The Truth About Racism in Spain: Tips for Visiting Spain While Black
Studying abroad in the picturesque Basque Country in the spring of 2012 has been one of the highlights of my young life. Bilbao was my first encounter with Spain outside of textbooks and audio tapes in my Spanish classes. The city ignited my long-term love affair with Spain, a fondness that is still going strong. But being black in Spain came with its own challenges. As a black expat, I couldn’t escape the racist attitudes and prejudices of some Spaniards, who need extensive schooling on cultural sensitivity, tolerance, and just plain decency.
Not too long after I arrived at Universidad de Deusto, I learned that black soccer players were regularly subjected to racist chants at games against Athletic Bilbao. I looked into this phenomenon and discovered that racist chants were actually common at soccer matches in Spain. A fan once threw a banana at Dani Alves, a Brazilian soccer star who used to play for Barcelona. In another incident, the referee had to stop a match because the monkey noises aimed at Athletic Bilbao’s Iñaki Williams, who is of Ghanaian-Liberian descent, were getting out of hand. When I went to a Barcelona-Rayo Vallecano game in Madrid two years ago, fans seated not too far from me hurled racist insults at Neymar Jr. Racism in Spain definitely extends far beyond the soccer stadium, but is it something black travelers should be concerned about? [Read more…] about The Truth about Racism in Spain: Advice for Black Travelers