Do you actively think about your race every day?
Here in Argentina where I’m part of the %3, I do more than usual.
In Argentina, 97% of the population is of Spanish or Italian decent, so when I walk down the street with my huge curly fro and brown skin, I get lots of unwelcome comments and stares.
People ask (or don’t) to touch my hair, take pictures of me without my permission, and the men will literally call out how they have never seen someone like you before.
And with that much attention, it’s hard to not feel bizarre. And here, there are very specific reasons why I’m liked, according to my peers. It’s because you’re black. It’s because of your hair. It’s because they don’t see women like you often.
It’s frustrating, but I don’t want to become that person, speaking and acting for all of the people in the world who look like me. South America is amazing culturally and educationally, but having my identity retold daily in public spaces is exhausting. Yet, I’ve read plenty of blogs and forums about men and women abroad who welcome the attention being called to their race or ethnicity.
Are you or do you know anyone living, studying, or working abroad? What have your/their experiences been like? Is exoticism one of them? How about in the U.S? Discuss!