I’m not sure where it comes from, but a lot of American Blacks believe that White Europeans aren’t racist. “People aren’t like that over there” is what I usually hear in regards to prejudice against people of color in the Old World. For some reason, many African Americans tend to feel that the British especially aren’t a land of bigots. I am here to tell you that this is simply not true, in Britain or anywhere else in Europe and this isn’t just due to my own experiences overseas. It’s from the facts I’ve discovered in my research – because I always check out the racial atmosphere of any country before I book a trip there. One reason I have not spent much time in Eastern Europe is due to racism.
Anti-Semitism is widespread across the European continent, as is prejudice against Muslims – mainly a response to the global acts of terrorism, and if you aren’t White, you will stick out a sore thumb in a great many communities. That is simply how it is. You will be stared at in the small towns and villages, perhaps even openly discriminated against, and I have even read reports of tourists being called racial slurs in a lot of areas. It is not the same as traveling or even living in America, despite the problems that face this nation as far as bigotry is concerned.
One time I was in Venice, I went into a shop with a fellow tour member who was from Australia, and we both witnessed the clerk being rude to an Asian woman and her daughter, who were in the shop to purchase souvenirs. Because of the lady’s nastiness, the Aussie girl did not want to patronize the shop so we left. We both knew it was because the other tourists were Asian that the clerk didn’t want their service. If she felt that damn way, she certainly didn’t deserve our money either.
While I have been stared at in some areas – Hopfgarten, Austria; a rest stop in the French countryside; some parts of Switzerland, and to a lesser extent, Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic – I have never been the victim of overt racial animosity, as many of my fellow Blacks have been here in our own country. In fact, I was treated politely in most of the places I visited, particularly in Munich, Assisi, Prague, and Amsterdam. Italian men will stare at any woman they deem attractive – that’s how they are – and Spanish people have that reputation of being racist. I have been to London, various cities in France & Italy, different cities in Germany & Austria, Barcelona, a few places in Belgium & Holland, and 2 cities in the Czech Republic, and of all the places I visited, I would say the nicest people I came across were in Holland, Germany, and Austria.
European Blacks tend to be rude, is my opinion, less so than Blacks here in America but they are definitely not as nice as the White Europeans. This has been my experience with them anyway. Not sure if they are jealous of us or what it is, but they are not the friendliest of people, outside of Black Germans. They usually are employed in lowly positions such as fast food, hotel maids, taxi drivers or other menial jobs while we African Americans at least have access to managerial & other high paying positions, It is a different reality for the Blacks in Europe. There aren’t really any people of color in visible positions of authority, so they have no true role models to admire outside of American Blacks in powerful posts, like President Obama & Oprah Winfrey, and entertainers such as Denzel Washington & Kerry Washington.
While it is true that you may be stared at simply because you are different, there is also the chance that you will encounter some type of prejudice due to your color or ethnicity, and that’s how it is. My advice? Stay away from European football games. Racism is extremely virulent among those fans. Also, be wary of the police in many areas. There have been reports that minorities are being targeted just the same as they are here in the USA. Europeans may have had more of an issue with xenophobia and multi-culturalism before, but it’s become far easier for them to discriminate based on one’s color.
European Football Fans & Racism