Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Only Chocolate Chip in the (Spanish) Cookie

"There aren't a lot of Black people in Spain are there?"

This is the realization my eight-year-old son made after two weeks here in Spain. My answer? "You're right. There aren't a lot of Black people." And then I was at a loss for words. I felt the need to explain something. To explain why there weren't a lot of Black people. To ask if they felt strange being the only Black people around. But I didn't say anything. I'm not sure why.

What should I have said? Any suggestions?

By the way, both of my boys have already now started going, "Look! There's a Black person," every time they see somebody with a bit of color around here.

So Meltingpot readers. What would you say?



Ola said...

Ask your sons if it makes them uncomfortable that there aren't other blacks around. IF it does then you can have a conversation about that. It may not be an issue you need to discuss further at this point. It could just be that hey are just being kids and being observant.

Anonymous said...

What Ola said. That's good advice.
I'm curious, Africans aren't settling in Spain?

ieishah said...

um, i still do that. if i see a black person in barcelona (especially one that i don't know) i'm like, 'look! a black person!' sometimes i even say it so they can hear me. that either makes your sons incredibly mature, or... i don't even want to think about the alternative.

campbele, yes and no. depends on what you mean by settling. sometimes the only other black women i see in my day are prostitutes on the ramblas. they are still especially in closed-off catalunya, by and large, on the outskirts of mainstream society. when i see a black person, like, working in a bank or driving a taxi... well, i've never seen that.

and lori, i'm. so. jealous. your days sound so fantastic, so typically spain! i'm enjoying seeing my family but i miss it!!!

carambola said...

I guess I would ask them "what do you think about that?" or something neutral. If you ask them if they are feeling uncomfortable you might be defining the experience for them....We all did it growing up, too, but it was more of a Yippee, someone like us feeling than anything else.

LT said...

Thanks for the suggestions. Well taken.

What Ieishah said.


Thanks for the explanation. I'm glad you can validate how I feel. BTW, can you send me an email offline. I have a doc. filmmaker coming to Barcelona who I want to hook you up with.

Good point. I don't want to make them even think there is a negative aspect to being some of the only. Where did you grow up?

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Liza said...

I live in Germany and I still do that whenever I see another black person that isn't a Soldier or otherwise American. I life in a small country town (not a big city like Frankfurt or Berlin) and black sightings are rare. The Germans still look at us like we're aliens!