New York, NY, USA

Traveling As A Black Woman

It's 2019 and all you have to do is turn on the TV to know that this topic is relevant. The fact of the matter is that black millennials are stamping their passports like never before. And yes there are issues that both men and women face, but I happen to be a woman and this is the best perspective I know how to articulate.

When I decided to start traveling, I mean really start traveling, so many people gave me the cross-eyed "I don't think she knows kind of look". I was often reminded of one simple fact that I was a girl and I was black. "Well butter my butt and call me toast", when did that happen?! I have been a black girl since, well... birth. I may have grown up on the farm but I have lived in Philadelphia, New York City, Newark and even did a stint in Greensboro; I know what it means to be a black individual, in a day and age of both freedom and bondage. But let's make one thing certain I will never let the color of my skin nor my God-given gender hinder me from doing anything I put my mind to.

Fast forward, four countries later and I have come to realize, more times than not we are the main ones who are mindful of our skin color, especially when abroad. There are a few places, that this is not true and colorism is prevalent.

During my trip to Curaçao, I found that locals, as well as other tourists, did not see me as the stereotypical "Ghetto Black Hoodrat" often shown on TV; they just saw a young lady on vacation with her mother struggling to read the Spanish and Dutch dinner menus.

However, my experience in Morocco was much different. My travel buddy and I were oftentimes called "Shaneqia, Obama Girls and yes, even Beyoncé". At first, this did not bother us, until one of the last night we were walking through the Medina and called "Nigga".

At the end of our trip, somewhere between Madrid and Marrakesh, we realized that we were partially to blame for these encounters. They were a direct representation of black women shown on traditional media sources. If we demanded better representations at home, when we go abroad they would have better stereotypes to pull from; even as convoluted as that sounds.

I do not want to sit here and tell you to see the world from a different point of view. I am here to encourage you to see it from the perspective that I was given as a woman of the diaspora who happens to be from the "Land of the Free". So, be free from all the nay-sayers who are too afraid for themselves to dream big.

By Kandice