Sunday, June 5, 2011

Black people in Russia - News round-up

Photo: Black Girl in Russia
I stumbled upon the the blog of J. B. Ross, Black Girl in Russia, and I thought it would be the right moment to post some information on Russia again. So, a short news round-up.

Blog: Black Girl in Russia - The Journey of a Natural Sister in Russia
An very interesting blog of a black American student who studied in St. Peterburg for 9 months. With observations, musings and photos. Look past the hair angle and you will find some interesting information about what it's like for a non-Russian black person to study in Russia.
Also check out the interview on Curly Nikki

Some of the comments on the interview are unfortunatly very negative. She is called loud and boisterous. But she responded.

"As I read the comments above you are absolutely right. That is how my article sounds exactly when it really isn't the case. I am alone 90% of the time, speaking in Russian most of the time. And most of the negative incidences happen at those times. Young children pointing and saying cherni(negative word), young adults laughing and calling out "nigger". Men trying to grab me, and the list goes on. I think my way of coping with that is what you see in the article. The few times I am with my English speaking friends I get a sense of enjoyment or reprieve if you will from the "fitting in" as you call it that doesn't quite work out that well.

I study blacks living in Russia. That's why I'm here and most of them say they stay inside and keep to themselves. Is that what I'm supposed to do to prevent these incidences? I think not. And yes in proportion to my afro the cameras do come out more. And once again I am alone most of the time when these problems happen.

And I am disgusted by the word submissive. I don't have to be submissive nor sit down and take racism. I use any chance I get to talk to my Russian friends about black experiences and use my "looks" as a conversation starter for the curious. You are right though about the tone of the article and it sounds like I only had bad experiences and that's is not true at all. I love Russia overall. And that is only one part of a much richer experience. I was just trying to show my hair experience. But it seems to be taken as my overall behavior.

Also, once people find out I am American that's when the attitude becomes more positive. Interesting.

I want this article to be about confidence in how you wear your hair and style when abroad. Russia is a whole different beast. I studied abroad and traveled before. I am not saying you need to walk around loud and boisterous. But don't be intimidated and keep your head up."

I think she handling it the right way. I remember a tip from a journalist class (one I didn't attend by the way). When you are in dangerous situation in a "dangerous" country, always speak or shout in your own language. Don't try to speak the language of the other, unless you master it as good as your own language. Because only in your own language your able to find the right words when your under pressure. Looking confident, that's the key.

From the Russian media

Flawed studies and everyday fears in modern Russia - Moscow News, 27 May, 2011
An interesting comment about the claim that Russia was the seventh most dangerous country in the world.

"The Moscow-centric, white European view – one which my personal experience as a Brit in Russia’s capital can easily support – makes this argument laughable.

But take the experience of an African expat in Russia: “It’s alright if you don’t look like you’re from the Caucasus or black, but try some serious tanning and go to cities like Izhevsk or Yekaterinburg. “Then come back and let us know how friendly they are over there.”

Football club Zenit Punished - 13 April 2011
FC Zenit St. Petersburg has been fined 300,000 rubles ($10,687) after one of its fans offered Brazilian soccer player Roberto Carlos a banana at a recent match in St. Petersburg.

I never knew Roberto Carlos played in Russia.

Moscow movie preview – “Precious” - 6 May, 2010
An old post. Film director Lee Daniels wants to be understood - even if his Afro-American film-making seems light years from Moscow's streets.

While he admitted to audiences in the Russian capital that life for America's black population has changed over the past 20 years, he added that the likes of himself and Barack Obama are rare exceptions among an abused and unsuccessful majority.

Sometimes I don't know what to believe!

See all postings about Russia here


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