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Mixed Race in Europe

Hello, I was just curious if anyone had some experiences -positive or negative- with being or observing someone of mixed race in European countries. I am 19 and have a tanned complexion (I am African-American and Jewish; many people mistake me for Puerto Rican, though that may just be due to the high Hispanic population in my region) and next year I will be traveling to the Netherlands to be an Au Pair. I'm honestly not too worried about how I will be received in Holland, my greater concern is when I travel to Italy, Greece, Spain, Germany, or Poland as I have heard a couple negative things here and there about those places. I would love to get first hand testaments as to the general disposition of those countries, or any others (though I am particularly interested in Poland, as it is very important to me to visit Auschwitz). Any other travel advice is greatly appreciated too!

Posted by
2081 posts

alli.tales,,

Congrats on your built in tan. Many people spend a lot of $$$ for one. ;)

i can only speak for where i have traveled and so far, i havent felt i was treated differently due to my race. It would be nice to be treated like a king somewhere, but I'm not one of the 1% or a actor/rock star so that aint happening too soon.

for the place you are going and i have been to:

Amsterdam
Koln & Hamburg

for what its worth, i wouldn't let it bother you either way. So far all of my travels have been positive. Even if i were to be subject to something race related, to me, its just another day and i try not to let it bother me or my trip.

happy trails.

Posted by
16742 posts

In the absence of more replies to this topic, I also believe you'll have no issues. I know that we have some mixed-race couples, for instance, among our repeat tour members and independent travelers.

Posted by
2 posts

I'm a mixed race female (African-American and Mexican) and often travel alone in Europe. I have been lucky enough to go to Spain, Germany, Holland, France, Italy, England and Iceland. I have not had any troubles with people being rude or staring at me. Most people assumed I spoke whatever the language of the country was and were generally very helpful when I told them that I didn't speak the language. The only place where people were surprised to see someone who looked like me (and probably you) was in Iceland since their country is very homogeneous. But no one made me uncomfortable.

Additionally last year I was traveling through Spain with my boyfriend who is white and we had no problems at all. I think you'll be fine. Try learn a few phrases in the languages of the countries you're traveling to; make sure those phrases include "I don't speak Italian, Greek" etc. and pleasantries. If you speak another language ask people if they do as well. When I was in Italy, I only knew a few phrases but I met lots of people who spoke Spanish like I do. Then I was able to talk people and enjoy their company. Just be smart like if you're in a big city in the US and friendly- everything else will work out fine.

Posted by
12084 posts

" In the absence of more replies to this topic...." I wonder why that is the case.

Posted by
9110 posts

I wonder why that is the case.

Limited experience? Mine's real limited, but:

One of my travel pals is black as hell. I'm white as hell. For a few decades I've worked on international projects with a really dark Egyptian gal and a really black woman from South Africa. I've know all three of them for seven evers, yelled at their kids, and changed their grandkids' diapers - - had there been prejudice/discrimination issue I'm sure I'd have heard about it.

The little international group has in it people from every continent except Antarctica with the corresponding hide tints. When we finish a project we tend to hang around together and let off steam for a day or two. Race and religion seldom come up and then only as a question more about cultural idiosyncrasies and history, but never about race or prejudice.

Now we come to the question of religion and specifically Jews, I guess, but I've never seen such an id card so how can you tell? Primary source of scoop: my honorary Israeli Jewish goddaughter. It gets a little complicated since her mother is a Jew, her dad a Lutheran, and her real godparents are Moslems. (Don't ask or quibble, I know nothing about religious rules.) The kid, now pushing forty, is a traveling mad woman. Since she's laid into me about everything else that bugs her, I'd probably have heard about that as well if there were anything to it. Secondary source of scoop: a Jewish brother in law. He thinks everybody hates him and he's right since he's a known jackass. So is the Catholic brother in law, but he's a lawyer and that explains everything.

I wonder why that is the case.

Maybe because it's a non-issue. Or one that ranks right up there with comfy, stylish women's shoes - - not a bunch of stuff that made sense on that one, either.

Now, in the Deep South, we have a bunch of leftover KKK / John Birch idiots that only admit their thinking to very few people. Those are the suckers that, if you knew what's just beneath the surface of their miniscule brains, you'd want to stay away from. There aren't many left, but there's enough.