Why More People of Color Should Blog About Travel

blogger people of color

I am not a black blogger. I am a blogger who happens to be black. And I follow several travel bloggers for their unique perspectives on travel. I never cared what color they were. Unfortunately, too few of them are black or ethnic voices. More Black People Should Blog because there aren’t enough voices that speak to me. As a black traveler, I face certain stereotypes when traveling, here, and abroad. Some stereotypes have a firm root in perception, in beliefs that are primarily perpetuated by mass media. However, those stereotypes generally have no basis. But with no rebuttals, these beliefs will maintain their stronghold until someone like me, a blogger, who is black, contradicts them.

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  1. Why I wrote this post
  2. Mass marketing ‘dis
  3. Remember the Green Book
  4. More black people are exporting our culture
  5. Telling Our Story by Creating Content
  6. Teaching Moments
  7. We Have Money to Spend
  8. Validation
  9. Form of Expression
  10. Pin Me
  11. Related Content
black-woman-in-braids-and-yellow-dress-looking-into-the-distance Why More People of Color Should Blog About Travel

Why More People of Color Should Blog

We all Have a Story to Tell

I love a good story. But it’s not about re-writing our story, it’s about allowing us to tell it in the first place. And show it, as we live it out. I read that somewhere, and it struck a chord with me. Unfortunately, too few of us are telling our stories—too few of us giving our travel impressions when it comes to traveling as a person of color. And although I can’t definitively call some of the treatment I’ve encountered prejudice. I have quite a few question marks that left a bad taste in my mouth.

The truth is, it’s bigger than just travel. The world, riddled with large platforms, dilute our experiences as not universal. Black voices are considered unrelatable because of the color of our skin. We need to relay the fact that embracing stories of color does not alienate white audiences. Everyone admits that we should strive for diversity until it makes some of us uncomfortable. I write with all my senses. I try to imagine the smells, tastes, textures, colors, and sounds. And I believe it makes my blogging better. The world of travel blogging will be a much better platform with a little more color– a bit more flavor too.

Check out the Blooms and Tradition: 83rd Tulip Festival in Orange City.

Mass Marketing, TV and Promotional Advertising

Last year, according to Nielson, less than 3% of overall advertising showcased African-Americans. Unfortunately, the travel industry is not marketing to African American travelers. When I see ads on TV, we are not represented. I don’t see many pictures of people of color relaxing on the deck of a Vietnamese junk boat, trekking through the Balinese terraced rice paddies or feeding our mind, body, and souls in the red sands of Sedona. But I went anyway because I could “see” me doing it. Black people should blog more because we have the same ability to inspire.

The Green Book

Travel is relatively new for blacks in America. During segregation, African-American travelers had a difficult time finding towns where they were legally allowed to stay at hotels, eat in restaurants, or just find gas stations willing to serve them. Victor Hugo Green wrote the first and much needed, a guide for road-tripping black travelers in 1936.

The Negro Travelers’ Green Book was an annual guidebook for African-American travelers. It was commonly referred to as the Green Book. Published by New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966, it helped black travelers safely cross the country during the Jim Crow laws era.

black-girl-and-camera-under-a-bridge-1024x683 Why More People of Color Should Blog About Travel

More Black People are Traveling Abroad

There are many reasons why people of color are traveling more. Fortunately, incomes have been steadily rising, and black people, young and old, are traveling abroad. Besides, the military, study abroad programs, and missionary outreach opportunities in churches and public service have encouraged a greater desire and ability to fly.

Representation

Black Content Creators Offer Unique Perspectives

There is a heightened sense of awareness when people of color travel. We may be perceived differently because many foreigners’ have only seen us on TV, where black characters can be stereotyped. They know the drug dealer, angry black women or rapper/ dancer/singer, slave or servant– and the way they interact with us reflects that.

As a black woman, I have a different take on travel. My husband and I are more conscious of our behavior when we travel. He tends to over-tip, and I tend to share a lot. We see ourselves as ambassadors.

 

Teaching Moments

Black People Should Blog to Inform

 

One example of this was on a trip to Croatia. A group of young boys greeted us with “hey ni@@as”. My girlfriend’s first reaction was to “stomp somebody”. But there was something about the way they said it, that told me they weren’t being malicious. It was somewhat melodious like they had heard it in a rap song or Yo MTV Raps.

Instead, I saw it as a teaching moment. Later, we learned we were the first black people they ever saw. And that was how they thought we talked to one another.

I am a black girl with a big butt and natural hair I usually wear in twists. People are going to stare at me, and I get it. I’ve had people touch my hair without asking. I’ve untwisted and re-twisted it to show for the amusement of wildly curious Korean women of all ages. People have compared their skin color to my skin color in Cambodia. And in China and Cambodia, I was chased down and photographed more times than I can count. I’ve had people hug me, kiss me, tell me how much they love black women in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Cambodia. And I’ve endured it all without protest or anger.

Now I’m not so naive to think a single interaction with me is enough to erase prejudice. But if posing for a few photos, letting strangers fondle my twist, or engaging in a brief conversation opens up an opportunity to re-direct predisposed thoughts, I’m willing to try.

 

Black Travel Dollars Matter

People of color have much more money to travel. And the desire to go is increasing year after year. According to Phil Good Travel, black people spent $63 Billion on travel in 2018. And according to Airbnb, “We have reached the age of Black travel. Black Americans are setting travel trends in where to go and what to do when you get there. And that folks, is we call collective bargaining power, and in the scope of everything else, surrounding people of color, it matters.

The evidence of black travel is evident all over Instagram and social media. Black travel groups are connecting like-minded people who want to explore the world around us. However, the travel industry, including destinations here and abroad primarily hasn’t noticed, because very few people who look like me land huge travel related promotions.

Validation

People of color should blog more because there are tons of stereotypes about black people. One is that black people do not travel. And when we do, we go to places like the Caribbean or Las Vegas. While this is true for a few of my friends, it’s not right for all of us. We do travel; mass media has chosen to ignore it. And like photos, we don’t take it. If we don’t post them, it didn’t happen. African Americans are traveling more than ever.

Black travelers don’t have to stay in America. We are also not just representing other African Americans; we are Americans. Because, again, TV and the news don’t define us as people. We can show our true selves to other cultures. It’s a chance to show we are not angry, violent, lazy, or unintelligent.

A Form of Expression

I am a military brat. I mostly attended the Department of Defense (DOD) schools around the world. They mainly were predominantly white schools. More than likely, I was the only black face in the classroom. And it never bothered. Just the opposite, I got used to it– welcomed the opportunity to stand out. I’ve always hated the idea of being like everyone else. And even though it’s trying to be the sole representative for black people, it gave me a rare opportunity to do just that. My voice got louder as I got older.

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Comments

  1. Darceline

    I completely agree with that. I a blogger who’s also black and one of my reasons for blogging was to share my voice and show more representation as a black woman. I wanted a space where black peoples especially black woman would be portrayed in a positive light. I haven’t travel yet. I’m waiting til I’m done with college and have my finance more in order but I hope to travel soon and have a good time enjoying it. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Hi Darceline, thanks for the comment. Travel can be expensive but I hope you get the chance to travel soon. I’ll have to check out your blog too.

  2. LavandaMichelle

    What an interesting post! I totally agree with this. I wish I saw more people of color like myself, but unfortunately–that isn’t the case. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Blair Villanueva

    I agree, they should be encourage to blog and tell their own story, especially the stories that only locals knows. It is sometimes different reading stories that only relayed by a non-local.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      You are so right. And people shouldn’t have a problem with a different viewpoint. Agree to disagree is a polite and perfectly understandable position.

  4. Erica

    I admire your train of thought 🙂 You’ve raised both interesting and inspiring points. Truly, travelling does wonders for breaking stereotypes and building genuine connections. I think bloggers (and travellers) have come a long way! And we shouldn’t stop 🙂

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thank you. It’s important to be a part of the solution and not the problem itself. Only open dialogue accomplishes that.

  5. Meika

    Very thought provoking post. That is unfortunate that you had those experiences while traveling and on vacation. It’s great that you are sharing these experiences. Great post.

  6. Lauren

    I really really love your perspective on this. And how you respond to people..having an understanding that they don’t know any different. Unless someone educated them, they’ll never know. It’s sad that we do live in a world with so much prejudice and stereotyping…we all really need to get the fact that we are equals and all deserve the same respect.

  7. Daphne' Adams

    Yes to all of this! Representation is super important to me as a mother. I believe that as a woman of color it important to show our younger generations that they can do different things. Writing is a way to share advice to others and a release for myself.

  8. Nina

    I 100% agree. Representation is important. The more black bloggers we have, the more people will understand what it means to be black … which means that it looks different for every person. I also think it gives white people like myself a look into what it’s like to travel to some places and the challenges that people of color may face that I never thought of.

  9. Joanna

    Unfortunately you are so right, there are still so many stereotypes about people of color and not many of them travel. I don’t think I met many, especially in South East Asia or in Eastern Europe.

  10. Sarah Fatima

    Very well written. I can feel you. It’s really sad that people consider this color game and it matters to them. I just love “A form of Expression” part. I love to read the blogs no matter who wrote it.

  11. Nabanita Dhar

    I think you make a valid point. I think everyone should be represented in all spheres and to make the conversation relevant and bring unique stories. You know, to know the truth from the one’s living it 🙂

  12. Katie

    Blogging can be such a great platform for sharing truth and supporting a cause. The world has all kinds of views though, all you can do is be understanding and vigilant.

  13. Jennifer L

    I seriously couldn’t agree more! It think we are in desperate need of different perspectives. I have wonderful friends who are WOC and I really wish their voices could be heard more. Would share a lot more awareness.

  14. Jennifer L

    I seriously couldn’t agree more! It think we are in desperate need of different perspectives. I have wonderful friends who are WOC and I really wish their voices could be heard more..

  15. Jennifer L

    I seriously couldn’t agree more! It think we are in desperate need of different perspectives. I have wonderful friends who are WOC and I really wish their voices could be heard more.

  16. Chin chin

    Our world still has a long way to go when it comes to treating people for who they are and not for the color of their skin. We all have to learn to be accepting of other people.

  17. Chloé Arnold

    Girl I so agree! I love that you point out ‘too few of us are sharing our story.’ I believe that is true across the board. But I would love to see more variety in social media and blogs!

  18. Violeta León

    Im not 100% agree with the post. When I read, I dont look if the author is black, white, gay, straigh, etc. I just read and focus on the post itself! We still need to learn to apreciatte that we have more things in common than the ones that separate us. I dont need someone on tv to represent me, I dont need to mark the differences, I love to see each others as one, with same feelings, problems and goals. Together.

  19. Passportofawanderwoman

    You are right. That is one of the reasons I started blogging. I am from India and noticed that a certain group of people have certain ideas expectations from travel, and ai am trying to cater to that.

  20. Lisa

    This is such an insightful post, and very true too. I don’t see many popular travel bloggers of colour, but we do exist! It’s good you’re open minded when traveling; I always get called exotic in Italy, and that’s okay with me, as I know they mean it in a beautiful way lol

  21. Sundeep

    Diversity is good in every sphere of activities be it food, travel or education. Hence it’s a great idea that more people of color should blog.

  22. Preet

    I totally agree with all of these. We need to accept others culture. I appreciate how you posted this and represents others thru your blog.

  23. Julia Day

    So true, it’s so important to have diversity in the blogging world! People always look to bloggers to relate to them, the more diversity we bring to blogging the better we become as a community.

  24. Gavin

    It’s a great article but honestly (and this has nothing to do with you) I’m so tired of the colour/race divide. It shouldn’t matter what colour or country u come from for your blog to be a success

    1. duffelbagspouse

      With no disrespect thats exactky what this post says. I don’t follow white or black bloggers, I follow bloggers who interest me. But unfortunately marketing campaigns have put us in a niche if a niche. I wish and hope one day it will be just that simple.

  25. Kathryn at QuestFor47

    Yes! I think this is so important! POCs have such different experiences and views and stories and they have to be told, but they can’t be told by the people who are traditionally held as, you know, those top bloggers. Definitely keep sharing your story and influence others to share their stories too!

  26. andrea

    so agree. so important to really represent as many people as we can in our beautiful blogging community. we are such a small yet large community and it would be amazing to see more people being represented.

  27. Talya

    I totally agree with this. It is so important to have diversity in all areas and make sure that people see that. Something that people don’t really think about.

    1. stacey

      I don’t understand why this is not common knowledge. No society improves without an influx of new ideas, knowledge and invention.

  28. Wendy

    Here in the philippines, anyone who’s foreign whatever color will most likely get stares mentioned. It’s not just about being black, but it’s looking different than most people. That’s how people are usually -aren’t they? If they see someone who’s different than most people in their community, they tend to stare in fascination.

    I never have given thought about black people not blogging more before reading your post. Because honestly, I see a lot of black women blog. I didn’t realize any of those things you mentioned until after reading your post, which I enjoyed, btw.

  29. Rebecca Bailey

    My husband is black, I’m white, and we are full-time RVers who travel the US visiting different places, meeting new people, and writing about our experiences. We love it! We camp at state, national and rv parks, and military bases (husband is retired Navy), and have found most people to be very nice, polite and welcoming. We’ve always heard that about the RVing community, and so far, it’s proven true. That doesn’t, however, mean we don’t still occasionally get “the look.” I’m sure most bi-racial couples know exactly what I’m talking about. We’ve noticed a huge disparity in the numbers of black and white campers at virtually every place we’ve stayed, and we find it a little disheartening. That’s not to say we don’t enjoy ourselves, but it would be nice to see more diversity within the lifestyle we’ve embarked upon. We’ve always wondered if it’s the lifestyle that black people are not drawn to, or if black people feel the lifestyle isn’t welcoming to them. We hope it’s neither! Travel, whether it’s to a new city in your own state, or out of the country, is something everyone should experience without the worry of being judged by something as superficial as skin-tone. People always say “this is 2018…racism doesn’t exist anymore!” Yes, it does. Maybe not as much as in the past, but it still does. I know, I’ve experienced it, as has my husband. And this can be a factor in a persons willingness to travel to new places, and certainly whether or not they share their experiences. It’s crucial for people like you to continue writing on this topic… you will encourage and inspire others to get their stories out there, whether in the written or physical sense. Change doesn’t happen until issues are brought to light… and this article is certainly a good start! Thank you!

  30. What Corinne Did

    I agree with everything you said in this post but mainly with representation. People of colors are not often representing and young people don’t really have role models to look out for. So people of color blogging can give representation, show that it is possible, etc

    1. stacey

      Yes, representation is important. Especially if we claim to be a fair world. Then marketing campaigns should reflect the society that watches them, but unfortunately it doesn’t. That’s too bad because I don’t make a point not to follow bloggers who are white. So why do some marketing campaigns think ethnic bloggers wouldn’t appeal to white folks too.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thank you Monidipa. I appreciate that. I hope to see more voices represented online and in mass media marketing campaigns in the future.

  31. Stephanie

    I completely agree with you that more people of colour should blog. It’s not ok to only get a small portion of a person’s perception. The way I travel and the challenges I face are vastly different from the way a person of colour travels and the challenges they face. Not only could it help encourage other POC to travel but would help educate (even though it is not the responsibility of POC to educate) those who do not regularly interact with POC.

    1. Stacey

      True. But I do think its our responsibility to educate people when we encounter ignorance. Now its up to that person how they respond to it. At first I thought only for people we care about or see frequently. But I changed my mind as I typed to include casual meetings, because it might be the only occasion when it can be done– if they don’t interact with people of color. At least the next time, they will have to the information and decide whether they will ignore it– which then changes from ignorance to something uglier. did I ramble? I hope you can follow my logic. lol

  32. TessaG

    I’ll try not to go off the rails here. We were a military family too. We lived on base for a little while, and there was plenty of discrimination against Officers and their families, so nobody would come to our son’s birthday parties unless they were of the same rank. I used to work in an international engineering firm, and I have long, blonde hair. When folks from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore came for meetings, they would flip out over my appearance. Some were excited – some from other cultures were shocked, and I was forced to cover my hair with a scarf. Now, living in a major city in Canada, we experienced true discrimination for the first time. We had to move, and we could not for the life of us find a house we could rent. 95% of the 47 houses I applied to rent, I was turned down – only to find out later that the Asian or African landlord had rented it to – you got it – an Asian or an African. In fact, one lady from Nairobi agreed to rent me their house, and was drafting up the terms, and it was an hour before I was to meet her to sign the lease, when she called and blatantly told me that a family from Nairobi had applied, and that she ‘needed’ to rent it to them. I can’t imagine what you go through. It was a real wake-up call to me. And you’re right – I never noticed, but you never see an African-American sunbathing or exploring Italy in the travel brochures!

    1. Stacey

      I totally get this. Until we and I mean all people can get past ethnic race, this will continue to be a plague on our existence as members of the human race. I saw what you describe in China and South Korea. The locals were just as fascinated by blond hair and blue eyes as they were with my twist and brown skin. My dearest friends repeatedly admonished me to wear hats to keep from getting darker. And siblings were separately praised if one was fairer in complexion. We have to learn to accept whatever we were born with and be open to accept others and instead judge people for their inner beauty.

      1. TessaG

        I couldn’t agree more! I know it’s fascinating to see people that we’re not used to, but people have to ask themselves, ‘is it really appropriate for me to touch her hair? Photograph her?’ Funny how that is.

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