Is race or gender more likely to be an issue with a black woman travelling internationally?

By | September 27, 2016

Black people are discriminated against because of the color of their skin. Besides the troubles in America, I often hear stories about black people in Asia and Eastern Europe being pointed at and mocked for no other reason than being black.

Women are often treated less than because of their gender. In the Middle East, woman’s rights are curtailed significantly but other countries have their own issues as well with how they treat with women.

I wondered if black women felt more discriminated because of their gender or because of their race when travelling internationally. I found the perfect subreddit to ask this question: /r/blackwomen.

The answers I received were inconclusive:

  • Both: 3
  • Neither:3
  • Race:1
  • Gender:1


The places that people said they felt racial discrimination were:

  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • Tunisia (from European tourists not the natives)
  • Netherlands (during the feast days of St Nicholas because of the comparisons to Zwarte Piet)

The places that people felt gender discrimination were:

  • Senegal
  • Ethiopia

This was an interesting quote that contrasts colorism with racism.

She said flat out that Colorism is the discrimination she’s encountered the most. Due to her skin tone and other features people often thinks she’s African, and people from Africa can sometimes be treated differently than Black Americans. I’m American too, but people often assume I am when I travel. No one has asked me where I’m from or anything and I think that’s made our experiences different. When we went to Europe, people assumed she was African, and didn’t think much of it when she said she was American. Especially after talking to her, they could spot an American accent pretty easily. In Asia, colorism was an issue, where people would comment on how dark she is. In Africa, it was probably the most blatant. She told me several times ppl offered her skin lightening cream and some ppl flat out told her she was lying when she said she was American. She kinda jokes that she never got that “But where are you really from” until going to Africa.

So there really was no clear cut answer but that’s to be expected given the nature of the question. This is a subjective experience so mileage will vary.

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