Are blacks and descendants of Africans the only people who wonder if there will be people who look like them when they are traveling? I haven’t stopped to ask any of my non-black friends, but it is often the mental question of the day for Blacks.
I remember when I was preparing to travel to Ireland. While reading about the country, I also researched the makeup of the population. It was truly my intent to enjoy myself and submerge myself in the country, but my parents would be remise if I didn’t take the time to determine how the country views Blacks. Perhaps this ideology stemmed from their upbringing in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. Regardless of where I travel, I have always placed researching racial relations as a bullet on my to-do list.
During my two weeks in Ireland last May, I traveled literally from one end of the country to the other, visiting about 15 different cities and dozens of educational and cultural sites. During that time, I saw 5 people who looked like me. All of them were also tourists. My experience in Ireland was wonderful but it was unusual to go to a club and have young adults approach me because they want to touch my hair. Some politely asked if they could touch it, others you could tell were mustering up the courage to frolic in it- much like a little baby petting a cat for the first time (sometimes being cautiously gentle and at other times pulling too hard). I felt like a one-man petting zoo. Where I am from, you do not walk up to folks and start petting their hair. I was not offended, just caught off guard.
While in Indonesia, I really don’t expect to see people who look like me, other than the few traveling with me, but I am curious about how I will be perceived. I guess I will find out soon enough.If you enjoyed this article, please use the buttons below to share it with someone else who you think will also enjoy it. Thanks! Follow me: Twitter: @_MissOnAMission Instagram: www.instagram.com/Miss_OnA_Mission Facebook: www.facebook.com/JacquelineYSamuel