Alert! Very Dark woman traveling alone.

Melbourne, FL.

Recently I have had to face the fact that my very dark skin is indeed the first thing most people notice about me. The fact that I’m short/tall, healthy/not healthy, sad/happy, age and what not seem to follow way after my dark skin has introduced me to the world. I love to travel but my husband doesn’t, so I have had to do so alone sometimes. This particular incident happened on my last trip to Spain, Portugal, & Morocco.. in no particular order. A woman who knew absolutely nothing about me came up to me and asked what I did for a living, and I candidly stated that I’m a nurse by trade. She proceeded to make more small talk about everything and anything, all the while visibly sizing me up and down. She talked about my shoes which she thought I got on sale, and about my clothes looking like the ‘upscale type’ that I couldn’t afford while in Spain. About my purse which she wanted to touch just to see if it was actually an ‘original’ designer purse…Then came the ‘what does your husband do for a living?’ part. I politely answered her question, then she said, “Wow! He must be American. You are a lucky woman.” Puzzled, I decided to ignore her, but she was determined to figure out which box she could fit me in. Minutes later, she came as close as she could and boldly said, “I bet you have to do a lot of overtime shifts , huh?’ Frankly at this point, I was running low on smiley faces so I just looked her straight in the eye and told her that I actually don’t need to do any overtime shifts at the hospital. This left me wondering what really was going on inside this woman’s head. This and many other closely related incidences have left me wondering what is it about me that makes it so unfathomable that I could actually be married to a very intelligent engineer (who most people assume is Caucasian), be able to afford to go on trips regularly that I actually pay for by myself and not stay in hostels, not be dependent on the government for social services, be able to give back to the community, have a certain taste in clothing, and speak English so well? Most people’s conclusion is always that I must come from money/some interesting Kingdom in Africa, which is very far from the truth. I wonder if this would still happen if my outside were a different color/shade.


Tweets by Michele Norris