I’m black. Nothing special about that right?

I live in a tiny country somewhere in Europe with a population of about 17 million people, predominantly white. I’m black. Nothing special about that right?

Not to start a racial discussion or something, but I have noticed one or two things that are, well, interesting.

For instance…when I speak the local language, because well, that’s my first language, you get this: “Wow! You really don’t have a foreign accent at all, you are so well spoken! How come?

What about when someone asks me for directions? Their articulation instantly changes from normal to kindergarten level, hoping that way, I will understand. Doo-yoou-knoow-the-wayyy…(uses sign language).

Going for a job interview (after their diversity policy forced them to overlook the ethnic sound of my surname) and having a couple of big eyes stare at you while you shake their hands. Wondering how you can look so professional and ‘sound so white’. But most of all, how I can be so black and so brilliant? Ok, that last one has not been proven, but i’m sure thats what they are thinking too ;-p.

Now before you start calling that an assumption, I have actually had my interviewer admit to underestimating me and/or disqualifying me from the moment I walked in, based solely on the color of my skin on two separate occasions. It happens a lot. It happens every day.

Being placed in a box instantly does give me something that I have turned into my own advantage though. Whenever I start somewhere new, whether it is on a project at work or with a different department, I always get underestimated. The cool thing about that is that I always exceed people’s expectations. I frequently end up getting the highest appreciation on my results. The, I-was-so-wrong-to-underestimate-you-but-I-see-you-now-and-I’m-sorry, kind of appreciation. And of course, I did deserve the appreciation, just like anyone else who works hard and knows how to deliver. The difference here is that, nobody expects it from the black girl, and yet it is the black girl who nails it!

(dramatic background music) Yes my friends, being black in a white country still comes with a lot of challenges and uncomfortable realities. I still get asked if there happens to be ‘anyone else’ available to help whenever a client is uncomfortable with getting financial advice from a black girl. (dramatic background music fades)

But it’s good to grow up and live amongst those who love and hate, those who appreciate and despise. It’s good to be around the wise and openhearted, the ignorant and stubborn. Because it builds you up. It provides you with the skills you need to face the realities of life. It teaches you to understand who you are in all your strength and keep your head up high. Amazing.

But mine is the sunny side of things. Having a good job and eventually being recognized for my skills and all.

The truth is that, to this day, a black man with an Associates degree has the same chances to land a job as a high school graduate. Having a Bachelor’s degree ups his chances to the same level as that of a white college dropout. Or let me put it this way. A black man without a criminal record, still has less chances of landing a job interview (not even a job mind you), than a white man with a criminal record. These are the results of recent studies people.

Surprised? Well, this is our reality.

I live in a tiny country somewhere in Europe with a population of about 17 million people, predominantly white. I’m black. Nothing special about that right?

Property of blackanddixi

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57 Comments Add yours

  1. explorationthrougheducation says:

    Dear Dixi- I really enjoyed this article you posted. It rings true to many instances that I’ve seen while living in Italy as well as the United States. Would you be interested in being a regular contributor to my blog? I find your insight quite refreshing and I think your voice could be a wonderful tool in helping to educate the wider Anglo community about the importance of integration and inclusion.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and glad you enjoyed it. I must say I am quite and irregular blogger but do let me know what you had in mind.

      Like

      1. explorationthrougheducation says:

        Hi Diki- So you know, the site basically functions as a way for creative writers, bloggers, early researchers, etc. to promote their writing for free. As the job market is quite difficult these days, I thought it would be useful to create a site where people can get their name out without having to pay a fee. Since it’s an educational site, we’re always looking for opinion pieces on current events to help inform the community of global issues. If you find there is something in particular that is tugging at your heart strings, you can always send your writing to me at: ann.wand@anthro.ox.ac.uk– and I can let you know what I think. I hope that helps!

        Like

      2. Dixi says:

        Alright, will do!

        Like

  2. Mowafag says:

    Imaging this if you wish, you are in Juba, Nairobi or some other African city, a white man gets in the bus and sits next to you. Would you speak to him in the local tongue or would it be English or French. Now how would it feel when this guy replies in the local language without any accent.

    Otherwise, I loved the post specially that I had many similar experiences in a number of European countries.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Though I see what you mean, you can not compare a western country with 45% non white native speakers to any African country where being white AND native speaker is far less likely, see the difference? Otherwise glad you enjoyed the read! Thanks for stopping by.
      Love, Dixi

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mowafag says:

        I do see the difference you are referring to, and have no argument with that, except (and I might be wrong) I felt that if the picture would have been the other way around it might have been the same way. (Very dangerous to click on likes on WordPress before fully understanding what is written : )

        Like

  3. Unathi K. says:

    So wonderful to have discovered your blog, Dixi. Thank you for coming over to mine and following. I’m following you right back.

    This post has reminded me of my own similar unpleasant experiences and I’m not even living in a small European country of 17 million people, I’m in Africa 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. AAG says:

    Thanks for visiting my space. dope blog. I will be reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wowzer Dixi!! I love your words. You paint a clear picture…. You are sooooo special out there in Europe. I mean your talent is enormous. May life be good to you. So glad I found ur blog.!@#!

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Why thank you MaryMary!

      -Dixi

      Like

  6. Tobe Damit says:

    I wish I was black. Much Love to You Dixie! HUGZ!

    Like

  7. dougstuber says:

    And, from the big ol’ USA, where official policies, the militaristic police, and people in general are back to being racist, it make me really yearn for the 60s, 70s and a type of brotherhood long lost. Well my life hasn’t changed, but being in a multicultural marriage is not easy. I learned a lot about being a minority her ein South Korea, as the older ladies looked at my Korean wife with outright contempt, until she stopped going out with my son and I very often. She’s one tough lady, but what we face is nothing at all compared to multi-racial families back in North Carolina, my resettled “home town” where cross burnings still take place.

    I will be doing my journal writing class in homeless shelters this winter, then it’s on to China for a teaching post there. Good luck and keep up the great writing.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Back to the 60s and 70s type of brotherhood, i hear your loud and clear! And what a tragic situation in South Korea, i honestly was not aware of this. You and wife sound like very strong people and so i know that you will keep that up. I respect and admire your courage.

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. I wish you and your family all the best in your endeavors!

      Dixi

      Like

  8. Reblogged this on I-NETRADIO and commented:
    excellent

    Like

  9. Matowakan says:

    This is a very interesting post. They say you never really know a person until you walk a mile in his/her shoes, right? I have lived in Africa, a white man in a country of 40 million black people, and I have experienced many of the things you talk about. Most white Americans (and Europeans) have never truly experienced what it’s like to be a minority, to have assumptions made about you strictly because of your skin color. It is very disturbing and unsettling to walk through a rural village and hear chants of mzungu, mzungu! (white man! white man!) following you. But I wouldn’t call that racism, and I didn’t perceive it as such. More of a sense of foreignness, of being an outsider. I haven’t quite walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, but I took a few steps, and it opened my eyes. Thanks for your very interesting post, and thank you for visiting and liking my site.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Thanks for sharing Matowakan! I think that a lot of white people have felt the way you did when walking through an African village, i can only imagine how uncomfortable that must have been! Like you said, i wouldn’t call the mzungu calling racism either, just as some of the examples i gave in my post are not forms of racism, but born out of prejudice. Not being able to get a job, get a loan, buy a house, be respected, and being called out with bad names simply because you are black however, is racism. Unfortunatly, that is a daily reality for ‘us’.

      So thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Where else have you been in Africa?

      From Dixi

      Like

      1. Matowakan says:

        Lived in Kenya 3 years, and have spent significant time working in Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Cameroon and Central African Republic. Getting ready to relocate to Botswana next year for work for a long term (indefinite) assignment.

        Like

      2. Dixi says:

        Wow, that is amazing! I wish you all the best in your endeavours and most of all, a great time!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. cestlavieladypatience says:

    Good morning. I enjoyed every word of this post! The line about being the girl who has financial advise but are looked over…reminded me of the movie Something New. It’s interested to be black in a white, and male dominated society. There’s never a dull moment.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Hahaha, it sure is interesting!

      Thanks doll.

      Dixi

      Like

  11. chewfronta says:

    As I read your post and the comments thereto, my heart turns soggy with tears. So much needs doing. Yet, if we look only at those outside us who need to change, we ignore the tiny spark of us that we can control and improve. I know I need to change, too.
    As inspiration I cling to this quote from `Abdu’l-Baha: “If you desire with all your heart friendship with every race on earth, then your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread. It will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men.”
    I work on this goal, to desire with all my heart. It is hard. But I realize that the Christ had more than 1 reason for us to turn the other cheek. It can also help the “other”.
    I am so sorry for the injustice and humiliation y’all experience daily. You give me more resolve to work on me.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. madamsabi says:

    Dixi, people will always have something to prejudice about. Even if one is white, the person will still be grouped by the eye color and hair color. As a female, one is already prejudiced..raising about all and making an exceptional difference is what makes the ‘wow’ factor. Am an African and don’t wish to change the color of my skin for anything…

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      What you say is very true madamsabi! I’m glad to hear that you are proud of your skin and African heritage.

      Dixi

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Nuance says:

    Hi Dixi, thank you so much for this post. On Sunday I had an experience on the train from London to Brighton whereby no one would sit next to me. By ‘no one’, I mean – no white person, ’cause there were only white people on the carriage. And this other time on the bus to campus I had someone immediately stand as soon as I took the seat next to them. I am from South Africa, where we have fresh history of racism/apartheid. But in the less than 2 months I have been in the UK I have experienced such racism it is unbelievable. Not at all what I expected.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Hi Nuance,

      I am sorry to hear that you haven’t had a very warm welcome in the UK so far. I do want to encourage you, ‘they’ are not all bad and it does get better! And by getting better i mean, you will get better at dealing with it, eventhough that is a very twisted way to live.

      Make sure you stand your ground, hold on to your pride and beauty, and all the ugliness around you won’t hurt you.

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Dixi with Love

      Like

  14. missamazon says:

    Reblogged this on Miss Amazon's Blog and commented:
    I was really moved by this post. I’m aware of it though I’ve never experienced that kind of stereotypical garbage head-on. Respect, Dixi.

    Like

  15. So true… Especially in the United States. “Land of the Free”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hello Dixi,
    Excellent post. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I spent time stationed in Germany while serving in the US Military and one of my biggest realizations while living there, was that I was treated the same by European white folks as I was back at home by American white folks. Both were surprised to find that I am educated, well-spoken and (gasp!) not into hip-hop or rap. I enjoy your writing, please keep it up!

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Hey there MidKnight!

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      I definitely agree with what you said. I have been to several places in the US. It doesn’t matter on which part of the world you are, as a black individual, you are most likely to experience some raw and uncut prejudice. I must say, from my experiences and from hearsay, it’s even worse in Germany than where i am, so thumbs up for the way you handled it!

      I laughed at the hip-hop part a bit though! I always get the question which rapper is my favourite and if i can sing like the girls in SisterAct…(sigh)

      Great job on serving in the US military by the way. Don’t be a stranger!

      From Dixi

      Like

  17. bo says:

    Reblogged this on Bobbi's Blog.

    Like

  18. Yirenkyiwa says:

    I also live in Europe and initially thought you were writing about me! Haha. The prejudice will most probably never cease. But we always have to rise above it.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Hahaha! I guess, in a way, i was writing about you as you seem to be very much aware of some of the things i mentioned in my post, just as a lot of black men and women. But as you said, we rise above it!

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Dixi

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Elo says:

    Very well said I must say. Living in a predominately black country I don’t face your circumstances but it is good for me to know what happens outside of my bubble. You seem to handle yourself very well and it is wonderful to hear.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Thanks Elo! I can only imagine how living in a predominately black coutry differs from living here. But we all have different mountains to climb right?

      Thank you for reading and sharing!

      From Dixi with Love

      Liked by 1 person

  20. A wise person don’t judge by color!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. E. Sabino says:

    Nicely written Dixi. It would have been cool if youd cited the source of the study that details facts of black career chances versus white. It would be an interesting read. But youre obviously a talented and intelligent individual. At the risk of sounding as though Im trying to undermine your challenges. As a white man, I can tell you that I know what experiencing racism feels like. Perhaps I should illustrate this here for, perhaps some people dont know that whites experience racism too, pending what culture youre dealing with: I lived in Japan for seven years, and the experiences you related above are common place for a white person working/living in Japan. People wont sit next to you on the trains. In the work-place one is deliberately excluded (the white-guy doesn`t know anything.) One never gets told what is going on.
    The worst however would be the blatant contempt in any place where you are the “customer.” These include No:1 Pushing in line. No: 2 When asking for directions to an item (or a train) again the Japanese will just walk right up and talk “right over” the top of you, and get the information “they” need, as if you dont even exist. There is a long list, which I shant bore you with further, only to say, probably the best one is: Walking into a bar, or a restaurant and getting the sour-faced, “batsu maneuver” (Crossed arms, signaling NO ENTRY). Or theyll simply tell you that theyre full. Like at a hotel: same thing. And if you happen to have a lady with you, “especially” a Japanese lady, FORGET ABOUT IT! You would basically have to provide them with the marriage certificate and 9 “Japanese” character witnesses, to get a room.
    At least where you live, they come straight-out and say it, by the sounds of it. In Japan, however, much of the time … its all "hidden." Theyll give anything but the “real” reasons: (racism), as to why youre not welcome. But, thats “only” when youre prepared to "pay" as customer. When in a shopping center, on the trains, in a restaurant, "THAT" is when youll see what they really think of you. Sadly, it would seem, the Japanese are just as rude and racist as any other race. Theyre just very good at "pretending" not to be, but, only when youre prepared to pay them for a good or a service.
    This comment was meant to detract nothing from your posts. I think the moral I was going for:
    Racism exists everywhere. I once worked with a guy in Thailand who made, perhaps, a valid point:
    “We think we (English people) are racist. Put six Asians in a room together, if you really want to see racism.”
    Is it not time, we “all” got over this rubbish, and realized that there ARE NO RACES; were all immortal beings of infinite consciousness. Everything else is conditioning, and then choice. So lets get over it and
    http://www.transformtofreedom.com

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Thanks E. Sabino! With this post, i like to get people thinking, and if they feel for it, they can decide to find out more about the subject and the research that i talk about. I therefore purposely left out links to the studies you mentioned. But for your convenience, visit http://thinkprogress.org/education/2014/06/25/3452887/education-race-gap/. This is just one of many studies done on this subject over the past two decades.

      I hear what you are saying on racism towards white people in countries like Japan. Though not entirely similar by origin and nature, i think we can all agree that there is no justification for this behaviour towards any human being, ever.

      I only gave a few examples of very obvious events of predjudice towards black people (or non whites) in my post. It is not so that racism towards black people or in my case is at least out in the open and clear as day. Things like being disregarded, ignored and simply not respected are things that ‘we’ grew up with. We have gotten so used to being overlooked and ignored as relevant that i did not even see the need to mention this in my post. 

      I think that we can all agree that it does not matter what shape or form racism may show its face. The only thing that is Just is true equality for all mankind. 

      But that would be a perfect world…

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  22. larryjben says:

    Reblogged this on randomthoughts and commented:
    Reblogging this for a different perspective

    Liked by 1 person

  23. More Than Tattoos says:

    This is such a fantastic post. We are running a campaign to try and stop tattoo discrimination, and there are often comparisons to that of race.
    However, I think that racism and judging people because of their skin colour is so much deeper than tattoos, and I have just written a post about it. It would be great if you let us know your opinion on the comparison.
    http://morethantattoos.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/is-tattoo-discrimination-on-the-same-level-as-racism/
    You sound brilliant and you write well. I hope people stop judging you the way you express in this post.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Glad you are inspired by this post. I will go ahead and read your post on tattoo’s and racism.

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Dixi with Love

      Like

  24. Bleek says:

    I love this…
    As I read this, I couldn’t help but think of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dixi says:

      That is an awesome addition, thank you.

      I appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts.

      Dixi with Love

      Like

  25. etherealseas says:

    Nice post. Even America we still experience this an its very sad to think just because we are black we can’t have manners or be articulate or have a high IQ.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Unfortunately this still happens all over the world. It sure does not help when we see how negatively black people are still being portrayed in the media, reinforcing the prejudice towards people of color.

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      Dixi with Love

      Like

      1. etherealseas says:

        Your welcome! Its nice to see someone who thinks the same on certain topics!

        Liked by 1 person

  26. SamaraMarie says:

    Dixi,
    Greetings from Harlem, New York! First of all, I want to say thank you for visiting my site. I appreciate it. Secondly I love this post. I can relate to it, as I have the same experiences. I look forward to reading more of your writing. Take care, -Samara

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      Hi Samara, how is New York treating you? Visiting and reading your posts was my pleasure! On this subject, i think ‘we’ can all relate to this. I am just proud of the rising number of successful and high ranking black women over the past years despite it all right?

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Dixi with love

      Like

  27. Dixi
    I live in a tiny European country where I never saw a black person until I was about seventeen.
    As a kid tv was always showing old American shows which portrayed race in a subtle sinister way.
    Religion too sterilized our thought process.
    For me as a kid my hero was Muhammad Ali. I never thought of him as black I just loved him for what he was.
    I think prejudice will always be present in society as will ignorance and poverty.
    It has been ingrained for centuries but is dissipating as integration is more widespread.
    Humans are not defined by their colour but by their deeds.
    Your blog is excellent. Well written.

    Like

    1. Dixi says:

      What a remarkable story about your youth. Muhammad Ali being one of your heroes just because of who he was is exactly the way i believe we ought to look at eachother. It’s interesting that you mentioned the media and certain teachings on religion as an influance to views on race.

      I am glad to hear that at least you and i see eachother for who we are and not by the colour of our skin. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Like

  28. маша says:

    I kind of completely know how u feel Dixi, and I’m proud to say that every time and everywhere I go I’m the most intelligent girl, and I stand out because of that, and then when you show your thoughts people react like “oh your are so intelligent” the only and bit the tongue to don’t put a “to a black girl” at the end…
    And I’m living in Ukraine right now so I’m the black dot in he middle of the crowd.

    Nice blog

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dixi says:

      Sorry for the late reply, for some reason your comment was marked as spam!

      It is truly remarkable how many black men and women still experience these things up to this day.
      But like you said, you stand out because you are so much more than they expected you to be.
      I have never been to Ukraine but i have a very good idea of how you must fit in a country where other ethnic groups are hard to find!
      Were you born in Ukraine or moved there?

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Dixi with love

      Liked by 1 person

  29. maspring37 says:

    Well done, Dixi. You sound like a girl with her head held high. Unfortunately , prejudice comes in many forms, I am 76 and many people are amazed to see me use an iPad or send an email . Why? My mother is almost 98 and uses my iPad when I visit her. It annoys the hell out of me when they class all old people as if we have lost our marbles.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dixi says:

      Unfortunately prejudice does come in many forms Maspring! But hey, isn’t proving them wrong without even trying worth the annoyance? Tumbs up to you and your mom for living a full life! 98 years old, what a blessing! Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Like

      1. maspring37 says:

        It’s amazing how it feels to still have my mother so I am still her little girl. 🙂 you are very beautiful inside and out. Margaret

        Like

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