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Microaggressions & Small Acts Of Resistance While Travelling As A Black Woman In Europe

Growing up in the English countryside, my friends were descendants of French, Spanish, Polish and Italian families.

I have a lack of reserve when meeting anyone new, and it is easy to say hello in a number of languages as a smile is a universal currency that we all share. However, I’ve found that when I travel my greeting is rarely reciprocated in the manner in which it is offered. Is this because of the fear of being rebuffed (on their part) or is it simply just racism?

Honestly, l would not be offended if l had not noticed that my white male partner is always greeted. If l walk with him we usually receive a pleasant response, but if he is ahead of me l am not seen, and if he is behind me, my hello is usually ignored. If he is not with me, then the exchange is something completely different. Once, in an Italian petrol station, I was not so much as kissed on both cheeks by a stranger, as my backside eagerly groped!