How to deal with racism when traveling in a group

by | Aug 27, 2021 | Uncategorized

Truth be told, I was really looking forward to writing this piece because “RACISM” is out there – so open! But probably, shoved aside and turned a blind eye. As I write this, I am not saying I am perfect myself but what’s important is “I TRY” – one day at a time to be there not just for myself but point it out when it has to be. Being an Indian, living in a foreign land and being away from “home” almost all of my adult life, I am ashamed to say this but unfortunately I have experienced or witnessed racism or racist comments. So, what do I do when I encounter such an act, especially when I am traveling? Here I am, vouching for the fact that I am not going to be frozen, angry, uncomfortable or sad. To feel this way is completely fine, because they are the most common emotions but I want to get out of that situation knowing my emotions were right! Knowing I did the right thing!

As the Black lives matter movement has raised a lot of awareness in every nook and corner of the world, we see a lot more acknowledgement from several industries – Of course, there is a lot of work to do! 

Let’s get straight to it………



1. Acknowledgement 

To quote Dita Von Teese: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Honestly, I remind myself every single day that no matter who you are, what you do or where you live – you will experience racial biases and that’s ok! So the most important factor would be to acknowledge or accept it. When you acknowledge this, you are more open to change. Change – that happens within yourself and that of your surroundings.  


2. Put yourself in someone else’s shoe

Before you speak or react, consider that you might be unintentionally saying something that could be uncomfortable for someone else. This could be in reference to any questions asked, phrases used or thoughts mentioned out loud. When you are travelling, this could be towards a local or even your fellow travel buddies. So, what can we do differently? Just think before you speak and most importantly take a mental note and learn from your mistakes. Learning how to respond will be a small thing for oneself but will make a huge difference to others around. 


3. Consider how lucky you are 

When I travel to a destination, I move forward with a fresh mind. I always consider how lucky I am to be able to travel and experience new cultures and traditions. Having said that, I am always mindful of how I react to local traditions. Especially when I travel to a non-English speaking country, I do not expect the locals to be mindful of my language. Rather, I try to use a few hand gestures and learn a few lines that could help me go about with my day to day activities. Also, with regard to the local festivities or events that I participate in or witness. I take a step back to think if it’s something I am doing for the mere spectacle of it or if I truly appreciate the value and meaning behind the festivities.


4. Research 

The whole idea is to research and be aware of the culture and tradition of the destination you are traveling to. Not just of that in particular but educate yourself about the history, race and ethnicity of the locals. This will enable you to interact with locals a little differently. 


5.  Point out if you see something 

This could be with regard to words or actions but if you witness racism or injustice, speak up! This is the greatest and the most commendable act that could also help your fellow travel buddies. 



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