Race Plus Travel

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Are you "black" in this country but then something else when you've travelled abroad? Tracey Coleman of the blog Brooklyn Travel Addict talks about how race influences the travel experience in different countries and cultures.

This special show on Travel first aired on July 2, 2014 and was re-aired in its entirety on August 22.


Tracey Coleman

Comments [24]

Kei from NYC

Just tuned in and absolutely loved this segment and all of its participants! I studied abroad in Japan as a black woman a few years ago, and it was a life-changing experience. People tended to treat you based on your country of origin (usually people guessed that I was American) and on your behavior, build, curiosity about the culture and style of dress. As a petite, soft spoken woman some people got better treatment in certain situations than larger, outspoken American friends, for instance. All in all, traveling is such a rich, perspective-altering experience and if you can set aside the money and time, do it!

Aug. 22 2014 11:45 AM
Carly from Minneapolis

In Namibia, I was with a group of 20 other white teens from America/Canada. A few Africans tried to 'buy' us. That was a first!

Jul. 02 2014 11:44 PM
Carly from Minneapolis, MN

In Namibia, I was with a group of 20 other white teens from America/Canada. A few Africans tried to 'buy' us. That was a first!

Jul. 02 2014 11:44 PM
Carly from Minneapolis, MN

In Namibia, I was with a group of 20 other white teens from America/Canada. A few Africans tried to 'buy' us. That was a first!

Jul. 02 2014 11:44 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Becky, nah. If you're black, perhaps an underlying problem is that you think your have to "defend" yourself with race matters. Anyway, let's move on (but not in enjoyable, blissful blindness).

Jul. 02 2014 12:15 PM
The Truth from Becky

The flag is not "waved" by traveling Black or Gay, that is not what I said/wrote. I speak directly to this topic and Brian...Can it be ignored that one is Black or Brown when traveling obviously NOT, but we are discussing travel, an enjoyable summer segment, I was enjoying NOT defending myself or arguing and Brian added hte race angle, everything changed so, ya damn right I have something to say about it, I don't stand with the degenerates of this board, ever but I do disapprove and it is my right as an American to say so. I will not apologize.

Mike - Is is racist to discuss racism? Get outta you're own head for the answer.

Jul. 02 2014 11:56 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Becky, nobody has to "wave a flag" to be judged by their skin color or sexual orientation. I have a friend from Sri Lanka who wrote on an online posting board about an incident where some people threw things at her at age 12 when they passed her on the street. 1 of the other posters asked why she thought she was treated differently (more generally, but soon after she told this story) because of her skin color & not because people didn't like her personally. Of course, the attack on the street was more extreme than most of the treatment she received, but it was the most obvious example to show that it had nothing to do w/her personality.

Jul. 02 2014 11:51 AM
Tammy from New Jersey

For some reason Europeans never believe that I am American when they initially meet me. I am not sure what a American or Black American at that should look like but it usually takes a bit of convincing. When I lived in Florence,Italy the Africans living in the city wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. I tried to engage them as often as possible but nothing. The experience was very different than I ever expected. The worst experience happened while on a tour of Pompeii with my sister. Our tour guide kept asking where in Africa we were from even though we told him we were American. He actually said, your family obviously came from Africa and at that point had to give him a very quick lesson on the African slave trade and the United States. Believe me I made sure he clearly understood that it is NEVER okay to ask a Black American where in Africa their family came from and that his level of ignorance and insensitivity was absolutely unacceptable.

Jul. 02 2014 11:51 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Oh, Becky...Yes, as reflected in my first comment, it is not ALWAYS a problem. But it can be, often, in ways that it is not for whites, etc. And so it is an issue that needs address...And we "wave" our race while traveling??? How? By wearing our black skin?...Similarly, gay people "wave" their gayness by being gay?...I'm disappointed. smDh

Jul. 02 2014 11:41 AM
Amy from Manhattan

My best friend from back in DC went on a (Christian) mission trip to Nigeria in the late '70s. The people they were working with went around to each of them identifying which kind of African ancestries they had. My friend asked, "What about me?" They said, "Oh, you're white!" She's fairly light-skinned, but no one in the US would be likely to consider her anything but black.

Jul. 02 2014 11:35 AM
The Truth from Becky

It is an issue... for SOME - I will not thank him, BUT I will ask you the same question I ask of Gay people, and the question is rhetorical and does not require an explanation. How do you expect people to judge you upon your character when you are always waving your race, sexual preference flag in their face?!

Jul. 02 2014 11:35 AM
David from Manhattan

Unlike some of the comments here, I applaud Brian for bringing up race. He says traveling while "black or brown" not traveling while white, because white people have had the privilege to the world for so long now. It's pretty common and not surprising to see white tourists anywhere in the world. Experiences of black or brown ARE definitely going to be different than from white travelers.

Jul. 02 2014 11:35 AM

People of African-descent in Ireland/Germany/Sweden may be getting especially positive treatment for reasons other than solely that they are "lovely, open minded" cultures. Let's not slam the US just bc BBC and the arab world seems to be amused by doing so.

In each of these countries I'm sure there are racial or religious "minorities" -- those minorities are quite familiar with some of the world's most dangerous ignorance, hate and violence. We are talking about the homes of Vikings, kingdoms, (in Russia, Stalin) and death depending on one's religion or even branch of the same religion. And then there are those lovely nazis…. in their (thousands of) eyes a black, a gay person would be skinned alive same as the jew.

Jul. 02 2014 11:34 AM
Mike from Cobble Hill

The Truth from Becky -- it wouldn't be an internet discussion of race without someone carping about how talking about race is in itself racist.

Funny how that "talking about racism is racist" meme didn't seem to exist until there was a Black president.

Jul. 02 2014 11:29 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Becky, you're critical of Brian for this segment (and note the degenerate company you're keeping with this), but then you say "it depends"...So is it an issue or not? Of course it is. It always is. Why kill the messenger, instead of thanking him for addressing it, which is how we get over it? SMH

Jul. 02 2014 11:27 AM
Alyson from Midtown

Being black in Europe was great! Typically, I blended in with the native until I spoke and my Midwest drawl gave me away. Then whomever I encountered always asked to hear my view on America. The British seemed more interested in me than my white travel mates, who they saw as typical egocentric American tourists.

Jul. 02 2014 11:21 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Not an example of racism, just an observation, but my wife is an African-American New Yorker, and during the several vacations we've spent in Ireland over the years most folks take it for granted that she's from the Caribbean.

Jul. 02 2014 11:21 AM
The Truth from Becky

Way to ruin a segment, with race! - we couldn't just all be travelers huh Brian? SMH

But to answer your question, it depends where you go, if you travel to a Country where race is not the issue, being an American surely will be!

Jul. 02 2014 11:17 AM
Lauretta from Brooklyn, NY

I am a dark skinned african american woman. I have travelled quite extensively. I must admit I often wonder how I will be received when I travel. In Finland- everyone called me Lauryn Hill bc I think she was the only black personthey had seen. In Thailand while onmy honeymonn, I was looked at like an oddity. Honestly I felt like I was in the circus because wherever I went the native Thais, especially in Bangok, starred at me with no shame. Phukey and Ko Phi Phi were the same. I honestly dont know if it was because I am a tall black woman and they thought I was a model or if it was bc they never see African Americans. My husband is very light skinned and could pass for any race so it was obvious that they were looking at me. It was a very disarming experience for me and what I remember the most.

Jul. 02 2014 11:01 AM
Gay Traveler from Out in the World

Yes, traveling while gay and out can be very complicated.

Jul. 02 2014 10:58 AM
Cathy from Hoboken, NJ

I am technically a white person of Greek and Italian descent. However, I have black hair and eyes and darkish olive skin. Whenever I go abroad, people are surprised that I'm American and often insist that I must be South American or not originally American. This same thing often happens to me here in the US. I constantly get asked where I am from. When I say I'm from New Jersey, the response is almost always "but where is your family from?"

Jul. 02 2014 10:57 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Traveling while black is not always a liability.
In fact, in some foreign countries, it can be an asset, and also gratifying when you see how globally celebrated, embraced and adopted black culture is.
But then there are those times when you find you are the only black people for miles around, conspicuous and feel undercurrents of tension, discomfort.
The challenge is that you don't know what you'll get and must be prepared for anything. The uncertainty.

Jul. 02 2014 10:54 AM
Kate from NJ

I'm not black or brown but couldn't help but be struck when I went to Thailand in 2011. The only person on our flight from Philly to Bangkok that was detained upon arrival at Bangkok airport was the sole 'person of color' on the flight. Later I heard that men of color are referred to as 'chocolate men' in Thailand.

Jul. 02 2014 10:54 AM
John from office

Brian bring race into any segment, it is his white liberal guilt.

Next will be the LGBT segment on travel.

But, to engage in the segment, I am always surprised with African Americans who travel to Africa and expect something out of the Lion King. More like the movie Blood Diamonds.

Jul. 02 2014 10:04 AM

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