It is always a little difficult to know how you will be perceived in another country especially as a Black person. The emotions and questions range from fear to excitement and throw in a little arrogance while you’re at it: Will the men think I’m fine? I hear they like Black women….I can work it! Do they think I’m a sex worker? African? American? Gypsy?? Do they think this is my real hair or do they know its fake? Why are they staring at me, I’m not stealing anything! Shit, is that the police?? What are they staring?
For the last 3 weeks I have been traveling throughout Italy. I have been to Rome, Siena, Florence, Arezzo and Castiglion Fiorentino. Over the course of the next 4 weeks, I will be traveling to Orvieto, Rome (for 4 days), Venice, and Florence again and I can’t help but wonder how people perceive me. As the only Black person among 30 other students, I wonder what would happen if I wandered away from the pack?
1 Week Later
Well. I’m no longer wondering what people think of me by myself anymore. Mostly because once I traveled to Rome people STOPPED STARING AT ME. In the little towns of Siena, Arezzo and Castiglion Fiorentino the black population is slim…. or none. Then here I am walking around with an afro, brightly colored tops and scarves, butchering the Italian language while ordering a meal. I stuck out like a sore thumb. But I got over it rather quickly. The only people that haven’t so far, are the old Italian men that point at me and say thing in Italian…. And I can’t decipher a single world. However once I made it to Rome, no one gave 2 shits. Seriously. They couldn’t care less if I were, African, Black, BRITISH ( side note: someone thought I was British and I started to feel like I had a shot at dating Idris Elba), they don’t care.They want money. Its alot like New York City, actually. Mean Green runs the city and nobody really cares as long as you pay the piper.