The day will come when you will want to travel. You’re going to spread your wings, buy that plane ticket, and tell your friends you’re not going to make it to this week’s wine night. As long as you have the money, time, or an amazing credit card limit, you’re free to go anywhere. However, there’s a thought that crosses some Black women’s minds when trying to decide which destination will be the perfect getaway: I’m a Black girl.
There are the initial concerns. Will the country I’m visiting have my hair products? Will people try to pick at my hair like I’m in the zoo? Will people gawk at me like I’m an exotic animal? The hair worries are easy to fix. Put your hair in some beautiful box braids or bulk buy your hair products and be on your merry way.
I wish that the solutions for the gawking and the microaggressions would be that easy. While traveling, you have to make sure that you don’t pack away your tough skin. There’s a chance that the same racism you can experience in America will also appear while abroad. Recently, a group of black women in California were kicked off a train for laughing to loud.
You won’t be able to predict the racism that you might face. I have a Black friend who moved to Japan and started a new life and loves it there. I have another friend whose mom went to Paris and hated it because she couldn’t stand the racism. She told me that because of her mother’s short hair, someone tried directing her to a men’s bathroom. I know—ridiculous.
Personally, the only side-eye moment I had while traveling was when I was in Dublin. While walking home with a friend, a guy started singing the lyrics of “Anaconda” as I walked by. I gave him a deadly stare and continued walking. A random, catcalling guy wasn’t going to ruin my time abroad. I had worked hard for this opportunity to visit Europe.
Traveling while Black means you have to never forget you’ve worked hard to go abroad. You can’t let someone ruin your vacation mindset. If someone tries to ruin your vacation because of the color of your skin, don’t stand for any form of discrimination. Share your story on Twitter, Facebook, or any platform that you have access to.