Monday, June 9, 2008

TWB: Traveling While Black

"Yes, Americans will vote for a black man.

But has Europe changed? And have Asia and the Middle East changed? I hate to put it so crudely, but,...racism is not a phenomenon unique to the United States. The situation of ethnic minorities in Europe and Asia is completely different from that of the United States, and in many ways our societies aren't comparable: Most nonwhite inhabitants of European societies are recent immigrants, not descendants of former slaves, and the particular situation of, say, the black Christian population in Arab-dominated Sudan is unique.

Nevertheless, it is safe to say that there is a distinct dearth of nonwhite politicians in Europe. The Indian caste system has an element of skin-color discrimination built into it. Arab societies have their own history of trading in black slaves, and the existence of anti-black-African prejudice in the Arab world is no secret. Periodically, African students in Moscow get beaten up on the streets.

Though certainly more severe in those countries that have large nonwhite populations, unreflective racism exists even in parts of the world that have barely any darker-skinned or nonnative inhabitants at all. Japan has been singled out by the United Nations for its racist treatment of foreigners. And while some of the stares that black Americans say they get on the street in Warsaw or Prague reflect simple curiosity, some, I'm told, also contain an element of hostility."

-- Anne Applebaum, saying something most Americans don't understand - on

Racist countries, like France, regularly use America's racial history for political leverage - against America - though racism in America is almost non-existent compared to France.

1 comment:

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