Stereotypes as a black person is almost a constant companion as you travel abroad in some places. It’s one that journeys with you as a close companion. These stereotypes cover your whole being, so that you are not viewed as a single entity, a human being in some eyes but as all the negative stereotypes that have been used to paint blacks everywhere.
So, here you are in your good,good clothes as we say in Jamaica, hoping to soak up all the experiences in this foreign land you have been dreaming of exploring for oh so long.
You board the ubiquitous ‘hop on hop off bus’ and as you walk by people start shifting their bags and belongings closer to their person. Having being subjected to this before, you see what is happening and you fight hard not to let this negative colour your experience in this exciting place.
You think back on the time when you were walking down the street in a quaint European city, with your huge camera bobbing at your side. You were shocked to see a red BMW pull up with a neanderthal making lewd hand motions, because clearly, you must be in the flesh trade and can never be a tourist. This was in broad daylight as we say in Jamaica. The nerve!
In many Asian countries stereotypes of black people result in a name like gorilla being thrown at you. The irony, that those whose features mirror animals in the same family throw this around, is actually comical.
Some see you coming and scurry across the street because you must be big, bad and mad, so you will eat them or harm them in some way because…stereotypes of black people.
“Where is this, that and the other?” asks the person you run into in the lobby.
“I have no idea,” you reply.
“Oh, I thought you worked here.”
Clearly, stereotypes of black people are sometimes part and parcel of travelling where you encounter, the small minded, the narrow minded or the pea brained.
Travelling abroad while black in many places isn’t always sugar and spice and all that nice. Stereotyping leads to discrimination and sometimes if you are not careful your whole view of an area is coloured by one negative encounter.
Negative stereotypes of black people are unfortunately everywhere it feels at times.
They won’t stop me from seeing this wonderful world though.