Skip to comments.A Black Student Journalist Discovers in Turkey Her Color Is the Story
Posted on 07/23/2012 9:41:14 PM PDT by nickcarraway
When my University of Illinois journalism class was preparing to depart for a three-week reporting trip to Turkey, I wondered how my African-ness would come across to Turkish people. My parents are Nigerian immigrants, which makes me Nigerian-American. For most of my childhood, Ive been in the minority. Most of the people in my hometown are Caucasian and most of my college friends in Urbana-Champaign, where our university is located, are white or Asian.
That being said, I rarely think about my race. There are times when I do think about my culture, like when I attempt to cook Nigerian food for my roommates. But I never really think about how my skin color is vividly different from most people around me.
Once I boarded the plane to Turkey, I was so preoccupied with finding Africans to interview for my articles on Nigerians in Turkey, I never really thought much more about how I would come across to Turkish people. In Istanbul, there were a few comments. At the Grand Bazaar, shopkeepers yelled Chocolate to get my attention, but I didnt feel that I was considered any more of a spectacle than my blonde, blue-eyed classmates. However, when we traveled to Antioch, in southern Turkey, to learn about Syrian refugees along the border, it was a different story.
In the culturally diverse city, one woman pointed to me, to her own arms and face, and then back to my skin in amazement, as if she couldnt believe that a human could be so dark. A little boy on the street stopped to stare at me for two full minutes.
(Excerpt) Read more at rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com ...
Read the article. It really isn’t.
Read the article. It’s totally racist (colorist).
I found her story quite interesting and didn’t find any racist comments in it. Just understanding that culture makes the difference along with race....
Actually kind of interesting, there are lots of different looking people in Turkey apparently just not too many black ones so they get noticed. I had an old girlfriend who moved to Concord, New Hampshire for much the same atmosphere minus the Muslims.
Well I can kinda understand this one as I was stationed in Japan during my time in the NAVY. I took a tour of a traditional Japanese Village(I was the only Black Person on the tour), many of the children and some of the people actually came up to me and touched me to see if I was real. My guide, who happened to be a dependent explained most of them if ever have never seen a Black Person, outside of T.V. which it was only one in the whole damn village, but hey I had fun with as I spoke some Japanese, which sent most of them running for the hills, when I did!
I'm black and I am SOOOOO sick of black people being so GD narrow-minded and seeing "race" in every damn little thing.
Hey, Tola, YOU ARE GOING TO A FOREIGN NATION! Why the hell do you expect to see people of your own race there in any significant numbers?
You need to go with an open mind and a willingness to learn about the people who live there. I know what I'm talking about because I lived in Japan for while, and managed to fit in. I learned the language BEFORE I went and studied the everyday customs and avoided offending people (as much as possible). No problems. In fact, fewer problems than my white American compatriots. I found it funny how Japanese instantly recognize me as "American".
This stupid stupid stupid mindset is why black people seem to be perpetually stuck at the bottom of global society.
My parents are Nigerian immigrants, which makes me Nigerian-American
Actually kind of interesting, there are lots of different looking people in Turkey apparently just not too many black ones so they get noticed.
more black slaves were sent to Turkey (the Ottoman Empire), than to the American colonies.
...but today, we have over 30 million descendants of slaves, while Turkey has almost none...
...slavery was legal in Saudi Arabia, until 1964,
but there are almost no blacks in Saudi Arabia either...
Malcolm X, Nation of Islam and Shaykh Abdalqadir - Islamic slavery of non-Muslims
However, at least 28 million Africans were enslaved in the Muslim Middle East. ... it is believed that the death toll from the 14 centuries of Muslim slave raids into Africa could have been over 112 million.
The rest of the world is a lot more race conscious than America.
Any one who has traveled the world knows this.
My brother and I got similar stares when we’d go to Ranch 99 in California.
We’re tall, white-skinned dudes (even though our mom’s ancestry is all from Mexico), and my brother is married to a tall Chinese woman. Ranch 99 is a supermarket that caters to asian cultures of all stripes. People would stop in the middle of the aisle and stare at the three of us. And this was in the USA.
I can only imagine what it would be like going to some Chinese city away from the major ones. Or a rural Nigerian village for that matter. And imagine being a natural red-head in such culturally-monolithic places.
My blonde-haired, blue-eyed sister-in-law got the same treatment in Japan when she went as an exchange student. She was viewed as being exotic.
It did help her land a husband, who was native Japanese :-)
But their four kids have had to face prejudice for being only half Japanese. They aren’t readily accepted in Japan even though they were born there and have spent their entire lives there.
That is a very interesting story! A few years ago I was food shopping in NJ in a store where many Turkish immigrants like to go. I had a Turkish man stop me and ask if I was from Germany...I have natural light blonde hair and I guess I reminded him of when he used to live there. I’ve also had a lot of Indians stare at my hair too...I think when you come from a country where everyone’s hair is dark, etc....seeing someone different is unique.
I had similar experiences as a white guy in Korea. Several times I had people touch me, apparently to see if I felt different.
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