No, I am not a prostitute! I am just a BLACK Woman that TRAVELS!
Attention! Calling all Black Women! Calling all Black Women that travel. Have you ever found yourself in this encounter: you do not speak the local language and somehow a tourist might ask you about what your “country has to offer. ” Well, after you politely let this person know you are not from this country, they look at you quite perplexed. At the same time you realize this tourist was not attempting to find out the most popular destinations, but how they can get in your pants because they seem to think you are a prostitute or a really “fun girl”, looking for an “American/European” white friend that might (if you are lucky, become your husband!)
On my last trip to Jamaica, my boyfriend and I were at Ricks’ Cafe in Negril, Jamaica. Did I think we stood out? Well, one can say a white man who is about 6’5 and about 300 pounds stands out in Jamaica, right? I am a Black woman who is 5’4 and (well, you know a woman never shares her weight. So this is where you imagine whatever number you want Do I think we stood out? Not totally, because we were at a very touristy place. I am sure depending on the setting we might have stood out, but honestly, every other place we went, people easily discerned that we were a “committed couple ” and that he did not just meet me the hour before.
As I surveyed the cliff divers and took in the entire place, I saw a few more interracial couples. But, not the type where you want to start-up the conversation. Unfortunately, it is the cliché old white man (about 50 or 60) and his “girlfriend” is no older than 25. Maybe, you see this all the time, but I know the deal, because some of his friends were making eyes with me to see what my deal was.
Now, one might say maybe it is a coincidence. Hmmm, but this happens in almost every country where I travel. Not, just where Black people are the majority. So, no, it can not just be a coincidence. Whether it be in East Africa where the Indian men would approach me, propositioning high ticket items, trips and “best of all” free food (yes, this happened). Or the men, in Italy that would ask, if I was looking for a visa, or the number of friends that have stories not about men just wanting to get with them but men that sincerly think they are prostitutes or providing sex services.
I realize this is the part where I am not the “crazy” one. How weird is it that I travel while Black? Obviously, my lack of the local language, facial features, clothes, mannerisms, might provide context, as to what part of the world I am from. That is the rationale that I hear so many of my other friends state. But for so many, a Black woman travelling can only mean one thing: looking for a way to get of her country or advance the “only way” she can.
I have seen sex workers in all countries where I have travelled and yes, I see them in the States as well. It is just interesting that the first thing that comes out of people’s mouth is only my ability to open my legs or insert genitalia into my mouth (or any of my other holes). Somehow, even in my travels, I am still sexualized and made to feel as though, my only assets are my breast and vagina. And when I listen to my white and Asian girlfriends trips around the world, of course men approach them, but in a totally different context. I wonder, how many times, my white friends that have done around the world trips, were asked are you a prostitute? I have a feeling it is a totally different answer. I am just a Black Woman who has access to a passport and loves to travel. Somehow, I do not remember that translating to prostitute or sex worker in any langauge. ~ Erzulie