

I found alot of R&B clubs there, done language exchanges the whole time meeting people.

My advice to people who go, don't walk with your guard up looking for a fight, walk with your heart open and throw yourself into things like language exchanges trust me you will meet the most friendliest people anywhere in Europe. Black and white.

Sibo Kano said...

Thanks for your contribution Chico Rei, this is a wonderful comment!

Buford said...

So, as one of the anonymous posters from before who was scared to travel I'm here to report back. I have now completed my 3rd of 8 weeks stay in Alicante Spain. I am living with a spanish family that has 2 parents, 3 children and a huge extended family. It is a part of my school's study abroad program and so far I must say I love being here. This family has welcomed me with open arms and the father already calls me his hijo "son". The extended family have all been just as great constantly picking my brain for information about what America is like. I can honestly say that so far I have had 0... read that correctly... 0 negative encounters here.It is a beautiful beach town with plenty of people who speak small bits of English. Any one i've come up to on the street and asked for directions has gone out of there way to help, and I can say ive yet to be stopped by police (fingers crossed lol). There is a decent black population here but i would say 98% are Africans who are either selling watches on the beach or selling jewelry on the streets (harsh but true)Like someone else said, I definitely think it helps to speak some spanish, they love to meet you half way, but they don't necessarily love people who understand nothing. I will say that Alicante is very Americanized. My family only listens to American music and most of the clubs and bars play american music. My one iffy moment was when we took a day trip to valencia and i saw a greeting card that had the kkk on the front, and toilet cleaner that portrayed a black woman very poorly. But that was Valencia. I will definately report back nearing the conclusion of my stay but for anyone looking to book a flight soon, I would definately consider Alicante

Afro-Europe said...

Hi Buford, thanks for your story! And hijo "son"? What are you doing with these nice folks!

I am very glad to read you are having a positive experience in Spain (Alicante). The fact that Alicante is very Americanized is perhaps a plus.

And thanks that you will come back to give us (the readers) your total impression of your stay in Alicante.

Sibo Kano said...

Hi Buford
Good! I'm quite sure that the KKK greeting card from Valencia you've seen is not really KKK. During Semana Santa (Easter Period in Spain). The KKK-looking garments worn by the Nazareno tradition of the Roman Catholic church has nothing to do with KKK. it is even centuries older than the KKK.
For more info I found this link after a quick google search
http://www.valenciavalencia.com/culture-guide/semana-santa/ku-klux-klan-semana-santa-spain.htm

fernando said...

hello from Spain , I am a not more white spanish men , I have read this post and i must to say something about the spanish temper.

The people of spain generally are direct and express his emotions. Are hot people.

Other caracter I read in some experiences of foreigners in Spain is the habit of see to other peoples directly at the eyes, in streets , in bars etc, some people of anglo-saxon country considers it offensive.

Remember, we are curious, and we like see, speak and interact with other people.

for good experience in Spain you need to know some spanish words to speak with us.
An you must to break the ice or make a start with us, you can find people that like you person or not (equal that in your country).

And is true, im Spain there are racism like in others countrys, Africa included.

Sorry for my bad english.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I'm a biracial dude with a skin tone a couple of shades lighter than Mr. Obama. I'm from Copenhagen, Denmark, and I know this section is about Spain, but I felt like I have to comment. It's true and unfortunate, there is racism everywhere in the world. I have quite a few friends that live in Spain and let me tell you, they are wonderful people. As a matter of fact, they have always asked me is there any black girls in Copenhagen that they can hook up with. I do believe Denmark has a larger population of black people than Spain, most of them are from Africa (just like my father). Here in Denmark, black people are not looked down upon and like it was commented earlier, it's good if you can know some of the language to where you're going. So to the person who said something about Scandinavians being on the racist side, that may only be half true. I'm not going to deny of any racism here, but it's very minimal. So anybody wondering about visiting Spain or other parts of Europe, just go and have yourself a blast-but I wouldn't recommend for black people to visit Russia or the Ukraine, both of those countries racism definitely overshadows Spain's. But regardless, have fun!

Afro-Europe said...

Hi Fernando and man from Copenhagen. Thanks for your comments. And yes, being able to speak the language is a good start.

Anonymous said...

Barca is beautiful! I was there a few months ago. I try to visit once a year. I am a black woman from the USA. I really never encounterd racism while I was there. One thing I will have to be honest about is the prostitution. A lot of the people in Barcelona, think black women are prostitutes. This really started about a few years ago because of the influx of beautiful African women, coming there to do just that. I was really appalled. I guess that is how they make their living over there. I didn't let it put a damper on my trip because I carried myself very well. Once they know that you are from the US, it really made a difference.

I hope that this bit of info will give my Sisters a little bit of insight. Go and enjoy yourselves in that magical city of Barcelona! I truly love the Las Ramblas area! Barcelona comes alive in the evening!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to have come across this blog. It has been insightful and made me think before I just up and leave the US. My husband and are planning to spend the summer in a Nice, France. We are planning to rent an apartment for a month or two, write and enjoy the culture. Any thoughts, Afro-Europe, on what to expect?

Afro-Europe said...

Anonymous thanks for the compliment.

Unfortunately I have never been to South France, so I really have no idea. But I do know that the more you can speak French, the more pleasant your stay will be. French people don't want to speak English. But I don’t think I am telling you something you didn’t know already.

Blissfully Chokolate said...

Well...this has been a really great read :-) My sister and I are planning our 1-2 month trip to Spain for the 2012 summer. We're excited, and plan on having a great time no matter what. We are from NY/NJ, and lived for 10 years in NC/VA. If we cannot only survive, but still find things to smile about after living in these highly racist/bigoted areas of the US, we'll do Spain riding on a nice ocean breeze. Thanks for the blog and all the comment :-)

Afro-Europe said...

Blissfully Chokolate, you're welcome!

apricots said...

Speaking as a British born 23 year old girl of Jamaican descent its refreshing and also eye-opening to read some of the comments that are on this blog. Especially: anon Dec 26th / anon May 2nd / Buford / Chico-Rei

After living in Spain for the last academic year and preparing to go back again in September, I have admittantly felt a little apprehensive to return. I have had a good, positive experience on the whole during my time in Seville but did go through one incident that left me feeling particularly sour.

What's important to know, and something that I have to remember, is that rascism of some form exists everywhere. Low-key, high-key, mid-key. Everywhere. Spain has come a very long way in a very short time and many struggle to keep up with their ever-changing environment. And for this, I think on the whole, they're not doing too badly. In Seville they "know" that you are foreign no matter if you are black or not and thus, the community are an incredibly tough nut to crack for everyone. Learning their language and culture helps, being open helps. You can't let a bad experience pin you down when there are many more good experiences to be had.

You will indeed have a presence if you're black. Perhaps the most is the intrigue you will gather from the opposite sex. If you're a black guy.. BEWARE is all I can say!

I am not naive, being black in many areas of the world is not generally considered an attribute that is in high demand. If negativity is experienced, then rise above it. If they don't know any better, than at least we do ;)
I just hope that I'll stop waiting for the next bad thing to happen, which will allow me to say: "AH-HA I knew it all along!! If they don't want me here I'll go elsewhere!!" Expecting the worst is not the way to go when the worst type of behaviour is so infrequent.

For those who are planning to visit Spain just for a holiday, I assure you that any racial negativity you experience will be relatively non-existant and that you will LOVE this beautiful country!

marietops said...

I am African American from Georgia, my skin complexion is dark brown. Recently I created an account on LanguageExchange.com because I want to learn how to write/speak Spanish. I posted a photo of myself and surprisingly several people from different countries have asked to communicate with me. A white female(doctor) from Buenos Aires, a white female(english teacher) from Palencia, Spain, a white male(business man)from Chile.. the list goes on and on. If these people are SO racist, why did they choose to communicate with me? I communicate often with the teacher from Palencia, Spain - she said the images they see of blacks are usually bad ones set in movies, here is what she wrote to me in a recent email: "You ask me about my impressions about Black Americans (Is it the way to talk about black people?). Well, as you see I'm not really a prejudiced person. I don't like to judge people at first sight. But you are right about one point, there are not many colour people living in Palencia and all the information we can get comes from movies so, you can imagine it's not very real. Most of the time you are presented as poor people, living in the outskirts of big cities or rural areas in difficult conditions, with bad jobs, poor edducation, etc. It's a hard image, I know, but I presume things can't be so bad as described (any idiom for this last sentence?. In Spanish we'll say: el león no es tan fiero como lo pintan).
Most of the black people who live in Spain, mainly in big cities like Madrid or Barcelona come from some areas of Africa or even the Caribbean and normally they don't normally mingle with natives."

truth2011 said...

^^^That's still no reason to look down on people. Spain has a BAD reputation. You can't dismiss many people's bad experiences there because you might like some people from Spain.

What's funny to me as an American is that Americans don't consider Spanish people white and Spain is considered a poor country to Americans. I live in the HOT desert and I STILL have a heater for that ONE day in the year it might be cold. My brother's girlfriend went to Spain and they had no air conditioning in their houses. It was sweltering. She said she could tell Spain was a "poor" country.

So, how does Spain like that? How does it feel to be looked down on by richer Americans?

Chico-Rei said...

I'm in Madrid at the moment and spoke to a black guy last night who I know from England who was brought up and raised in Spain and he said to me something which I think is very true, Spanish people are racist out of ignorance, they are not around black people and believe the negative perceptitions which are fed about black people by the white media, but once they talk to you and see you are human lol they change

apricots said...

It does really boil down to ignorance. They generally find so many differences amongst themselves, e.g. the south do not equate themselves with the north and the basque country equate with noone; that it is perhaps waaay beyond their scope to consider other races.

Buford said...

Well I forgot to come back and report but here I am. After completing a 2 month study abroad trip in Alicante Spain(June-July) I have to say don't let your paranoia affect you. I went to Spain feeling nervous that I might get stares or feel weirdness and I can honestly say after two months I didn't get either. I lived with a Spanish family, went out to Spanish clubs, shopped in Spanish stores, had class in a Spanish school, and generally lived a Spanish life. Though there were plenty of times I was the only dark skinned person in a certain place, I never felt unwelcome. Possibly because they could clearly tell i was American or because Alicante is a very Americanized/friendly place or because I spoke a decent amount of Spanish. I took trips to neighboring cities and had no problems anywhere to be honest.... In short it was the best two months of my life. So to anyone thinking about it... i'd say DO IT. Learn some Spanish to help you get around and travel, travel, travel!

Afro-Europe said...

Buford, thanks for keeping your promise!

Anonymous said...

I have really learned a lot. Thanks Buford for the update. I am thinking of teaching in Spain or Chile for a year, so your comments were helpful.

I am an African American female, 24, and I have been to Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic. I have had wonderful experiences in all countries being black. Many times I got more positive attention than my White classmates. I felt so much love from the natives, I would love to spend a year in a country where I can feel the same level of love and acceptance.

Only one crazy memory in DR; the guards at the airport searched only me out of a group. Once I got to my destination, a White male student said he had the same thing happen the year before when he had dreads, so obviously it wasnt totally a race thing.

Good Luck to Everyone!! Have fun travels!

Moneeka said...

This has been a very interesting read! I am a college student very interested in learning about the black diaspora, as well as the spanish/latin american community (Specifically Argentina!!). I am in a Spanish Culture class right now, and it was very loud to me the absence of black culture in Spain...with the exception of the history of the Moors. I looked for scholarly journals on the subject, and the only one I ran across was one with a negative outlook. For a final project we have to come up with a nine day itinerary about places that we would visit in Spain. I was hoping to find a thriving black community rich with original music and art to talk about...but from the looks of things, I probably won't. Any insight on this?
BTW-Have any of you ever travelled to Argentina? Any insight on the Black community there? In the Argentine history class i've had, that professor at least pointed out their history.
¡Gracias!
MS

Anonymous said...

I just returned from a long weekend in Barcelona. A tall handsome (if i may be so bold) black britsh guy of Jamaican descent travelling alone. The Spanish looked at me a lot on the subway and in the streets, but just in a curious as opposed to threatening way. I hooked up with a local Spanish girl and she said the reason they are looking at you is 1) Because people are not accustomed to seeing black people with money generally speaking, and 2) my attire and "look" were quite different from most black people they are used to seeing on a daily basis. I suffered no obvious racism when I was there. I am not saying the Spanish are or are'nt racist as a culture, just adding my experience. Went to clubs, restaurants, sightseeing etc. The stares, glances and looks take some getting used to though. Lol
I'll definitely go back next spring.

Working In Tenerife said...

Nice discussion and nice informative video about black peoples in spain...

simon said...

weeks after I wrote my opinion, I have the impression that this topic has been well developped, with differents points of view and perspectives on the main issue. Spanish racism isn't that much obvious, and all spaniards do not act the same on this. And, to Moneeka:
If you wish to go find some kind of black community culture, I suggest to look at Barcelona/Catalonia, it's the the place most of black people choose to live in of the country, and it may also be interesting to search in Andalucia, where typical spanish arts and cultural mixtures are normally welcomed.

Glad you had a good time here!

Portia said...

Your ingnorance is STUNNING. Spain was ruled by black african MOORS from 711 AD to 1300 or 1500 in the south. These muslim invaders were finally pushed out in the 1500s. This is why blacks are hated in Spain and Portugal. God, you are STUPID. You attribute everything to recent history, maybe going back as far as Franco forgodsakes, but your ignorance stops you from really understanding that there is a VERY GOOD REASON why Spaniards don't like blacks.

Afro-Europe said...

Native, I believe in freedom of speech, but I have deleted your comments about the Moors because I don’t like be called an idiot. If you have something to say try do it as we are use to on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I am a 25 year old white young lady. I am half jamaican (my dad is same colour as will smith) and i have lived in andalusia for 8 years on and off.

In the time that I have lived here, i have witnessed racism from a different persperctive. spanish people do not realise that i am mixed race and therefore treat me the same as any human being, however when they see me with my ghanian boyfriend they change their tone. And once I express my origins..they say that i am not black and cant understand why i turned out white.

they stare at the both of us when we enter into bars, restaurants, clubs, shops any public place. I have been with my boyfriend for a year now and we are to be married next week. ( i suppose really i should be saying fiance in that case) lol...

it hurts to see the way that they treat the black community here, spaniards are not openly racist, however the racism is there. being white/black i have witnessed spanish openly say to me that they think black people are worthless, they treat blacks as if they lack education and are lesser people. It seems to suprise them that i am with my beautiful black man and they can only imagine the reason is due to 'satisfaction' purposes.

I am tired of this country and for this reason, I am my fiance are to move to the netherlands in the next few months, where there will be more opportunities and more social respect within the community.

As i mentioned, my dad is a light skinned jamaican and comes here on holiday frequently, he has never experienced racism from the spanish and the simple reason for this.. is because he is not dark skinned like my future husband.

My fiance has become accustomed to the spanish treatment as he has now lived here for 11 years, this hurts me deeply that he feels that he should be treated this way.

If anybody is wondering exactly what i mean.. i can give one of many examples.....


Afew months ago, I and my fiance stayed in a hotel in Benalmadena for the weekend, everyone in that hotel stared at us when we walked into the dining room and wouldnt come to the buffet to take food whilst we were there filling our plates. It was that bad that we had to check out after 1 day, as i found my fiance in the bedroom staring at his hands and feet crying, saying that he was tired of being treated like a lesser person.

The UK, Netherlands, USA and many other countries I have visited have never demonstrated this kind of hatred.

As some one commented earlier.... the spanish are ignorant and have started to try and understand the way of black life too late in this day and age.. not all spaniards are this ignorant.. however the answer to the question of "is spain a racist country"?..... well, in my eyes and experiences... definately..YES!

truth2011 said...

Hi Anonymous:

I said it before on another posting: the Spanish treated my brother's girlfriend, who is also Jamaican, very strangely. She asked her host family why so many people stared and the mother of the host family told her that they were staring because they didn't know what race she was. Why does that matter?

The Spanish people couldn't tell what race she was, so they just stared? (BTW, she's "black," but she's clearly mixed. She must have some British in her.)

Anonymous said...

Hello All,
I am a young african american male. I work on a neurology unit at the state hospital where I live and I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel ...I am fortunate enough to want for little and that is how I grew up. I am not saying this in a boastful way, rather, I say that when I travel anywhere I am to busy absorbing culture that is unfamiliar to me to notice the stares of people who take issue with a black man holding his head higher than they can hold their own. Please don't get me wrong, my great fortune is not the reason for my confident stature, no, the ability to hold my head so high was taught by my amazing mother and father, taught to them by their moms and dads and so on and so forth. You see, I was born and raised in one of the most racially segregated cities in one of the most racially non-progressed states in America. So I was taught from early in life the need for self worth. Hopefully one day we will see a world that values people, ALL people. And stop punishing each other for the legacy left to us.

Interested said...

Spain’s past and its often irksome embrace with Africa and Islam certainly feeds into this. The Reconquista was a conscious rejection of first Muslim rule, then as time passed, of the presence of Islam and Arabized culture and finally of the Moors themselves. Spain tried Christianizing its remaining Moorish population, but the effort failed because the antagonism between the two groups was just too high. Finally, the last of the moriscos were expelled to North Africa in the 1600’s. I don’t think the country moved on very far in its racial mentality since then because for centuries it didn’t have to. People didn’t immigrate to Spain, they left Spain in droves for greater economic opportunities, so those Spaniards who remained never had to deal much with difference.

This “old” inflexibility (which once one could find in all of Europe) is still evident to the black visitor in Spain. Add to that that people are not afraid to say what they think (out loud) in Spain and it sometimes can feel like a really hostile environment. I’m glad to see people of color there taking positive steps to change this.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we've learned/read different things pertaining to Spanish history (forgive my late reply). Moor is not Black in the sense that we see it today (Sub-Saharan, Negro, Black). Moor IS indeed African, Northern African (aka, white African). & yes enclaves of Sub-Saharan's immigrated to Norther Africa & Spain/France/etc...but they were considered Negro. (hence why they called them "Negro" among other words & not "Moor" during slavery in the New World). Since most Moors are olive colored and are Muslim at that, I'm sure anyone can understand how a very Catholic, very White Spain would oppose them at that time. I used to think the same, that Moors were automatically Black, like me, but our "real" definition of Black doesn't apply to Moors.

Anonymous said...

hi there, im a black man who has booked a holiday to benidorm in spain.can anyone pliz inform me on weather people there are warm welcoming to black people or there is racism. any advice will be highly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Am black man,from west Africa country ,well i live in Spain for mony years,i have close friens malians, senegalis, ivorians,nigerians etc.of course there is racicsm in Spain,but we dont care about,they hate black Africans more than any blacks,but since we are in thier country they can treat us how they want,we are waitning for them in Africa,Africa will not remain in poor,they should remmember potugal is turning back to Africa eg Angola and mozambiqwe,France,is going to ivory caost and mony countries,england is going to nigeria and mony more while America is in guinea equatoria,so all this european country is looting thier colonia countries in Africa.But Black African countries reject Spanish,completly for long time.they cannot even go to guinea,the only country they colonize.that is why they may take this advantage to hate all black.

Anonymous said...

yeah i hv been to Ibiza.. im a black guy from Ethiopia.. went to Ibiza for vacation .. i study in Denmark. Its a beutiful place and nice peps.. however, there r many illegal migrants ( abt 300,000).. mostly from AFrica ( mostly black).. sadley most r involve in prostitution and drugs.. so when ur balck.. most peps hv negative sterotype .. esp the white tourist from UK ( yeah many of them there).. but spanired tend to be cool

T.J. Jazz said...

How FANTASTIC to have found this blog!! Finally re-assurance that I'm not going crazy!

I'm an American Caramel and squiggly fro frocked. I've lived in spain since 2004, about two years in Andalucía, 5 in Madrid, and plenty of touring throughout the country and "pueblos" as a vocalist or actress.

Anyone coming to visit for a few weeks to even a year - you'll have a fantastic time. Spain is a great country, with such different cultural treasures to discover from region to region.

Bothersome encounters regarding my race didn't really start getting under my skin until after about two and a half years...while touring through a village in "La Rioja" and having people take pictures of me, village children playing some crazy song "N....de mierda", and lot's of other lovely comments.

When visiting the countryside, I've learned to keep my cool, what is taking a little longer for me comprehend are the stares, ignorant questions & comments, telling me I'm not black, that foreigners have more advantages than natives, that they turned black from working so hard, and on and on and on - in the center of the spanish capital!

I understand that as little as 10 years ago the sea of faces in Spain/Madrid was still more sepia than the rainbow it has grown to. I understand that having just come out of a Fuerte dictatorship, all of a sudden being flooded with hundreds of new languages, colores, smells, music, shapes, size, thoughts etc can be rough on a community that hasn't even had time to re-discover what spanish is. And though It doesn't make sense to me that there is still so much ignorance, it concerns me that this ignorance is being left unattended so long....because like moldy bread, that's the stuff that fungus infested things such as Racism grow from....

But then again, we're talking about a country that standing all by itself is at war, blind to it's own riches and confused about what it has to offer, what it should work for, it's place in the world, etc, etc....any relationship is difficult if you don't have your own bizness together.....So realizing that Spain has some growing up to do, I deal with these stares, ignorant questions and comments, etc,etc...thinking about how my BA, Conservatory, international work experience, various languages...etc, runs circles around the ignorance I'm sharing that moment with....I can only find the ironic humor in the situation, and when they ask me for example how I get all those curles in my hair, I respond, with a slight giggle, proud and strong, so that there is no room for silly contraditions - "duh, soy negra"

susieb said...

My family will be going to Barcelona in June 2013. We are black Americans. After reading these post, i'm kind of leery about going. My granddaughter will be graduating from high school next year and she wanted to visit Barcelona. Does anyone know of any safe places to stay that are close to the beach and shopping? We will be staying for 1 week. I had no idea that Spain hated blacks. I don't think i will be able to tolerate the stares.

Anonymous said...

Susieb, there is a huge difference between living there and going on a holiday. Spain is fine, in rural place all over Europe black faces are rare. But if you are an American tourist in barcelona you'll have plenty of fun and you'll mee awesome people.

Jos said...

I am a Spaniard living in the UK, my family is South American and we are obviously much darker than the rest. As far as I know neither me or anyone in my family has ever been treated badly... and we are in a very conservative area in the North.

Regarding looking at you; you may be right, people do look at you, however is something that Spanish people do and that I dislike of people in the UK. I like walking down the street in Spain and finding that people look at you in the eye, Spanish people find it unpleasant (at least I do) the English way, in which people walk right past you without any regard.

Consider this; maybe they are not looking at you because you are black, is something Spanish people (me included) do.

Anonymous said...

hi
I agree with ' AnonymousFeb 29, 2012 06:08 PM ' . Who cares if people look at you. Smile and walk on. Be less consumed by their thoughts and enjoy the sites you went to see. Show a positive and proud representation of Black people. Not one who looks as though they may have an inferiority issue. Some people

Sydelle Willow Smith said...

Hello!

I am a South African female photographer/filmmaker trained as a visual anthropologist. I am working on a long term project about deportation / displacement of foreign nationals from South Africa - but also on the flipside looking at how people make neighborhood when they live in South Africa and cross constructed boundaries of nationality and race - in a country where xenophobia is often rife....
so, I am applying to come to a residency in Spain called Jiwar (nieghborhood in arabic) through a scholarship program: http://www.africacentre.net/apply-for-air-2012

what i wanted to try find out from you is if there are communities of African nationals living near the Garcia district in barcelona that you are aware of based on the work you do? and any possible civic society/NGO groups that work with these communities that you could put me in touch with.

Also, my Spanish is at an intermediate level.

Thankyou for your time I admire your work.

Thanks,
--
--


Sydelle Willow Smith

Photographer / Videographer.

www.sydellewillowsmith.com

Danna Ferrarri said...

I am African American married to a Italian living in Italia the Northern part. At first people are not use to seeing many people of color yet they eventuelly warm up to you seeing your going no where. The church was where i found warmer people here in Tretino as well as Trento Italy
The Evangelica church i found alot of english speaking people The Catholic church two blocks away the Priest was welcoming
I would love to tour Black America through my town and surrounding areas

Danna Ferrarri said...

We have to make that World

Danna Ferrarri said...

I also live in North Italy Trento area finding my way the church Evangelica is good to start alot of english speaking people

susieb said...

Thanks, my granddaughter is looking forward to this trip as well as the rest of the family.

susieb said...

Where is the best place to stay in Barcelona for black Americans? My family will be making plans next month for our 2 week trip to Barcelona next year. Are there nice hotels close to a beach or should we rent a vacation home?

Lana said...

I'm an African American female that lived in the UK for several years and also traveled throughout Europe, Spain included. All I have to say to other people yet to visit Spain is put what you've read behind you and just experience it for yourself. Europeans in general no very little about "political correctness" as we come to view it in the States so there will be some culture shock that you experience in regards to what you see and hear from people. Having said that Spain is one of my all-time favorite places. I had the best experience staying in the Torremolinos area and visiting Mijas, Rhonda, Sevilla and many other parts of Spain. So far as the women preferring black men goes, I have no idea. As a black female in a tour group with young white american women I seemed to get all of the admiration. (This was back in the early 90's though, maybe things have changed). I had men following me off the tour bus, singing to me on the beach ignoring topless Spanish girls, and even one young guy who worked at the hotel going out of his way to service me and get my attention. Not to mention the beautiful beach off the coast of the Mediterranean as well as the epic architecture. I loved it! My uncle was stationed there with his wife and families were opening up their homes to them. I had friends who studied there and had many admirers calling them morena azucar.. or something to that effect. lol If I read these comments before I traveled I wouldn't go anywhere, which is a shame considering most black americans I know are just starting to expand their horizons and get out of the country. We need more of this not less. Having stated that I do appreciate people sharing their experiences. But I have to say give the Med countries a break. I've encountered some nasty Europeans in Britain, Belgium, and France as well as some nice ones. It all just depends. Anyway, keep an open mind

Sanza said...

Hello, has someone heard of this panafrican organization in Spain ? http://www.wanafrika.org/

Afro-Europe said...

It's new to me

Mr. P said...

Hi to everybody!
This is the best post I have seen so far. You just have to see the date that this was posted (2010) and the last comment (2012) it is obvious that this problems still here, it always has been.
The language barrier and the gap between Spain culture and the rest brings this ignorance in a form of fear. But really racisim is the same everywhere. But i want to give my point of view towars Spain just to make clear this is a global problem.
Fisrtable, we are all over the globe, there is african descentents everywhere, some startet when slavery otrers migrated, europe have the migration part. A lot of this migration is due to the colonies that this European citys had at the time, some where forced, some by their will, others to scape, a lot of african descentents came to study and a lot of them found love and had to stay

All this is new for spain. Im 27 years old and im half Haitian half Spainyard. I was born and raised in spain. I can say confident that spain it is in fact a racist country, but the question is this hate it originates in the ignorance thats why you would see how they change their mind towards you once they get to know you, but still, this ignorance turnded in to hate sometimes is dangerous. Having 2 cultures in your home gives you a double vision in this society so for me its very easy to identify all this situations. But thats life for a black person.
The biggest issue about " Blacks in spain" is that there isnt NO community establised, i dont think Europe has it either, instead what i see is a los of african descentent but they are "individual" or small groups. The comunity has the streng to fight against all this injusticies. Nowadays, you see blacks all over Europe with racist situation during daily basis, but it is just some behaviour that people show, therefore most of theses people feel they are living better than the old generations thats why they shouldn't complain.

If you find the right people you would have a lovely journey here in Spain. When i was growing up i thought i was the "last" african alive beause i didnt see any in the street, matter fact i used to get all excited when i saw one when i was a lil kid, but things started to change, at 18 i had to go away from spain because here i wasnt going anywhere, i was depressend i needed some blackness so i went to college in NY with my Haitian Family, where i found another type of racisim, it was more in the sistem, the sistem was desing to make them erase each other. The funny thing is that when im with my Haitian family they might joke arount and tell me im white because im light skin, but the real thing is that i was the darkest person in my whole class, and my grade, pobably i had suffered more racisim that my cousins in NY.

Another thing i saw is that black folks still are looking for a place to live, at the states blacks raised from the south to chicago, los angeles or NY, places where the blacks could be succesful. Nowadays people still belive that, caribian people would pick those citys and they are going to go straight to the hood. Blacks in europe, specially youngs think the same, everybody is looking for that place, the funny thing is that NO ONE think about AFRICA, so at the end you find a lot of high level human capital makin money for all these countries, but thats just me.

part1 Mr P.

Mr. P said...

If anybody want any information regarding Spain i would love to share it! You would see how nice is to see how different we are and at the same time how similar we are. (kennyken-@hotmail.com)

"All History is current; all injustice continues on some level, somewhere in the world." - Alice Walker”

What i always wonder is ...what this generation its going to do? I mean i would love to know what a guy like Fred Hampton would have done for this society, he was murdered at 22 years old... Or even Mumia abu Jamal! He still alive, so all this is not long ago, its just society is moving to fast. We should use all this tools and apply this knowledge to everything we do!2012 this society has created all theses tools so we can take advantage of them.
Here are some link from blacks in Spain!

One Love! We are all One!

Mr P.

John said...

Saludos Mr.P.!
Thanks for sharing your information on Spain! I have never been to Spain, but would love to go there. I really want to interact with African descendants from Africa, Santo Domingo, Cuba, the United States, or wherever, while I'm there. Unfortunately, I have not found too many organizations that deal specifically with Blacks in Spain, but there is one that truly looks interesting. It is an African Reparations group that seeks to address the issue of enslavement of Africans in the Americas, and in particular the role that Spain played in this. http://www.reparacionafricana.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Do you know of any nice places for blacks to stay in Barcelona? My family's planning a vacation trip there next year for 2 weeks. And we are trying to find somewhere to stay.

Anonymous said...

You could leave message at http://ilovebarcelonaspain.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

I'm a single black female of West African descent but I'm a born and bred Londoner. I've travelled the Europe extensively both with friends and also solo. I recently returned from a solo trip to Barcelona and I've never witnessed and received such appalling racism.

From the jump off, I got alot of cold and unfriendly stares largely from middle aged women despite not dressing like an obvious tourist. However, that may have been the biggest problem. To be frank, anyone who says there isn't a problem with racism in Spain is seriously deluded.

The spanish think very lowly of black people (this is supported by the only black people I encountered during my 4 day stay was the maid and a few road maintenance workers!!) particularly black females. The spanish regard all fully black (chocolate-brown) females as prostitutes plain and simple. There's been a recent explosion of black females from West Africa largely Senegal working as prostitutes concentrating around the Las Ramblas area but this shouldn't equate with all black females being treated as potential prostitutes.

Anyway, everywhere I went, men (including elderly men) stared at me, cat calling and whistling to get my attention and the older women made me feel like crap. Some women walked by me and called me a "puta" despite the fact that I was dressed very modestly in jeans and dark clothing. The poor treatment only eased off when I walked around carrying a guide book or a map - they seemed to be less aggressive towards me when they realised I was a tourist, and therefore would be leaving their country at some point! During my visit there, I was deliberately barged several times mainly by middle aged females, the staff at the hotel I was staying in literally ignored me, I accidentally brushed past a local girl touching her arm and she shrieked wiping her arm as though my skin tone had rubbed off her.

My advice for any black female considering travel to Barcelona as a solo traveller, is think very carefully before you travel. I was very disappointed and angry at my treatment in Barcelona. The local Spanish people came across as very ignorant, racist and unfriendly which was a shame as the Spanish economy is very troubled at the moment so if they continue to drive away ethnic minority tourists with such poor treatment, I can't see things improving for them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks

Anonymous said...

What hotel did you stay in?

oropezaDigital said...

I am a Spanish-English white person living in Madrid and I can say with knowledge that racism is not compatible with Spanish values, we are a friendly open society in general contrary to the Northern European hipocresy where they need policies and laws to pretend they are open to other races but then closed-doors it is a different matter, in Spain if we feel unconfortable with something we say it.

Yes, some people in Spain unfortunately only has been exposed to the worst of Africa (women traffickers, enslaved prostitutes, drug lords, killers ect) and they are having a hard time understanding that is only a minority that got it really easy to enter Spain since we are the gates of Europe.

I live in a traditional white neibourhood in Madrid and the few blacks here that make an effort to be integrated and bring something into the community are well-respected and annoyingly sometimes people treat them even better as if they were heros for living a normal life.

I look forward to a multicultural Spain but I don't think the UK-US race system will work here, we have had a sad past of separatism in Spain and we don't need now black Spaniards as a different layer of society, we just want everyone to embrace the values of openess and pull in the same direction, we need that more than ever here.

Just a piece of advice to Blacks coming to Spain; stop seeing yourself differently because I think that is part of the problem, seriously, we are all made of the same stuff, we wanna be able to talk to someone at the same level and skip the race filter.

Daniel

Ms. Azizi Powell said...

Daniel, regarding your advice to "Blacks coming to Spain", I'm curious how you think Black people should "stop seeing themselves differently" when we are treated or may be treated differently just because of our skin color.

Furthermore, the way Black people are viewed and treated in Spain is not just about Black people visiting in Spain, it is also about Black Spainards, that is to say Black people born in Spain and Black people who have lived in Spain for years.
[Full disclosure- I'm an African American and not a Black Spaniard.]

In your comment, you indicate that Black people are viewed differently in Spain because of our race and you include what you believe are reasons for those views. I have no way of knowing the veracity of your statements, but I wonder if it's true that all or even most African immigrants to Spain engage in that types of activities you describe.

In your comment you also use a racial descriptor for your neighborhood, indicating that it is a "traditional white neibourhood in Madrid". You also wrote that Black people should "skip the race filter". I wonder, Daniel, if you believe that White people are the only ones who can use racial terms, and White people are the only ones who can act upon an assessment of people based upon race?

It seems to me that you think that color blindness is supposed to only go one way and that non-White people are held to a different standard than White people. It also seems to me that if Black people aren't alert to the possiblility of different treatment (particularly negative treatment) because of our skin color, then we may be physically and psychologically vulnerable to prejudicial or racist attacks or other treatment based on our race.

I wonder what the "multicultural Spain" you mention in your comment would be like. Do you think that people are supposed to put aside any part of their culture that isn't part of traditional Spanish culture? How then would that be "multicultural"? (Not to mention my earlier statement that some Black people are natural born Spaniards whose culture may not be different than Spaniards of other races, or their experiences may be different than White Spaniards because of how they are treated by that population because of their skin color.

I wish for and work for a time when a person's race will be just a descriptor that has neither positive or negative valuation. But we're not at that time yet.

Finally, Daniel, I appreciate that you have found this blog, as I did and taken the time to write a comment on this blog, as I and other people around the world have. It seems to me that greater knowledge and more intercultural and interracial communication are ways of working for real multicultural societies.

oropezaDigital said...

Hi Azizi,

Thanks for taking the time to reply.
You asked how Black people can stop seeing themselves differently and I can tell you how I guarantee you that 90% of Spaniards will treat you really well if approached in a friendly open way and you make a small effort to be nice, the same effort we Spaniards do when we get out of our borders. Stop thinking you are black and start acting like you are human, get that black/white concept out of your head and I promise you people will see you differently.

You also mentioned that white people are the only ones that use racial descriptions, to be honest I have lived in three different countries (UK, US and Spain) and I know people of all races and nationalities and today is the first time I am using the adjective white Spanish and that is only to illustrate a point, actually when I say I live in a traditional white neighbourhood is because I wanted to make a point saying that despite being an area that is proud of its traditional Spanish values people have been very welcoming to a black minority that has recently come to live here and it is mainly composed of young professional couples that are living here and setting up businesses, in a few words if there was an area prone to be racist in the whole of Madrid is mine, however people from other races that have come here to settle down and are honest and hard-working have been received open-arms by the community and have even challenged the mentality of some.

The multicultural Spain I dream with is one that everyone brings the best of their culture and everything blends in nicely, we don't like ghettos. I invite you to read Spanish history, it is one plagued with separatism and struggle for religions and differences and for first time in history we are becoming one after centuries of hard work, our society cannot take a race system, it is either we are all Spanish and pull in the same direction or we fail as a country forever.

Perhaps another reason why some Spaniards might appear rude to blacks is because many black persons has come here to live in ghettos and they have not interest whatsoever to blend in.

I do accept to certain extent that there is a percentage of people in Spain that are racist and I don't support that however I think that is mostly down to ignorance that anything else I maintain that racism is not a Spanish thing.
And finally yes, I must admit, there is a tiny minority of idiots in this country that are truly racist and think all black people are delinquents, fortunately it is a really small and frowned upon minority and they don't have any political influence.

Ms. Azizi Powell said...

Daniel, I want to correct a statement that you attributed to me. In your second comment, you wrote that "[I] also mentioned that white people are the only ones that use racial descriptions"...

I did not write that. I wrote "I wonder, Daniel, if you believe that White people are the only ones who can use racial terms, and White people are the only ones who can act upon an assessment of people based upon race?"

For the record, I believe that people can use non-pejorative racial referents like "Black" and "White" and not be racist. Likewise, I also believe that a person who thinks of themselves as a Black woman (as I do) is thinking of myself as human. In other words, in this context, "race" can be as neutral and as valid a descriptor as "gender", "age", "height", "weight", and "geographical location". Would you recommend to people to consider themselves as human but not as female or male? I reject this division.

Furthermore, as I stated before in my first comment to you, I believe that if people are in a situation where they could encounter racists, they should be alert to that possibility - which doesn't mean that they prejudge everyone or every situation, or that they live in fear or anger.

Also, with regard to you comment that "Perhaps another reason why some Spaniards might appear rude to blacks is because many black persons has come here to live in ghettos and they have not interest whatsoever to blend in", I assume from your comment that "ghettos" means a separate neighborhood and not a poor heighborhood which is currently the most often used definition in the USA.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ghetto gives this definition: "A usually poor section of a city inhabited primarily by people of the same race, religion, or social background, often because of discrimination."

"Discrimination" in that definition probably means that those people were prohibited by business practices or laws from moving out of those communities.

I take it from your comments that you are saying that is not the case in Spain. Good.

However, if the cultural "blending" doesn't happen the same ways or as fast as you might want it to occur, that is no reason for having negative attitudes about certain populations. Furthermore, in my opinion, "multiculturalism" can accept multiple populations desire to retain aspects of their culture - for instance, their music, and dance, and food preferences. Those aspects from other cultures can stand together, not be mushed into some grayish pulp. That's not my definition of multiculturalism.

Mr P said...

Spain started reciving Inmigrants 40 years, Spain is ignorant, im born here my pops is African Amerian, Haitian, who lives in spain and is a doctor, we were discussin yesterday how the F we are going to feel spainyards when every single day they remind you you are not spanish, i got so many funny stories that prove how ignorants spainyars are, that happend becaus that superiority feeling they have.
When You think you know it all then... there are few things that you are going to learn so that means that they keep fallin with the same rock.
I repeat, its not all spanish people, but the mases are IGNORANT, if you search in google Spain is... the first thing they say is RACIST.
Pleas daniel dont act like you support this people im sure it hurts when they generalize, but is the truth, its coming from people that have felt hurt, what you should do is teach your people, thats how you can help, because you coment didnt at all

Anonymous said...

so true

Anonymous said...

Money and power is the cure for Blacks everywhere. It appears that there is a depleting level of well educated blacks coming out of africa. This may be due to politics, but it's the only place... besides some carribean islands...that blacks call home. Racism exist wherever you are not indigent and one should expect that. The only way to deal with it is increase your education and financial status so that you can travel anywhere in style without caring who has a problem with it.

If you live in a foreign country whether it is Europe UK or US, expect some racial anxiety, but money and power nulifies those racial experiences. There are many powerful black men and women in the world and I would dare any Spaniard/European/UK whites to disrespect them.

I love what I'm seeing in Asia. India is producing lots of inteligent people and they travel to many countries with honor and respect. Even though Blacks are spread out, all we need is one Black country start investing in our inteligence and watch how quickly things change.

truth2011 said...

I'm not sure how or why you call the US a "foreign country." We've been here hundreds of years. This is our country. We built it.

Europe and the UK you can call foreign.

Anonymous said...

A m8 from uni asked me to go to Ibiza with him, im going to be the only black guy out of us if i choose to go plus he asked another black m8 of his to come but he pulled out. I wonder if this is because of spain's reputation.

I am black british. And i have been having second thaughts hence coming across this website. I will only be there for 4 days but i cant be asked with the descrimination, i dont speack spanish, and im not one to stay where i dont feel welcome.

I dont feel i would be able to have fun in the clubs, in fact i dont even think the bouncres will let me in (there are many dodgy bouncers even in the UK) Seems more like a hassle then a vacation.

But i still havent decided yet, what clubs do you know of that play western music? like RnB? or where i would find other tourists?

PGA.

John said...

Check out the post by "anonymous" on this thread from March 18, 2012. He is an Ethiopian who gave me the impression that Ibiza is NOT hostile to Blacks like the cities in mainland Spain. I also have heard that there is a sizable Afro-European tourist market that vacations in Ibiza.

I've never been to Spain or its islands, but wouldn't mind exploring Ibiza and the Canary Islands. They seem to be far more Black-friendly.

Erin said...

Hi Susieb,

I'm a black female American currently living in Barcelona for 5 weeks. This is my fourth time in Barca and I love it. I've been traveling through Spain for the last 3 months and haven't encountered any acts of racism. I've met people in Madrid, Seville & Cadiz and everyone has been extra eager to show me why Spain is a wonderful place through their actions. I believe it's all about attitude and if your open to their culture and country, they will welcome you and your family.

You and your family will have no problems, because Barcelona is very diverse and you will see all shades while visiting the city.
I've stayed in hotels near Las Ramblas but not sure of anything near the beach. I'm currently renting an apartment through airbnb.com which may be a better option since you are staying for 2 weeks with your family.

If you do decide to stay in a hotel near the beach check the distance from the clubs b/c there are many clubs directly on the beach and the Barca nightlife doesn't end until the sun rises. Also check trip advisor for hotel options, they provide a map and it has always been a good guide for me in selecting accommodations.
Enjoy your travels.

Anonymous said...

I think you are missing the point. The US/UK/rest of the EU ARE foreign countries if you are speaking from the point of view of a person from Spain. EVERYTHING outside of Spain is a 'foreign country'. There is good in the post if you can extract it- and stop being offended for a minute.

B Lee said...

I am an American black female and lived outside of Torrevieja a few years ago. The village life for me and my (bi racial) children was fine. We did not experience the in your face kind of racism. There were a lot of white British people that lived in the village too, so it was easy to communicate and meet people.
I wanted to return with my family and set up a black hair salon. Does anyone know if that is a viable business there- where I lived there was only one british salon... and it didnt cater to my families hair types.

Raf_Hollister09 said...

This could also be the fact that the black population in Spain is small compared to the rest of the population.

Raf_Hollister09 said...

That doesn't give them an excuse to hate on black people for something that happened that long ago. If anything if that is the reason some Spaniards still hate on blacks then that itself is ignorance. The world is constantly changing and people need to stop defining people by the color of their skin when in actuality everyone has the same biology.

Maximep said...

Alas, someone who is not deluded. I married a Spaniard two years ago, and I am a Canadian from Jamaican and French Dominican descent. I know about beautiful islands and great weather... yet beautiful black people with other beautiful ethnicities living in these islands. I came here and was appalled at the level of ignorance in many Spaniards here , considering that Barcelona is so well marketed in Europe. Spain has a lot of beauty but the issue in a lot of case is the ignorance (even in 2012). I am an English teacher in Barca and I usually open the discussion of culture diversity here, it s amazing to hear their thoughts on other culture here.
To be honest they are usually cold towards people they are ignorant to. It is a shame that you felt alienated here on your holidays to boot. I tell mi husband the same thing about the Spaniards needing to change their perceptions of other cultures because the most powerful advertising is wordof mouth. If it is being sent out with negative feedback. Spain will lose. It is kinda bad because I had already warned my family to expect people to stare and expect people to give bad service and not speak English in most tourist restaurant unless they are 4 or 5 ***s
I had to explain the difference between other ethnicities moving to the Caribbean and Ethnicities moving to Spain..The locals arent so angry. (lol). Which brings me to my other point. Local Catalans talk about Barca having the beautiful weather and beaches, yet a lot of them look so miserable and at time hostile to some blacks. I ask my husband this question...He still can't give me an answer.. (lol)

ElsaRosen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ElsaRosen said...

Estimados Amigos:

Estoy interesada en vivir en España
por un año, pero después de leer
los comentarios de cada persona
me encuentro indecisa. ¿Cómo seria
vivir en una zona comoda en España
siendo una joven de tez oscura? Por favor
compartan conmigo sus experiencias,
sugerencias y/o punta de vista,
y si prefieren hacerlo en espacio
privado por favor comuníquense conmigo
a mi correo electrónico escrito arriba.
Gracias de antemano por tomarse el
tiempo de compartir sus experiencias.

Un atento y cordial
saludo,

Elsa

ElsaRosen said...

Dear T.J.,

Which of the major cities in
Spain are the safest?

Thank you,

Elsa

ElsaRosen said...

Dear Friends:

I am interested in
living in Spain for
one year to master
the Spanish language;
however, I feel a bit
apprehensive after
reading the comments
shared by each
blogger.

If you wish to share
your thoughts and/or
experience in a more
private atmosphere
you may e-mail me at
elsagrosen@hotmail.com .
Any advice on the subject
would be kindly appreciated!

I am glad to have
found this site.

Elsa

ElsaRosen said...

I must confess that the
racial civil war between
The Cains (Whites or Albinos)
and The Abels ("Colored")
can be irritating, yet
entertaining.

Ninaas said...

Day, you are so right. I thought I looked like a "Black American" by default, but I was presumed a Caribbean Latina when I visited Europe in '00 and '01. I was followed in stores while in Spain, and accused of being a prostitute while in Italy. Not cool. The minute I'd tell someone I was American (and being grilled to see if I was lying), everything would change up--smiles and friendliness. Pretty irritating to say the least.

John said...

BLACK SPANISH YOUTH DAY-OCTOBER 19, 2012! For more details,schedule of events and celebrations, and a look at their poster (in Spanish and English) go to the sponsoring organization's website:
http://www.foja-jovenesnegros.blogspot.com

Afro-Europe said...

John, interesting event, I will post the information.

John said...

Thanks a lot, Afro-Europe! It would be fantastic if someone here @ the forum attended the all-day event and posted their findings.
http://www.foja-jovenesnegros.blogspot.com

Wesley said...

I have just moved to Sevilla, stunning city and nice friendly people, I am mixed race British, parents are Jamaican and Italian

So far i have experienced no hostility, ignorance or anything negative really, maybe this is due to me not being 'fully' black I dont know, it might have a lot to do with th fact that I have been mainly socializing with educated middle class people who seem to see me primarily as British rather than non-Caucasian?, and are very eager to talk to me as improving ones English has become very vogue and important in Spain as people need the lanague to improve their work prospects...

I was very anxious about coming here, I know from football that the Spanish have a reputation as arguably the most overt racists in W.Europe? (huge generalization I know) but as I say so far the worst I have experienced is a few mildly curious/hostile stares from the very old generation and I get more that in London!

In fact I was made to feel far more self-conscious about my ethnicity on my trips to the States where it seemed everyone was race obsessed, nt racist per se, but very keen on pigeon-holing, stereo-typing and allocating interests and characteristics based on race, ofetn refusing to seeing me as British or mixed and sole as black (I personally reject the 'one drop' premise)

anyway, Im here to learn Spanish (which I am absolutely loving and making great strides in compared to my abortive attempt to learn French). Sevilla has quite an international scene, I've met a lot of Germans, Greeks, Americans and French here, so maybe that accounts for me slightly less of a novelty though I have seen only a handful of black or mixed race people in the city, which fro reasons I dont has a sizable Asiatic minority

I hope to live here a few years and teach English, I would say to anyone considering moving here not to be put off by what you may have heard, and thats not to say there is no chance you will not experience some kind of discrimination, but where on Earth will not? In England I have received a lot of hostility from Africans who look down Carribeans and Carribeans who look down on me mixed,

I think that if more 'people of colour' came to Spain then after a while this will help to dilute the Spanish ignorance about us, because ignorance is just an absence or knowledge or understanding, and I belive teh more exposure they have black and mixed people the more they will learn, otherwise how else will they know?

I have heard crazy ignorant statements from Americans, British, Europeans, Asians and Africans (most offensively ignorant people I have met last month have been a Belgian and New Zealander, ostentatiously liberal countries) about other races and cultures, it doenst bother me too much, compared to overt active hate...the worlds a big complex place and ignorance is to be expected about things, god knows im sure i hold some erroneous beliefs about people and places, prob without even realizing!

I know this might seem arrogant or even deluded but I hope and believe that becoming a teacher here I can help to show and educate people taht there black and mixed race people are just as capable of being intelligent, respected and productive as anyone else, and show a different side that perhaps what they have exclusively been exposed to here (the only Africans I have seen here are orange sellers and street vendors, nothing wrong with that all, i respect anyone willing to do such hard and thankless tasks to feed their family but that is not all black people are capable of!, neither are we limited to sports or music!) in an ideal world this lesson would be obvious and self evident, but we dont live in an ideal world and personally i would rather help shed some light in the world than moan and bitch about the darkness...

anyway sorry for long post, just had a lot to get of chest: great site, if anyone is new and alone in Sevilla like me, drop m a line!

Afro-Europe said...

Wesly, thanks for the comment. There is no such thing as a long post, it's the content that matters.

Anonymous said...

Hi im PGA i made a post on AnonymousJuly 14, 2012 8:48 PM
i have now returned from ibiza and i had a really good time there, i visited many clubs and the west end and had a lot of fun the people there were friendly. the hotel staff were very helpful. by favourite was bora bora beach that is my favourite beack. So many afro europeans there and other tourists i definitely recommend it.

PGA

BlkViking said...

First off, I love this site. Great, necessary work! Kudos to you Afro-Europe!

Secondly, I'm a Swedish and American dual citizen of mixed black and white heritage who has lived in both Madrid and Barcelona. So, though I have two GREAT passports, I look like a tawny Dominican/Brazilian (and therefore, the collective Spanish mind instantly categorizes me into their antiquated racial strata and hierarchy). Oh, and I'm also somewhat militant (of the Malcom X variety) with a Brooklyn attitude...and so began my problems in Madrid and Barcelona. :)

To be fair, I've met many Spaniards that I call friend to this day, who are humanistic, "conscious," worldly, open, kind, tolerant and big-hearted. Having said that, I have also encountered my fair share of ignorant, narrow-minded, narcissistic, brain dead peons (young and old) desperately clinging to an outdated value system. But, interestingly enough, I discovered that my treatment and reception differed greatly according to whether I was alone, with white Spaniards (as well as other white Europeans), or blacks and obvious non-whites (Spaniard or otherwise).

I am tall, well comported, a professional and I project confidence and if I'm being totally honest, a touch of entitlement (as I should, and everyone else as well seeing as how this is everyone's earth, everyone's land, regardless of political and national borders!). Besides, as far as I'm concerned, if a country participated in imperialism, colonialism and/or the slave trade, by default, I should be entitled to emotional “reparations, “ if not financial ones! lol Anyway, this is the aura that I project and so, outside of some curious stares (like why is this Dominican walking into Louis Vuitton??), I was never outwardly harassed while alone, in Spain. I think that my perceived class outweighed my “race” and so I wasn’t received as some blood thirsty third world immigrant trying to sponge off of their horribly failing economy. Also, my face tends to subliminally say “don’t f*** with me!”

Now, when accompanied by white Spaniards, never a problem outside of curious stares. Perhaps, that was because of 1.) that confidence thing I spoke of, 2.) I’m not completely negro and/or 3.) that I seemingly shared a similar “class” with the people who accompanied me. I feel ridiculous even uttering this type of conjecture, but it is what it is. I didn’t encounter major race related issues until I hung out with Africans, other types of “black,” and non-whites. I heard everything from monkey calls, to flat out being called apes and monkeys, bananas being thrown, the whole enchilada. Once again, I am from Brooklyn, so needless to say, I was arrested twice (thank god for American and Swedish passports!). Now, I don’t advise violence (necessarily) but it’s been my experience that bullies will harass you when they think you won’t fight back, are outnumbered, alone and that no one will come to your aid. But 9 times out of 10, as soon as you show some aggression, they fall back like the cowards they generally are. ONCE AGAIN, I don’t advise that, but sometimes and in certain situations, it is necessary. The aggressive racists, who many times, are narcissistic and sociopathic, see those who are “passive” as weak and deserving of mistreatment. And there have been too many instances in Europe where that has gotten people killed. All I know is that if I go, I'm taking a few with me. :)



truth2011 said...

That's the attitude BlkViking that you have to have. You're doing Spain a favor spending your money there and they seem to forget that. Every time I hear on the news about how the youth is rioting in Spain due to austerity, I can't help but laugh. They're getting a taste of their own medicine.

The Spanish people I have seen aren't very cultured and accepting of people that are different. (They're people of color too!) If I want this kind of condescending behavior, I'd go to the Southern States. Even our poor states are richer than Spain, so you have to put that in perspective. The racist Spaniards you encounter are just basura cafe, not basura blanca.

And, I, too, would like to say that the Spanish aren't all racists. Most are very nice people. But the few, which end up being a lot, that stare and give dirty looks need to venture outside of Spain a little more.

Afro-Europe said...

PGA, thanks for coming back and sharing the info with us!

Afro-Europe said...

BlkViking thanks for the comment. That's quite an experience. It seems that Spain just like Greece is losing its civilisation.

Anonymous said...

Hello All,
I am writing a book and one of my main characters is of mixed decent. I wanted his mother to be from Spain but of African decent. I was trying to be as detailed about where in Spain she is from because with his skin complexion (he looks white with no indicators of his mothers African traits), race is a major part of how he became the man he is. I came upon this site and it has been very insightful, however, it has left me wondering where in Spain would be the best place to say his mother is from...a place his grandparents and half sisters still live? The family is not poor and are well educated...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Coming To You Soon

Chico-Rei said...

When you say of African decent, where in Africa do you mean, because there are alot of Spanish people who look North African especially in the South because of the moors, and for this reason Spanish people in places like Madrid hate people from the South, when you say African decent you have to be more specific.

Chico-Rei said...

I agree totally with Blk Viking. I'm a black man who carries himself with pride as well, I'm black and proud of it, when Spanish people see this pride they look some what shocked and even more shocked when I say I'm from England, Spanish people even the rich ones aren't very cultured, They still have very outdated views of the world like all English people are white and talk like Prince William.

I live in Madrid and I have to say people from Madrid hate everyone, this is how it goes first it's African Immigrants, then it's South Americans of colour which is the black and Native American looking Latinos, then it's people from the South.

All these three groups of people are the friendlist people you find in Madrid.

Once Spanish people realise you are an English speaker they are nice to you, because they realise they need you, but you still find their outdated views creeping in from time to time.

They are a brainwashed bunch of people who are very proud of Spanish culture but don't know their history, ask a Spanish person about their history before the 14th century and they look at you bewildered, tell them that the moors were running the country and they either look at you confused or will disagree with you vigorously.

They think they are very friendly, but the only time they are friendly is if they are drunk.

I've lived here for one year now and have only made one Spanish friend and he's a black Spaniyard, the only other Spanish speakers I've made friends with are Dominican, who are some of the nicest people you could ever meet, when I tell Spanish people I am friends with Dominican they look at me strange, one Spanish guy I work with who is quiet liberal for a Spanish person, told me to be careful because they are all in gangs, the whole time I've been with Dominicans I've got nothing but kindness from them. They even try to speak English with me, this is the kind of talk you get Spanish people. Ignorant talk.

Here in Madrid everything is very segregated, and I have found the women more racist than the men, I'm not really a big fan of them, I prefer latinas who Spanish people call prostitutes which couldn't be further from the truth if you see a black man with a white woman the chances are he's not from Spain or they are both latino it's the same vice versa there is an area here which they call the ghetto but it's nothing like a ghetto it's just a place where you find Africans from all over Africa and gypsies this is the only place in Madrid where races mix freely.

Spanish people are fiercly proud of Spain but to be honest I'm confused to what they are so proud of.

Anonymous said...

His mother's father was born in Zimbabwe and her mother is from Spain. At least that was the original idea until I happened upon this site and read all the comments. Now I wonder would that be a realistic idea.

Chico-Rei said...

You might be better to say Equatorial Guinea which is an African country that speaks Spanish, they are alot of them in Madrid. To be honest I can't talk for the rest of Spain but here in Madrid I haven't met too many mixed raced people from Spain I've met two and that is now days so in the time you're talking about it might be very strange, but that might be what makes the book good, but I don't know the whole concept of your book

Wesley said...

i had dinner with a female spanish friend last night, and she told me about the history of the cathedral and its Moorish and Islamic roots, of whihc she seemed sort of proud of...

you make almost as many generalizations about the Spanish as you accuse them of making about black people, what exactly is the difference with a Spanish person saying 'blacks are x', and you saying 'Spanish are backwards and ignorant'? genuine question, i dont see the difference, both are pretty racist and ignorant, sure you can make generalizations, as human beings we kinda have to, life it too complex and e need to simplify in order to make sense and live day to day but im not sure i see any difference between what you are saying and what you are accusing the Spanish of?

you bemoan the fact that Spanish people are ignorant of pre 14th century but (a) where i live most people i know are very well away of the Moorish/Arabic tradition and influence and (b) as a history graduate from England I can say that a lot of English peopel are extremely ignorant of English history and the international influence, most people i have asked are even unaware that teh English monarch comes from GErmany and only changed the House name to Windsor as little as 80 years ago due to anti-German sentiment at the start of the War

also i find Spanish (or at least Andalucian) to be very 'accepting' of me as a non white English perosn in as much as when they ask me where im from and im say England, that is the answer, end of. In England, Belgium and Belgium there is often the follow up question of, 'no I mean where are you really from? or 'where is your family from?' asthey have trouble accepting non white English people and ant to get down to my ethnic ethnicity, even though my father was alos born in UK (his mother was born in Jamiaca)

I have heard that people in MAdrid are less friendly and welcoming in Madrid, so Im not saying you are wrong but it sounds you are judging a whole people by your Madrid experience and one thing I have learnt is that in Spain, way more so than in UK where it is also the case, each region has a very distinct identity. Even in the UK i would say it absurd to judge all English people on one city. Eg Im from London but I find Londoners rather rude and obnoxious and much prefer the company of Mancunians, just a perosnal preference but it illustartes that there is difference between the south, NW, NE, coast and London, in Spain the differences are so much greater, Spain is virtually a federal state in terms of culture

i think people who come from such a centralized and unitary state as UK are often ignorant of the great regional differences in culture, identity and even language in countries like Spain because it so alien to us

"Spanish people are fiercly proud of Spain but to be honest I'm confused to what they are so proud of."

substitute the word Spanish for Black and you would be outraged, no?

sounds hypocritical to me...

Wesley said...

BLKVIKING

" I have also encountered my fair share of ignorant, narrow-minded, narcissistic, brain dead peons (young and old) desperately clinging to an outdated value system. "

This applies to most if not all nations, and especially so in the US (just see the tea party and Republican party the last 2 years)

"But, interestingly enough, I discovered that my treatment and reception differed greatly according to whether I was alone, with white Spaniards (as well as other white Europeans), or blacks and obvious non-whites (Spaniard or otherwise)."

This is interesting, i have not had chance to experince if there is a change in how i am treated if i was in a group with other non-whites, i have walked around a fellow student who is african-american and noticed no difference but it was ony a short walk around town

"Besides, as far as I'm concerned, if a country participated in imperialism, colonialism and/or the slave trade, by default, I should be entitled to emotional “reparations, “ if not financial ones lol"

i am in no way in a defender or apologist for Western colonialism or imperialism, but it galls me that so many people proud of their African heritage are unaware of that fact that Africa had Empires and Kingdoms before Europeans, and practiced slavery as well. Slavery is not a European invention, see the Oyo and Ashanti Empire of West Africa, not to mention the Empires of North Africa. The image, made popular i guess by shows and books like roots, of slaves being captured by White imperialist is only half the story as many Africans sold and traded black slaves to Europeans.

BlkViking said...

@ WESLEY

"This applies to most if not all nations, and especially so in the US (just see the tea party and Republican party the last 2 years)"

And so, what is your point?

In my opinion, the US is still one of the most racist countries in the world. If every country has a national "illness," Racism is America's. But that does not make racism in Spain moot. Most here are talking about their own PERSONAL experiences in regards to distinctly Spanish racism.

I've lived all over the US, in big cities and small cities, throughout the North-east, South-east, Mid-West, South-West, etc... Though I have experienced various forms of racism, NONE of those experiences have ever been more pronounced than those encountered in Spain. Now, I know of black Americans who have encountered staggering, violent bouts of racism in the United States. But that is not MY experience.

"i am in no way in a defender or apologist for Western colonialism or imperialism, but it galls me that so many people proud of their African heritage are unaware of that fact that Africa had Empires and Kingdoms before Europeans, and practiced slavery as well. Slavery is not a European invention, see the Oyo and Ashanti Empire of West Africa, not to mention the Empires of North Africa. The image, made popular i guess by shows and books like roots, of slaves being captured by White imperialist is only half the story as many Africans sold and traded black slaves to Europeans."

"Unware" that Africans practiced slavery? LOL Talk about patronizing and condescending. Personally, it's far more "galling" that you seem to be unaware of the often STARK differences between Intra-African (Sub-saharan) slavery and the slave trade executed by Europeans.

In MOST cases, slavery practiced within Sub-saharan Africa was more like indentured servitude than anything else. And it wasn't predicated on the basis of racial and religious inferiority. Slaves were often spoils of war and though enslaved, were not restricted from basic HUMAN rights. The children of slaves could be born free; freedom could even be purchased; slaves could marry "legally." Slaves were often integrated into the family structure. Slaves were not sub-human beasts of burden and chattel, whose bodies could be desecrated and abused for that very reason. What's even more insidious is that European slave owners and traders didn't just seek to subvert and dehumanize the black body, they sought to conquer the black mind; to erase his HUMAN and existential identity, his sense of BEING. EVIL.

Learn YOUR history before you chide me about knowing mine because you sound exactly like what you claim not to be, a naive, deluded apologist.

Anonymous said...

In addition to being a naive, deluded apologist, he sounds like he's practicing the old "false equivalencies" argument.

It never ends well when you take that route.

-Truth2011

Chico-Rei said...

wow Wesley are you even serious with your post, yes black people did have great kingdoms but because of the racism of Europeans we don't get to learn about it in Europe when we study History, which should really be called European history not history, you can't even compare the slavery Europeans done with the slavery in Africa, black people still feel the effects of it now, and it wasn't even just the slavery as white people always say, it was after slavery the fact that white people still destroyed everything black people done, like Black wall street, Rosewood, putting crack in the black community the KKK and bombing churches with children in,and then stealing, raping and looting Africa this is beyond evil. Please don;t even compare the two.

BlkViking said...

lol Precisely! And what's worse, is that he says his father is Jamaican, which means that he is also a descendant of the enslaved. And the atrocities committed against slaves on Jamaica are amongst the most barbaric, horrific and egregious of all the nations where slavery occurred. I've actually been to his father's homeland several times and visited the Institute of Jamaica where I saw FIRSTHAND, the torture devices used to keep slaves in line;one of the worst being the tongue restraint. It looked like Hannibal Lecter's worst nightmare. It fit around the head and mouth and depressed the tongue so that the wearer couldn't speak or eat. For "mild" punishments, it was used to starve slaves and at worst, it was used to shove human excrement down their throats. YES, I'm sure that was a staple amongst intra-African slavery. NOT. Simply discussing these things pains my heart and enrages me.

This is why I have no tolerance for the willfully and blissfully ignorant. I don't know what Kool-Aid he's been drinking or who's been giving it to him. All I know is that it's sickeningly artificially sweetened. And if he doesn't want diabetes, he needs to change his diet.

Sanza said...

Chico-Rei and other Black people in Spain, why don't you meet and give us account Wanafrika , this Panafrican organization: http://www.wanafrika.org/

I am curious about what they do :)

Wesley said...

@BlkViking

I think you have missed my point, which is fair enough as I think maybe I missed your original point too

I was not comparing African to European slavery, all slavery imho is eveil and abhorrent, and what teh Europeans practiced was one of the greatest crimes of human civilization of which the effects may never go away. I agree totally with you about the systematic inhumane, cruel and barbaric treatment of slaves by Europeans put to the pail anything done by the African slave trade, my only point and i apologize as i t was based on an assumption was that slavery has existed in many forms all over the world preceding the European one.

my assumption was that i assumed that you feel no 'entitlement' in african countries that participated in the slave trade, whether inter-Africa or with Europeans. if i am incorrect in this assumption please accept my genuine apology, but if you feel no negative feelings about african slave trade then I have to say I disagree with you.

just because it was not nearly as barbaric as the europenas doesn't make it right, also not all inter-African slaves were treated as well as you have said, and their did exist a raial (tribal) element, and some tribes were treated as 'less than' by other tribes, though of course not nearly to the degree with which europeans treated africans

my point was only that you said you felt 'entitled to reparations' from any country that had practiced slavery or imperialism, and i was questioning whether that applied to all nations to engage in these pursuits or just european ones?

I apologize for wording it in a clumsy and offensive way but that was all i was getting at. You are very mistaken if you think i equate african slavery with european but you are also wrong if you think just because one was much much worse than the other then both are ok

and the only reason i bring up this point at all, as well as the comparison with the US, is the tone of a lot of posters on here seem to attribute a lot of neg characteristics to Spain and the Spanish as if it is unique to them or more overly pronounced

my overall labored and inarticulate point is that a lot of things that are negative in Spain are present everywhere in the world. Of course this does not excuse them or make them unworthy of comment, but i think they need to be context, some posters on here give the impression on here that Spain is an island of hostility, racism, ignorance is a sea of tolerance and acceptance, which is obviously not the case.

I GUESS PERSNALLY, AND I KNOW MANY WILL DISGAREE OR CALL ME NAMES, I TEND TO SEE THINGS LIKE THIS IN RELATIVE TERMS. SINCE I WAS ABOUT 12 I LONG GAVE UP ANY DREAMS OF LIVING IN A WORLD OR A COUNTRY OR A CITY THAT WAS DEVOID OF RACSISM, SEXISM, BIGTRY, IMJUSTICE OR INTOLERNANCE.

IM NOT SAYING THIS THINGS SHOULD BE ACCEPTED OR THAT THEY HOULDNT BE FOUGHT, IM JUST SAYING THAT I PERSOANLLY THINK SUCH THINGS WILL NEVER BE TRULY ERRADICATED.

WITH THIS MENTALITY WHEN I GO TO A NEW PLACE I TEND TO LOOK AT THE LEVELS OF RACISM ETC I ENCOUNTER IN TERMS OF RELATIVITY I.E. HOW BAD IS IT COMPARED TO OTHER PLACES, EVEN THE MOST UTOPIAN PLACE IN THE WORLD TODAY WONT BE PERFECT (ONCE AGAIN I MUST REPEAT I DO NOT MEAN TO SUGGEST WE SHOULD STRIVE FOR SUCH, IM SPEAKING ABOUT MY CRITERION FOR JUDGEMENT)

WITH THIS IN MIND, SO FAR I HAVE FOUND SPAIN TO BE WORSE THAT SOME PLACES I HAVE BEEN AND BETTER THAN OTHERS,

Howver having said all this, as you say

'most here are talking about their own PERSONAL experiences in regards to distinctly Spanish racism.'

which is true, so having hopefully clarified the point i was trying to make in the firts place, and i subsequently withdraw it for being either obvious or too irrelevant to these blogs

Wesley said...

one last thing though, you make a number of excellent points and I agreee with most of what you have said however i find you the above quote to be a little revealing, you say this a blog to discuss SPANISH RACISM...well i though this was a blog to discuss peoples Spanish EXPERIENCE, though it seems like most people only want to talk about the negative (paying only lip service /not al Spanish are racist, BUT..), which is of course is fair enough and that might be their only experience but its not mine and perhaps maybe that is why I went to far the other way, subconsciously seeing to adjust the balance...

I think if i read this blog first I might have never come to pain though the sheer volume of negativism but like i say Im enjoying my time and have nothing negative to say (yet! :)

Wesley said...

@ Chico-Rei

i stand by completely my post directed against you, you posts are
hypocritical and are full of the same gross stereotypes and generalizations you accuse the Spanish of being guilty of.

I find it funny that you are happy to comment on my post directed towards to BlViking but completely ignore the one I made to you

but i guess it easier jump on the band wagon and have a dig it my post my post than to defend your own

Anonymous said...

What a foolish thing to say. You must not be Jamaican or you must be an African in Europe to gloss over Europe's history with slavery by falsely comparing it to the African slave trade. BlkViking, YOU (if you're really Jamaican), and I are not descendants or bi-products of the African slave trade. We are descendants of the European slave trade.

I've never known one descendant of European slave trade to come in and try to soften the blow of it besides Uncle Toms.

Marcus Garvey, a proud Jamaican, would have a word for you and your false equivalencies.

Chico-Rei said...

@Wesley I didn't reply because I didn't see your reply, I have no problem answering it. Firstly you didn't read my comment properly. If you scroll up and read it again you will see I said people in MADRID I didn't talk about the rest of Spain.

I also said the people, people from Madrid hate are the friendlist people you will meet, did I not put southern Spainyards in this? look again. I've met alot of Southern Spainyards and like them, all the ones I met knew about the moors because they are from the south.

I have met too many people from Madrid who say people from Andalucia are ugly, talk funny, are lazy, are only party people and do stupid because they clap when they land on a flight.In England you have the whole North and South banter, but this is beyond banter it's really out of order.

When I said people in Madrid are backwards and ignorant. I say this from experience and I'm not going off of meeting a few people here. I'm someone who looks for the best in people,but when a woman says to me she doesn't ride the metro because she doesn't want to sit next to Latin Americans and I get stopped by the police for my passport dozens of times and when I say I'm from London the policeman says no no no where are you really from, then your patience starts to run thin. I have said this to Spanish people in Madrid and they admit they are a little bit backwards and blame Franco which I would agree with.

I even met a white guy from England he said he didn't see racism in Madrid until he started going out with a girl from Puerto Rico then he said things changed.

Here are some examples of what people from Madrid have said to me, now bear in mind these are uni educated people, do black people live in South Africa? are people in England all pale skinned?, your parents are from Nigeria right? cool well my friend is going to Uganda can you give me some advice? are all people in England tall and Northern European looking? these were serious questions, come on now these people have TVs and access to the internet.

All English people know their history for definite from 1066 when France invaded, the history most people know before that is King Arthur, what you said about the royal family I knew already and alot of people I talk to know this.

There is nothing wrong with being proud but these people are fiercely proud in a way that they don;t listen to reason which is part of the reason why they are having problems now.

This was just one of my posts answering BLK viking. I have also posted about more postive experiences in Madrid.

BlkViking said...

@ Wesley

Thank you, but there’s no need to apologize. This is the internet; It’s super easy for tones and point of views to be confused and misconstrued…so no hard feelings. Also, admittedly, I am a hot head, and sensitive when it comes to the things we’re discussing. So, it certainly wouldn’t hurt for me to pump the breaks before I get all worked up.

Now, to clarify…

No, I do not believe that slavery, whether carried out by the Romans, Egyptians, Arabs or Sub-Saharan Africans, was ever right. No human should ever have dominion over another.

But do I think that some slavers were more sinister, cruel, damaging and violent than others? Damn right. I believe that Europeans, in particular, redefined cruelty with the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. What’s worse is that it didn’t end there. It was not enough to remove and displace black bodies indefinitely--physically, spiritually and emotionally isolating them from their ancestral homeland and peoples. Europeans LOOTED Africa and sliced her up like a pizza pie. ONCE AGAIN, they displaced black bodies through oppressive institutions like Apartheid. So, like I said in my initial post, I walk with a sense of entitlement no matter where I am. But on European soil, I walk particularly tall because they have committed the MOST heinous atrocities against blacks and Africans.

Two brothers live under the same roof and often fight each other, inflicting scratches and bruises. One day, the next door neighbor comes over to play and ends up bludgeoning the both of them with a bat, machete and sawed off shot gun. A scratch seems kind of trivial when compared to a severed head, doesn’t it? Lol Would the police even care that the brothers used to fight? Or would they not be more concerned with charging the neighbor for his more severe crimes?

No other peoples or civilizations, at any point in human history, have committed crimes against humanity on a scale equal to that of Western Europe. Give Africa about 500 years to GUT Europe and take it for all its worth (people and natural resources) and then we could talk about the score being settled and African crimes being equal and comparative to Europe’s.

Anonymous said...

So...I sat here and read everything on this page. Someone said that some of the things that happened to the slaves in Jamaica were the worst.

Lol although that may be true, that is nothing to be ashamed of, because Jamaicans were one of the first groups of people to set off any kind of slave rebellion. Them and the Haitians.

Oh! I and remember reading something else where another writer wrote, "blood thirsty third world" or something to that effect.

Um...excuse me, BUT I have never really seen any vampires in the "third world" a term I think is kind of lame, and old fashioned.

And by the way, not everyone born and raised in the "third world" (and by third world, I suppose you are talking about parts of Africa, Caribbean and Latin America) is dirt poor, scavenging for money and starving to death!

Haha!! If that is your perception then, I'd beg you to take a look at:

Barbados - Has a very strong economy it only takes 2 BBD to buy 1 USD.

Trinidad and Tobago - Rich with oil and has some of the most beautiful people and shopping centers

Jamaica- The Jewel of the Caribbean. Home of sweet Reggae music, wonderful food and the worlds fastest man.

I could continue, but this post would be too long.


Anyway I have digressed.

So, my point is...if people want to go to Spain, let them go to Spain! Does it really matter if someone does not like you because of your skin color? I am sure that YOU do not like EVERYBODY.


I mean it is human nature, there are certain types of people and certain types of things that just make our blood boil. The whole reason that people hate each other is because, if we all loved each other the world would be a perfect place and then there would be no reason for God to save us from ourselves.

The bible says, "Man has dominated man to his own injury."

Anyway...Go to Spain. Have a time! The world is your Oyster!

But be careful, because the other day while I was at my Indian boyfriends house eating fried wantons, that by Mexican cousin learned to make on her 2 week vacation in Beijing, I HEARD THAT those Spaniards in Spain actually EAT PEOPLE!!! And there prefer to eat the dark skinned people too. They say that the white meat tastes too RAW, is too fatty and has no flavor smh...

I also heard that they smell bad and they fart a lot! HAHA!!

So take care and don't let anyone intimidate you, because we are all mortal. None of us is Divine.

Thanks for reading...

BlkViking said...

While not directly calling me out, you have reacted and responded to a few things I said in my initial comment. You said that you read everything but I don't think you understood everything. If I was unclear, let me now clarify...

For one, I never said or implied that Jamaicans had anything to be "ashamed of." How you reached that conclusion, I'll never know. I was addressing another poster with Jamaican heritage, who at the the time I felt was being a slavery apologist. I was essentially saying that he (as half Jamaican) should be extremely outraged against the trans-Atlantic slave trade seeing as how the slavery executed on Jamaica was amongst the most heinous anywhere.

And as far as the "blood thirsty third world immigrant" comment, I was not expressing my own viewpoint, but the viewpoint of some racist Spaniards who see any person of color as an undesirable immigrant attempting to leech off of their economy...as if their economy is so good to begin with (which it isn't!). Considering the context I said that in along with the general tone of my post, I thought it was rather obvious that I, myself, was not harboring prejudice and bias against OTHER people of color.

And as far as the rest of your comment, I SERIOUSLY hope you are being facetious with just about everything you said.

Chico-Rei said...

Thanks I will check this out

Sanza said...

You're welcome Chico Rei.

I read they now have a division in Belgium. I will try to find out more about them.

Rebel American said...

I’m afraid I can only contribute so much to this discussion being that I only stayed in Spain for less than 24 hrs. However, I did travel in and around Eastern Europe and I was there for 1 month by myself. I will concur with BLCKVIKING on the fact that I do carry myself with pride and I do project nothing but confidence, but one part I disagree with, I don’t walk as if I’m self-entitled to anything even given the history that Black people suffered throughout.
I mean I found out about this site 6-8 months before I departed for my European adventure and maybe it’s just me but I did not encounter one incident that I thought my skin color was the root. If I did think something was racially motivated I would try and put myself in their shoes and it usually just came down to the language barrier. Although, I’m not saying those people did not have any prejudices against me, I think I just chose not to acknowledge them. Even when I felt like my race might be an issue I quickly dismissed the thought and introduced myself as any normal human being should and hopefully a chat would ensue. The main reason why there is some much misunderstanding (my substitution for racism) is because nobody is talking. How can you obliterate negative stereotypes if you don’t communicate? Right, you can’t and the things that you want to change will not unless somebody makes the first step, take the initiate, and open your mouth. Traveling through Western and Eastern Europe I was that first step. Although, intent was somewhere in the back of my mind, I didn’t try to convince others I was different and not what they see on television, it just sort of happened that way.
I’m not naïve to the fact that everybody on this site is probably way more educated and traveled than I. Thailand was my first time out the country in 2010, Europe 2012 (Spain, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine), and visiting the island my mother is from Grenada, West Indies in 2009 (which I don’t really count because she paid for it), but I know a little something.

Above is a little something that I copied and pasted from Booker T. Washington, and this is what he pretty much advocated. Not to take away from what anybody else did during the time when things were much worst, but what if instead of advocating “African Dispora” and things of that nature, we simply apply what Booker T. Washington advocated in the south on an international level. Advocate national integration and at least assimilation in the capacity of education and government. I know I’m not the only one who notices that the idea of Black people worldwide is simply more negative than positive. I’m currently in the United States Marine Corps and I have come contact with some Marines who still have the idea that Black people are inferior to White people, but you can’t blame them because that is all they know. It is my job and the people who post on this blog to decide if they want to reinforce that thinking or obliterate the shit out that motherfucker (afro-europe apologies about the language; I couldn’t think of anything cooler to say). I choose the latter and who knows maybe that is all he needed to at least change his perception even just a little.
When I was in Eastern Europe I did command my share of attention, but I’m not afraid to talk to anyone to see what’s going on. Especially if they think that I’m nothing more than an ape that wears clothes, my afro- europe blogger friends they’re most mistaken when I speak and we share between us those magical moments of great conversation that will forever keep them enlightened.

Rebel American said...

Washington advocated a "go slow" approach.[16] The effect was that many youths in the South had to accept sacrifices of potential political power, civil rights and higher education.[17] His belief was that African-Americans should "concentrate all their energies on industrial education, and accumulation of wealth, and the conciliation of the South." [18] Washington valued the "industrial" education, as it provided critical skills for the jobs then available to the majority of African-Americans at the time, as most lived in the South, which was overwhelmingly rural and agricultural. He thought these skills that would lay the foundation for the creation of stability that the African-American community required in order to move forward. He believed that in the long term "blacks would eventually gain full participation in society by showing themselves to be responsible, reliable American citizens." His approach advocated for an initial step toward equal rights, rather than full equality under the law. It would be this step that would provide the economic power to back up their demands for equality in the future.[19] This action, over time, would provide the proof to a deeply prejudiced white America that they were not in fact "'naturally' stupid and incompetent."

Rebel American said...

Apologies,

The paragraph that I published from Booker T. Washington is posted above. For some reason it did not publish the the bulk of my post.

Apologies again!!

-Rebel American

Anonymous said...

I've just stumbled across this blog - fascinating posts I must say. Well I'm a gay African British male heading to Madrid in a matter of days for the first time for a conference - so I'll be viewing my experience while there from a number of standpoints! My stay will be short - 4 days. I'll be focused on work by day and explore the city by night - hopefully mixing business with some pleasure. I've travelled very widely and always do so with an open mind. As well as local Spaniards I hope to meet men and women of colour and will be making a concerted effort to do so. On a general note, if anyone has any Madrid restaurant, bar, club recommendations I'd be happy to hear them!

BlkViking said...

The Souls of Black Folks, W. E. B. Dubois (1903)

“Mr. Washington distinctly asks that black people give up, at least for the present, three things, —

First, political power,
Second, insistence on civil rights,
Third, higher education of Negro youth,

— and concentrate all their energies on industrial education, the accumulation of wealth, and the conciliation of the South. This policy has been courageously and insistently advocated for over fifteen years, and has been triumphant for perhaps ten years. As a result of this tender of the palm-branch, what has been the return? In these years there have occurred:

1. The disfranchisement of the Negro.
2. The legal creation of a distinct status of civil inferiority for the Negro.
3. The steady withdrawal of aid from institutions for the higher training of the Negro.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
This group of men (the thinking classes of American Negroes) honor Mr. Washington for his attitude of conciliation toward the white South; they accept the “Atlanta Compromise” in its broadest interpretation; they recognize, with him, many signs of promise, many men of high purpose and fair judgment, in this section; they know that no easy task has been laid upon a region already tottering under heavy burdens. But, nevertheless, they insist that the way to truth and right lies in straightforward honesty, not in indiscriminate flattery; in praising those of the South who do well and criticising uncompromisingly those who do ill; in taking advantage of the opportunities at hand and urging their fellows to do the same, but at the same time in remembering that only a firm adherence to their higher ideals and aspirations will ever keep those ideals within the realm of possibility. They do not expect that the free right to vote, to enjoy civic rights, and to be educated, will come in a moment; they do not expect to see the bias and prejudices of years disappear at the blast of a trumpet; but they are absolutely certain that the way for a people to gain their reasonable rights is not by voluntarily throwing them away and insisting that they do not want them; that the way for a people to gain respect is not by continually belittling and ridiculing themselves; that, on the contrary, Negroes must insist continually, in season and out of season, that voting is necessary to modern manhood, that color discrimination is barbarism, and that black boys need education as well as white boys.

Chico-Rei said...

It all depends what you are after in terms of resturants and clubs etc the biggest club in Madrid is Kapital which is 7 floors it's mainly for foreigners, the only Spanish people you find are people looking for Americans or English people. I'm not gay so I don;t know too much on the gay side but the there is a gay neighbourhood called Chueca where there are alot of English speakers and the biggest gay club is Bash on a Saturday night which is on the main street. There are really good African resturants as well in Madrid I went to a senegalese resturant which was amazing

BlkViking said...

@ Rebel American

Knowing that you align yourself, at least in part, with some of Booker T. Washington's philosophies, I feel the need to confess that W.E.B. Dubois is one of my spiritual and intellectual fathers. As you may or may not know, he was a fierce philosophical opponent of Booker T. Washington. I just wanted to start with that declaration and give some context before I proceed! lol And though I am forthright, candid and direct, please do not misinterpret those things as disrespect.

Forgive me, but all throughout your post, I see nothing but racial accommodation, acquiescence and apologism.

PERSONALLY, I will not "look the other way" or go "deaf, dumb and blind" in the face of racism. I will not pretend that it is something else, like a language barrier, when it is not (for example,I speak 3 European languages at native level and 2 more at conversational level).

I will not excuse and apologize for racists and bigots because prejudice is "all that they know." In my opinion, that does not "obliterate" racism but enforces and exacerbates it. Humans have a very feral, predatory nature. "Weakness" is snuffed out. Those who acquiesce, DIE. They are perceived as weak and deserving of their mistreatment.

Let's be clear, I am not saying that when someone says or does something prejudiced (that doesn't involve physical harm), that the default response should be a punch to the face. From my personal experience, words can carry just as much impact as physical blows. I will not dismissively chuckle or giggle at Bobby's idiotic and insensitive remarks. At the very least, he will be STERNLY and FIRMLY corrected. Stern and firm mean SERIOUS, but not cruel and unkind. But if Bobby forcefully resists and deflects, he shall be verbally and intellectually annihilated and left for dead. This is 2012. There is no more excuse for racial/cultural ignorance. Bobby does not deserve to be coddled any longer at the expense of my human dignity.

Anonymous said...

Thanks ChicoRei - I'd be interested to know where to find a couple of good African restaurants such as the senegalese one you mentioned. I was researching the various districts in Madrid online and came across this write up:

"Lavapiés is quite possibly the most multicultural “barrio” of Madrid heavily influenced by African, Arabic and gypsy cultures. The plaza of Lavapiés marks the centre of this “barrio”. If you walk to the south you will find many bars and restaurants. The bars here tend to have something of an artistic ambience. All tastes in food are catered for here including Arabic and Indian cuisine."

Another write up says:

"This neighbourhood was the Jewish and Moorish quarter outside the city walls until they were forced into exile or conversion in 1492. Lavapiés then became Madrid's working class neighbourhood for hundreds of years and largely fell into decay until artists and immigrants began to fill its abandoned houses in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, an inevitable gentrification process has occurred and is zooming ahead. It's now a multicultural, bohemian neighbourhood full of bars, galleries, ethnic restaurants and cafés.

Lavapiés has as its boundaries Calle Atocha to the east, Ronda de Valencia to the south, Calle de Embajadores to the west and Calle de la Magdalena to the north. The center of the area is the Plaza de Lavapiés (where metro Lavapiés drops you). Upon entering the plaza, you wil find yourself among Africans, Turks, Gypsies, Chinese, South Americans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians, and Spanish."

As for clubs, I'd like to discover one or two that are frequented by black residents and/or a multi-racial crowd...although I don't expect there to be many. I'm hoping in the short time I have, to experience some of the contrasts that the city may have to offer from a Michelin starred spanish restaurant to a really good african restaurant, from a hip mainstream lounge to a buzzing local bar in an immigrant community...

That's pretty much the perspective I'm coming from.

Chico-Rei said...

It's true what they say about Lavapies, it's the only place in Madrid where people mix freely there are mainly North Africans, West Africans Turks, Gypsies, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians, a few Spanish and foreign students, because it's the cheapest neighbourhood to live.

There is always a buzz in Lavapies and you even though Madrid residents say it's a ghetto, you'll find very friendly people there, there are lots of bars there is one street just with bars and resturants which is good in the summer when the tables are outside. For a hip mainstream lounge go to Malasana or La Latina both are close to the centre there are so many cool bars there I don't know all their names, the most expensive resturants are in Goya which is an upmarket part of town, you can also find the oldest resturant in the world in Madrid which is very close to Plaza Mayor, there aren't many clubs with multi racial crowd in Madrid unless you go out in the week.

Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

Hi, for all the spainyards feeling offended. Racism isnt talking bad about other people it gors beyond, so i dont understand why in the world if you never made a research or felt a little bit of interest about the issue why is that you try to adreess this as an imaginary issue? I dont think you ever read anything regardind racism there are thousands of books, but is not only spain, is an european mentaliti, all these blacks are misslocated even in the states so when we travel we see the same issues. How come? The great majority dont even a conection between us.
The issis papera talk about the european view of the world.
Rasicm goes beyond trash talk, is a global sistem where blacks are enslaved with their inferiority and whites are enslaved by their superiority, its a circle that we are going to go back to the starting point because there are people that still thinks that this is an imaginary issue, issue that got kill all these great liders and intellectuals.
1st europe need to rewrite the history so their peoples stop being ignorant
2nd they need to read all this ideals that discus the solutiona we need
They will see that when blacks talk about with its a reacction, a consecuence, not an acction neither an attack because it goes beyont color its the equalitty of the intelect.
One Love

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Madrid tips ChicoRei - much appreciated

francisco said...

As a spanish I think Portugal can give us much lessons about mixed races and coexistence, I was amazed when I travelled to Lisboa years ago. I had negative prejudices about this country but now I think they win in coexistence and european way of life.

ZaraChiron said...

Ohhh Azizi Powell your reply to this was absolutely BRILLIANT!

I want to add that all these "african immigrants" that are "prostitutes" "maids" etc. Obviously the MAIN REASON why they are in such situations is because the SPANISH locals will not hire them!

Often degrees that are not from the European Union or North America are often dismissed as worthless. And the ingrained prejudice that plagues the system results in the majority of Spanish employers only tossing the worst of jobs to the "lowly blacks" or none at all..hence illegal activity in order to SURVIVE.

This is 2012? When will this all end?
In my opinion, it starts at home.
Yes the Europeans (and now Americans...and even Chinese!) did and are still doing loads of unethical and highly detrimental rubbish in Africa but it is up to US...ALL black people, united in our unique history everywhere, to get our acts together.

Nobody can treat us like we are nothing unless we give them the permission to.
It is up to us to start saying NO with the little but sure steps we take to rebuild Africa and our collective identities as people of African descent.

I will be going to Barcelona in the spring for a 6 month internship. All I can say is, based on all the research I have done all over...this is going to be an experience in all its glory. Neither negative nor positive-just real. I will take it all in, make the best out of it and come out of it a better person.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to create a site like this to let people know how hard it is to be black in Spain.

I have been here for around 10 years now and have meet a Spanish Lady and have a 3 year old girl.

I work in the south of Spain and earn a good living.
This means I am able to go into stores and buy things your suffering black man wouldn't buy.

I live in a great apartment and pay a decent price for rental. The reason I am saying this is because if I was in London the place of my birth I would be living the dream.

Here in Spain with all that living better than the average Spaniard, I am still seen a El Negro.

I have had people cross the road when they see me coming. I have had people call me names on the street.
I walk in to stores and they look at me like I shouldn't be there.
I am expected to be a market trader and when they see me driving a car they can not believe it.

I walk into a store a hand over my debit card to pay for something and they think its not real because it's from a top bank.

I even walk into my local bank branch and they look at me as if to say why are you here.

I spent 7 years trying to buy a home in Spain and was turned down every time. Finally I had to pay cash for my home because it was said that my documents were not real. And these documents were from the Spanish local police station where registration is taken place.

Now you look a their economy and you ask yourself why has it gone so bad?

John said...

The way they have treated you because of your race is too backward to even be called ignorant; it is barbaric! Spain in its treatment of its Black citizens doesn't deserve to be seen as a "modern" member of the European Union. I can't imagine it being this ignorant even during the Francisco Franco regime! Stay strong and keep your head held up high. Just keep thinking of cosmopolitan, open, multicultural and multiracial London---which is only a short plane ride away---and maybe this will get you through this madness.

Much Peace!

Anonymous said...

I think it's just a matter of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Racism happens everywhere, and especially in Europe. We can't say it's just Spain.

HOWEVER, I will acknowledge that there's a perception of beauty that's very "white-centric." I'm an ex-model living here in Spain. I'm bi-racial (European/Polynesian), but I am often mistaken for as being part-black; and I agree, I do look part-black.

Anyhow, I do notice that I am not really their definition of beauty. I was scouted by Elite Modeling Agency at 14, I've modeled in Paris and Milan, and here, I don't even get a minor "turn of the head". It's rather odd.

Then I go out with a group of women/girls, some of whom are blonde (and it's absolutely awful to say), but "hardly attractive," and you should see how the men flock to them!

I've had long black hair, and I've even been called "bruja" (witch), by Spanish men in nightclubs.

I then get on a plane to do an occasional modelling job in Paris (I'm retired but still like the extra pay), and VOILA- I get harassed by men the moment I get off the plane...go figure!

Exotic here isn't ugly, but I think it just means "dark," which therefore means "nothing special"- model or no model.

Conclusion: I don't think the Spanish are unusually racist; however, if you are a woman of "colour," I don't think this is the place to go to if you want to 'increase your self-esteem.' I'm an ex-model for gosh-sakes, and I do not even get a "heeeeeeeey waaaaapa!" Crossing the border for the occasional job is the only thing that doesn't make me check the mirror, doubt myself, and say "hey did you lose your looks?"

John said...

Wow! That story really struck a nerve with me. A person who looks as you describe yourself: Half European/half Polynesian with black hair, would cause even the most "white centric" male in the States to admit your beauty!

The city where I live (San Francisco, Cal. U.S.A.) is filled with the most breathtakingly beautiful Pacific Islanders, South Asians and Southeast Asians one could ever imagine to see, with complexions ranging from off-white, tan, pale yellow, tangerine, the deep browns of some of the Samoans, and the dusky near-black of many of the East Indians and Sri Lankans, and I see white Americans walking arm and arm with them and turning their heads in their direction every day!

What's the matter with the Spaniards????

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, it's ok. Nothing's wrong with the Spanish, they're just not accustomed to "exotic beauty" yet. I don't cry about it :) In 20-30 years from now (after lots of interracial mixing), I am sure they will accept all types of beauty :)

John said...

You're just too modest---and big-hearted. Now, come on. You're beautiful and "exotic" to bat, so why don't the Spanish see the "gorgeousness" (is that a word? LOL!) of your mixed Polynesian and white European attractiveness, with a "Black look" thrown in, and literally start drooling over you?! I'm sorry, but they sound very, very foul! You're a beauty. A stunner, and they are stuck in a white-centric mindset that cannot accept anything less than the "traditional" white European image as pleasing to the eye.

"20-30 years from now (after lots of interracial mixing), I am sure they will accept all types of beauty" :) you suggest.

If they don't accept YOU, for one, TODAY! as well as the growing numbers of Senegalese, Nigerians, Ecuatorial Guineans, Dominicans, Colombians, Moroccans, or even swarthy immigrants from next-door Portugal as examples of the "absolute and undeniable beauty of our human family," I may have to give up all hope for Spain ever mentally freeing itself from its Francisco Francisco fascist past. I can't want 20-30 years. Noooo way! :-)

Oh! I just remembered. There is an EXCELLENT book about Spain's inability to accept African-descended people in their midst I'd like to suggest. Its called "Kinky Gazpacho," by Lori Tharp. It's the memoir of a young African-American female married to a white Spaniard living in Spain. The anecdotes in her book match yours exactly.

The couple now live in Philadelphia and she has an interesting blog detailing their experiences in the U.S. www.theamericanmeltingpot.com/ or it may be www.americanmeltingpot.com/ Try both URLs; I'm writing from memory.

And again, YOU-ARE-BEAUTIFUL! in spite of what the Spaniards may say!

John said...

* Oops! I meant to write "Franco" in stead of Francisco above. And the correct URL for the blog is http://www.myamericanmeltingpot.com The author's name is Lori Tharps. Her memoir is "Kinky Gazpacho".

BlkViking said...

Of course, you know I'll tell you what's wrong with them! ;-)

We must remember that intra-racial prejudice and colorism doesn't just exist amongst peoples of color. In Europe, there is most definitely a privileging of "Nordic," "Germanic," blond haired, blue-eyed whiteness over darker "Mediterranean" kinds of whiteness. I can't tell you how many times I've seen fair skinned "Aryan"-esque Swedes and Germans exoticize, otherize, and criticize Spaniards, Italians and Croatians about their phenotype.

It's been my experience that in the Mediterranean and South Eastern European countries, blondeness, no matter the actual attractiveness of a blonde, is seen as the most beautiful, elegant, **intelligent, and desirable. If you were to watch some of their TV programs, you'd think the country was comprised mainly of "Nordic" types. It's essentially the same thing one sees across media platforms in Latin America. And it's been that way for centuries. If you want to see ancient European colorism in affect, read Shakespeare. Pale-skinned blondes were ever pure, "fair," virtuous, innocent and balanced. But heaven forbid one was dark, swarthy, raven haired, a Moor or a Jew...they were deeply flawed, temperamental, duplicitous, and licentious. Europe has a history of attaching skin color, hair color and eye color to temperament and character. Non-whites weren't the only ones maligned by scientific racism.

John said...

@ Blk Viking: You KNOW I wasn't going to let you get by with that "Of course, you know I'll tell you what's wrong with them". YES-YOU-WILL! ROTFLMBO!!!!!!!!

Remember the famous actor, Charles Bronson, who was a star of all those "kick a..s" movies? Well one time he was interviewed by journalist, Jane Pauley, and throughout the entire interview he did not smile the whole time and he kinda glared at her---no matter how "happy" the question. After the interview was over Jane announced exasperatedly, "He scares me!" LOL!!!!! I say all this, bruh, to let you know one thing: "I'm on YOUR side! We're blog buddies,'K? Internet friends. Not LOST in space, but a budding friendship FOUND in cyberspace, walking side by side in FRIENDLY formation. No hostile fire and grenades coming from me. Uh, uh!

Just wanted to let you know. Ha, ha, ha! And the door is still open for a visit and "grand tour" whenever you decide to come out to the Bay area. Oh, and the historical outpicturing of whiteness as the epitome of physical beauty that you gave our model friend in Spain was great, too! (Anything you say, Blk V., Sir! No Charles Bronson activity unleashed on me!) :-)

Anonymous said...

In my life, I have rarely known of, nor ever met a black person who would re-locate to a black country by choice. I believe this to be a fact. How come.

Anonymous said...

Racism exists in Spain, as in every group of persons in front of one of another culture. By the way, centuries ago, as center of a world empire, Spain has "negros" as slaves first and free people after (Quevedo wrote racist poems about them). Anecdotically, in the XVIth century, a widow of a spanish "conquistador" in Cuba, wrote her will giving freedom to her slaves and other decisions (she was BLACK; do you know of an english squire of that epoch legally married with a woman of african heritage?).

DrNostoc

Anonymous said...

There is a nigerian Mafia that brings girls of 15 or 16 years old to Spain (and Italy, I suppose). These girls don't speak spanish, "work" in the poorest streets and are kept in prostitution with "voodoo" and physical threats.

DrNostoc

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