"Black as brown, hazelnut, cinnamon, black tea... And it's all beautiful to me" -Rapsody
For the sake of keeping things 100%, I'll just tell y'all my side of the story right now.
When I first began thinking about studying abroad in Spain (sometime last year), I was secretly hoping that I'd be leaving the country with my Spanish baby boo.
If, you're laughing, you're probably a h8r (hater).
In my defense, this wasn't too far-fetched of an idea.
Many of the women who worked for my university's study abroad program in Madrid, studied abroad during their junior year of college, went out to the club, met some Spanish chico, and fell in love. They all explained to me that few months after graduating, they packed up their life in a few suitcases and moved to Spain to be with their boo's.
In addition to this, considering America's current political climate, can you even blame ya girl for being hopeful??? (The correct answer is "no").
Either way, I was in a for a rude awakening.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that ALL Spanish men don't like Black women. That's simply not true.
But best believe I will sit here and tell you that MOST Spanish men don't like Black women (facts).
Let's try and understand why the chicos don't love the cocoa:
Theory 1: There just aren't any Black women around to love! (Yes... but also no).
Spain is white country. Dark hair, thick-browed Spaniards make up the majority of the population. For that reason, it is definitely easier to boo up a Spanish woman than it is a cocoa-skinned cutie.
Still, I'm not really buying this one. Don't worry, I have some other theories.
Theory 2: A deep history rooted in racism, colonization, oppression and prejudice. (Just saying).
We can't ignore Spain's deep history rooted in the oppression and systematic control of other countries (primarily for economical gains). Granted, I'm not saying that this is the case now (it kind of is though), but it sure is something to account for when thinking about relations between Spanish men and Black women.
Theory 3: Spanish people are afraid of immigrants. (In conjunction with theory 2).
Immigration to Spain is a new phenomena. I recently learned that within the past 70-80 years(during the Franco regime), Spain was predominantly a country of emigration. However, within the past 20 years or so, Spain has converted to a country of immigration. While the number of immigrants coming to Spain are mostly from other countries within the European Union, somewhere along the way, the image of the greedy, public benefit stealing, African immigrant came to be. This image has assisted with highlighting prejudices of Spanish society. As a result Spanish men don't want to get involved.(Maybe, yes?)
Theory 4: Fear of the unknown.
I think this is more of a supplementary theory that plays into the other 3 theories above. And I can understand it. Dating someone of a different race, of a different culture, someone who speaks a different language, someone with a different understanding of the world - this is all scary stuff. It can be intimidating. Maybe the Spanish chicos are just scared.
One thing that college has taught me is that the application of theories is crucial for any good piece of writing.
So let's see how these apply.
Experience 1: Soul searching/ Shameless staring)
At this point, I'm not even sure if I should call this an experience, or an everyday occurrence. Either way, this directly aligns with theories 1 and 4 (probably theory 3 too). In Spanish culture, shameless staring (like on the Metro or while walking in the street) is a societal norm. Still, the majority of time, Spanish men (at bars, parks, clubs, on the Metro) would prefer to stare at me in confusion than talk to me. *this is even more prominent when I wear my natural hair out.
For this reason, I'm going to interpret this as shock from seeing a black women/fear of the unknown (theories 1 and 4).
Experience 2: Crusty Dusty selling flowers
I'm still a little salty about this one, so for this reason we will call this man Crusty Dusty.
This is how it all went down... So I was at this hookah bar with my girls when Crusty Dusty comes in selling flowers (this is a common thing in Spain). We were all pretty focused on the bartender since he was taking our order and bringing out our order of hookah.
*Sidetone: My face was beat to the GAWDS. Highlight was poppin', edges were laid, brows had me looking' like a snizzack (snack). Translation: I was looking to cute for Crusty Dusty anyway.
Back to the story...
Still, we couldn't ignore Crusty Dusty holding a bouquet of roses, especially since he decided to stand right next to the bartender as he took our order. I asked Crusty Dusty if he was going to give me a flower for free. This was a mistake.
To partially quote Young MA, I'm not gonna lie, I was a lil' smizzed.(Click it. You know you want to.)
Me: I'll take flower if it's free. Will you give me one? *smizzed voice*
Crusty Dusty: ... (his face looked like "nah, chill fam.")
Bartender: Aw, c'mon. Why not? She's a beautiful girl. Give her one.
Crusty Dusty: Yes, but...
Bartender: So what, you don't like her?
Crusty Dusty: She's too black.
And there is was...
At this point, I was ready to fight.
Instead, I sipped my drink and told Crusty Dusty to get out of my damn face with that mess. The bartender was pretty shocked and told the man to leave the bar (A+ citizen).
I definitely consider this to be a prime example of theories 2 and 3. Crusty Dusty (who ironically, was a bit darker than most Spaniards) showed me his prejudice. He laid it out for me, for all of my friends, and for the entire bar to see. At the time, I was a little embarrassed. This was certainly not the first time someone told me I was "pretty for a dark-skinned girl" or "pretty... but too dark" and I certainly knew that it won't be the last. However, it was so direct. It was loud and forward. There was no privacy to it. He didn't pull me aside and whisper his prejudices to me in the honest, and slightly ashamed tone that I was so accustomed to.
If you're looking for love in Spain, baby girl, have no fear, it is possible. Just be careful. There's a lot to unpack and the more prepared you are to deal with the foolery, the better.
*Disclaimer: God's good grace brought this blog to life.