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Guest Post: Experienced Discrimination in Colombia

  1. First story

In my first year of living in Colombia, a group of girlfriends and I travelled to Cartagena. On one of the first nights, we went to a club called Bubaloos or something like that. We went in two separate groups, me being in the first. When we got there they told us the club was closed to a private event. Being our first time, we took it to be true and told our friends to meet us elsewhere. The next day we learned that other mutual friends had been there the night before and it began to sink in; they had turned us away because we weren’t the clientele they were seeking.

2. Second story

This is not quite travelling discrimination, but related to the stereotypes attached to black people in countries in which they are not the majority. While I was living in Santiago, Chile I had to experience being solicited as a sex worker at 4:30 in the afternoon as I walked to my apartment with grocery bags in tow.

After the shock and confusion wore off I asked Chilean friends why this had been assumed. The explanation was simple, if not completely limiting and infuriating: I was a black woman which meant I must have been Colombian and the only thing they “knew” about black Colombian women was they were prostitutes, particularly up in the mining towns in the north of the country. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the last time.

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