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The staff member handling my check-out was no exception. This exchange generated a mixture Do russian girls like black men emotions in me: amusement at her attempt to sound knowledgeable; outrage at the outright lie; and a desire to set her straight. I could act on only of these feelings.
After the initial gasp of surprise, the two women eagerly entered into conversation with me. They laughed heartily at their statement and jumped at the opportunity to ask me some more questions. I responded factually and cordially, and at their request even let them get a closer look at my hair.
Is there racism there? In my six years as a student at a Russian university I never received lower grades because of the color of my skin. I have not experienced institutional racism in Russia. As the above experience shows, however, travel, work and life for a Black person in Russia is not without its challenges. What little the average Russian knows about Blacks has been learned from limited and questionable sources. The Soviet press used to pass onto its citizenry selected images of the Western world intended to prove just how bad the rest of the world was and what a socialist mecca they lived in.
Those images included the inferior status in which people of color have been held in the Do russian girls like black men States. So, many Russians have accepted the notion that Blacks are inferior. These people perpetuate racist attitudes. A limited of African-Americans migrated to the Soviet Union in the s at the invitation of the Soviet government. In the late s, students from Africa and the Caribbean began to study in larger cities.
While most Muscovites and residents of other large cities have seen Blacks, they often have had no direct contact or communication with them. Many Russians have never seen a Black person in their lives. This is particularly true outside the larger cities. Children, even adults, will want to touch your hair. You will be asked questions which seem rude but really reflect their lack of exposure.
Try not to take offense. It will often have nothing to do with the color of your skin, as a quick look around will assure you. They are very often rude to each other. I would walk into the store and stand for several minutes waiting to be served. This is a very familiar feeling to many of us, but no less annoying because of that fact.
Now what is it that you want? If this happens to you, please do not assume that you just had a racist encounter. Each person has to learn how to handle these situations in their own way. I typically focus on my positive experiences which far out the negative ones. Such incidents should not stop you from enjoying your stay or from returning. I have found that Russians are truly appreciative of any effort made to learn their language, which they know is a difficult one. A few words go a long way toward overcoming the barriers of culture and race.
You will experience their mistrust of you as a foreigner, and their envy that you are a foreigner. What else could you be but a foreigner? Naive requests for help. Keep it positive, and search for another explanation for behavior that makes you uncomfortable before labelling it racism.
Yes, you will come into contact with rude, abrasive and racist individuals. But the majority of Russians will learn something about Blacks from you.
In my interaction with a Russian, I always try to make life a little easier for the next person of color with whom that individual comes in contact. Andrea Ewart studied and worked in Russia for several years and currently works in Washington at the Academy for Educational Development. Save my name,and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Category : News. A woman of color in Russia — personal narrative of a Black student June 17, :. Find Jobs. Post Jobs. Diverse Poll view poll online survey software.Do russian girls like black men
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Are Russians racist towards black people? My experience