Racism in Spain: A Case Study.

Aragonés using some “colorful” language on the practice field.

“No soy racista,” says Luis Aragonés, head coach of the Spanish National Soccer team.

“I have black, gypsy, yellow friends…” he goes on. We’ve heard it all before, right?

In light of France’s trip to the World Cup Final, in which they trod heavily upon a young Spanish squad, I found myself rooting for the French side against my home-for-a-year because of a well-publicized racist epithet Aragonés used in October 2004 to motivate his squad against French striker Thierry Henry, who is black.

“Show that black piece of shit,” Aragonés is captured on international television saying, “you are better than him!” Even Henry didn’t believe it until he saw it for himself.

And while it’s easy to dismiss Aragonés as a bigot, and the Spanish Football Association as accomplices for the paltry fine of 3000€ and allowing him to keep his job, there’s more than meets the eye here. In a stroke of irony, Samuel Eto’o, a high profile Cameroonian striker who plays for FC Barcelona, has come to Aragonés’s defense, saying the old codger is not a racist, he just said something he shouldn’t have. So really. Is he, or isn’t he?

Not long ago, Eto’o himself was the subject of many front pages when during a match in the Spanish town of Zaragoza, he was unable to bear the relentless monkey noises and banana peels thrown onto the pitch and decided to pick up the ball and walk off in the middle of the match. While he was ultimately persuaded to return by his coach, teammates, and referees, his subsequent angry and frustrated press conferences have opened an unfamiliar can of worms for Spanish society: the question of racism in Spain. An article in Time magazine about the incident focused not on the existence of racism in Spain (for surely such a thing exists in every country), but rather the lack of Spanish society’s ability and inclination to address it, stating that many Spaniards “don’t know how to identify racism when they see it.”

Immigration is a recent phenomenon in Spain, but one that is catching on. Although immigrants count for only 8.5% of the total population, Spain now swells with the highest growth rate of immigrants in the European Union, with 700,000 alone entering in 2005, mostly from Africa (via Morocco), and South America. The side effects of this are wide and varying. And while Spaniards generally object to the idea of becoming a nation of immigrants, they choose to embrace those who have already made the journey. According to the Time article , after the terrorist bombing by Islamic radicals of commuter trains in Madrid that killed 191, a study showed that 60% of Spaniards believed there were “too many immigrants” in Spain. But surprisingly, more than 70% believed that those same immigrants be offered the same rights as all Spaniards!

So what about first hand discrimination, or even violence against minorities? Last year, when I decided to move to Madrid to teach English, I was first intrigued to hear that there are very few Asians living in this bustling European capital (approximately 100,000 out of a total population of 5 million). I was next discomfited by the reading of a post by an Asian-American teacher in Madrid detailing his violent assault and mugging by two men in broad daylight in Sol, the busiest and most heavily-touristed area of the city. Finally, I was downright alarmed to read in the US State Department’s Consular Information sheet on Spain “although crimes occur at all times of day and night and to people of all ages, older tourists and Asian Americans seem to be particularly at risk.”

Apart from safety, my primary worry was that people were expecting a 6 ft tall blonde haired, blue eyed American to show up at their door to teach them English. Instead, they were getting me. But for the record, I’m proud to report that not one person ever betrayed a hint of mistrust or skepticism, and treated me nothing less than perfectly well, and in many cases, exceptionally. Yes, while apartment-hunting, many people opened their doors to me and asked, “Where is the American?” And yes, while I was once profiled (racially, I thought) by two Metro employees who demanded to see my pass without asking anyone else on the train, I have many Spanish friends whom I consider amongst the most tolerant and welcoming people I know (and Madrid is far safer than New York!). Yet to say that racism is confined to the ‘Ultras’, those crazed football fan hooligans (and coaches), is simply untrue.

The fact is that in my experience, the Spanish display a rather young and naïve view of racial identity and awareness. Using Time magazine’s broad-sounding generalization that “Spaniards don’t know how to identify racism when they see it” as a litmus test, I went around asking my English classes if Samuel Eto’o was wrong to storm off the field in Zaragoza, if making monkey noises is an acceptable practice at a soccer stadium and he should just deal with it. At BG&S, a computer consulting company in northern Madrid, my two younger students, Luis and Inés, both 25, disagreed, perhaps being more engendered to 21st century political correctness. Emilio, however, a gregarious project manager in his late 40’s immediately answered ‘yes’. “Calling someone ‘black’ or making monkey noises at a fútbol match is the same as calling somebody short or stupid, anything to try to break their concentration,” he said, eerily echoing the identical sentiment from a Spanish man interviewed in the Time magazine article, nearly verbatim. “It doesn’t mean I really believe it if I call the referee an asshole, I’m just saying it because I’m angry.”

Since I consider Emilio a friend, and not a racist, this begs the question whether or not simple ignorance can be considered equivalent to racism. One morning, while watching a popular television game-show in which the contestants must watch or listen to clips of other shows and sitcoms and identify them by name or sing theme songs, etc. A clip of “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge” was described by the host as “a popular Chinese game show”. As I turned to explain to my flatmate Laura that this show was clearly, indeed, famously Japanese, in that crazy way that only Japanese game shows can be, she simply took a drag of her cigarette, patted me on the knee and said, “Yeah, well, people here think they’re the same thing.” (The contestant answered the question correctly).

Raquel, a 32 year-old marketing manager at The Phone House revealed an interesting thought process when speaking about the differences between Colombian, Moroccan, and Chinese immigrants by classifying the latter as the ‘best’ immigrant group, and ‘generally speaking, the most violent and delinquent’ being the Colombians and Moroccans (Arabs, she calls them; unlike Americans, when most Spaniards say “Arab”, they mean North Africans, not Middle Easterners). Yet I see the gleam in her eye when describing the two African students in her primary school class, who were prized as “exotic” for their rich obsidian skin.

And this to me seems the greatest difference between ‘racial awareness’ in Spain and the US: this American has been conditioned to regard even the simple term “exotic” in a negative light, as it seems to connote the imperialism, colonization, and objectification associated with famously “exotic” races like East or South Asians, or more commonly, women who have fallen under heavy, lighter-skinned hands, from Pocahontas to Madame Butterfly. But to Raquel, the word “exotic”, like “black” or “negro” to Emilio, is simply just that: a word, and nothing more. However, while I only knew no more than 2 or 3 African-American teachers, I have heard persistent rumors of black people being discriminated against in restaurants, cafés, and the workplace. Even Martha, a Colombian coworker of Raquel’s, confided in me on the bus ride home that while her current colleagues are “very good people”, she’s suffered her share of discrimination in Spain.

Which then brings us back to my original question: Is Aragonés, a racist? Can you make a racist remark and not be considered a racist if you don’t really believe it (although he said it with a lot of enthusiasm, for sure)?

Is the Spanish game show a racist show because of its ignorance (not knowing the difference between a Chinese and Japanese TV program)?

Is Frédéric Rouzaud, the managing-director of Cristal, whose champagne is being very publicly boycotted by rapper Jay-Z a racist? In an article in a special summer issue of The Economist, “when asked if an association between Cristal and the bling lifestyle could actually hurt the brand, he replies: “That’s a good question, but what can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it.”

“Anything other than thank you is racist,” replied Mr. Beyonce Knowles.
negrita.jpg What do you think he would say about this?

Most people would probably agree that a lot depends on one’s intention. It’s much easier to call Aragonés a racist than the game show, as their intents were very different. Rouzaud is a more special case.

Merriam-Webster defines racism as, “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” Clearly, Aragonés’s comment falls under this definition, and the ignorance of the game show does not.

One could offer the argument that the willful ignorance to not care about the difference between Japanese and Chinese is inherently racist, as it implies that the only cultures not worth learning about are inferior cultures. But you have to make a leap of logic (albeit small) to get there, and that leap is what separates Americans from the rest of the world on the political correctness spectrum.

Living in the most hyper-politically correct culture in the world, it is a leap that Jay-Z and many of us (myself included) make without a second thought. If the Spanish problem is not identifying racism, ours is the opposite. Like a huge Rorschach test, we could find it in everything. Rouzaud’s comment, while ridiculously bad for business, does not implicitly specify that race is the reason behind his remarks. Perhaps in a bizarro-world scenario, if all white-trash NASCAR fans were Cristal’s largest purchasing demographic, he would say the same thing. Perhaps he’s just a snooty, disdainful dude; after all, he’s French.

What? I’m not a racist! I have French, Black, Jewish friends…


~ by Jeff on July 5, 2006.

145 Responses to “Racism in Spain: A Case Study.”

  1. hm..tough one. I actually feel that all your examples are racists to certain degrees as you so eloquently argued. The last one is tougher because it’s more about lifestyle no? Then again, I’m probably not a good one to comment on this because I think everyone is a racist and they’re lying if they say they’re not. ;P

  2. I don’t know, Cindy. Is ‘bling’ as a lifestyle tied to race? Regardless of whether or not Rouzoud is making that connection, Jay-Z certainly is (or thinks he is).

  3. Hi everyone. Fist of all, sorry for my bad english.
    i`m from Spain and in spain there is racism as in other countries. i think that racism is just thinked in one way, White against everyone No-White..and i don´t agree with this simple point of view.
    It’s not fair that if the French Coach says to any of there black players: “you are better than Totti, this white, sheet, tender skin, etc…” he would’nt have had to pay any fee…so first of all we could define Racism…and also, why a Black boy whose father is an IMportant Manager in a Big Company is not a bad person or less inteligent, but the boy who is working in the supermarket is
    …does racism being link to money??
    Kukuxklan…like basket…what do they thing about Michael Jordan..is he an “inferior”…

    that’s all …i hope you understand mi limited english…

  4. I agree with Merriam-Webster for the most part. But in my (rather uncomplicated?) mind, racism is simply if you ask anyone if he/she would want to be something other than what he/she is. Ask a black man if he’d rather be white. Yes? He thinks whites are superior, can lead a better life, etc. He’s a racist! No? Then he’s a proud black man because blacks rule all. Ask a white dude if he wants to be Asian. Or better yet, ask him if he wants to be Japanese or Chinese. Either way, there’s a racial preference. Which goes back to my original belief that every one of you out there is a racist 😀 Just admit it already. Me? I think Asians kick butt! 😉

  5. Ah, the eternal battle…racist or ignorant. I think it was a little bit of both. If he had called Henry a “piece of shit footballer,” would he be racist. What if he meant that because he is black he must be bad? Here in Montreal, the land where what language you speak means more than the color of your skin (sort of), I am having this debate more and more. Why must we call someone an “idiot English”? Can’t we just call him an idiot? There is blatant racism here like anywhere. I cringe every time I here the word “nig” come out of the mouths of people I consider generally intelligent. While most people have absorbed enough cultural sensitivity training to not use that particular word (at least in “mixed” company), using race as a major descriptive characteristic is very common here. I hear a lot about the “black guy I work with” or the “Chinese guy at the store I went to.” When I ask why they describe someone like that, the response is usually, “that is what he is.” Maybe it is my “A-mer-i-can” nervousness at anything race related but there is a little bit of “us versus them” when they describe people that way. Back to the “idiot English” or “stupid immigrant” or “black piece of shit”. For my money, it is the sentiment behind them that makes them racist. Someone who actually has “gypsy, black, or yellow” friends first would not call them that and second would know that always being describe that way sucks.

  6. Inés, your comment is interesting, as it brings up two important points:

    1) reverse racism against whites (which Spain hasn’t experienced yet, but we’ll see in 5, 10 years)
    2) the difference between socio-economic prejudice and racism, which is probably more easily distinguished in countries that are less racially diverse. In America, everyone assumes it’s racism first.

    I really wonder what will happen if/when Affirmitive Action (quotas for non-white applicants to universities and jobs) makes it over to Spain. I would love to hear more Spanish opinions on this. Me encantaría oir de mas españoles sobre esto!

    Also, yes, i think the KKK believe Michael Jordan is inferior. And Martin Luther King, Jr, and Sidney Portier, and Miles Davis, too.

    Gracias por tus sentimientos y ojalá que Barcelona sea bien! Un saludo para el mar….


  7. This is just a little story. Take from it what you will. Last weekend I was invited to a barbecue in Moreleja (an upper class suburb of Madrid). I was the only foreigner there. At one point the topic of the World Cup came up, and who they wanted to win. Their answers had nothing to do with the game and who had the better team, but who’s culture or which nation they liked best. “I want France to win, Italians are the scum of the earth”. They proceeded to go OFF on the Italians and French like you wouldn’t believe, slamming on everything from how they smell, cook, look, dress. Then they just decided, to hell with it, and went off on just about every Western European country that exists. When the English came up there was one of them who defended the culture, to my suprise, and it was because she had lived in England for a while and loved it, which made me believe that most of their comments came out of ignorance. Later they attacked the Moorocans relentlessly and when this happened one of the girls said, “now come on guys….Carrie is gonna start to think we’re racist!”. So they knew what they were doing…..didn’t they? Anyway, the attitude of the night was that of superiority over these other cultures and it didn’t have all that much to do with financial superiority because come on, the French and the Italians and the Germans are doin’ alright in terms of economy aren’t they? So should we only be offended when they slam on the Moors or should we be equally offended when they slam on the other whites, like those in Germany or France? Doesn’t seem racist….seems nationalist to me. Or anything that’s considered “different”?

    But I would also like to say that this was my first experience like this over here. Most of my friends would never think to say things like this and these people aren’t the kinds of people I’d become friends with. So of course….you find this kind of thing everywhere and in any country.

  8. When in Valencia, we were quite warmly greeted by the Spanish, i think they are more friendly then most countries i’ve been to.

    I was in Valencia for a few months and the only problems we encountered where from Moorocans who seems to think any western girl is up-for-it! and when they robbed one our groups mobile.

    and a drunk english guy in a irish pub who told one of our non-white english mates to go back to where he came from (confused, yes i was too!)

    I return to Valencia quite regulary and have noticed an increase in immigrants, particulary from Pakistan. They have been opening Pakistani kebab places all the city, even though I believe it is a turkish food (wrong i could be!).
    It’s a shame though the kebab places are sore spot and not typical of Valencia’s unique and typical spanish restaurants.

    They really should be banned, along with the McDonald’s and BK!!

  9. I agree about the Pakistani Kebab places. I ate one and spent 2 days in Hospital.. AVOID

  10. Visit this blog to unravel the depth of RACISM. Below is a quote from the blog. ” Even as they say, “I don’t see color. I just see everyone as a human being,” by which they mean, they don’t intend to acknowledge all the studies showing how exploited and dominated people of color still are in the United States because the White speaker has already decided that Black people’s problems are the result of Black people’s inferiority. “Some of my best friends are Black,” they will say, while discounting what African-Americans themselves say about the quality of their lives in the good old U.S. of A.”


  11. I am writing based on my experiences only. I am half spanish (my mom is from Spain) and half Japanese American. I was born in Spain and I’ve spent many summers in a small town three hours from Madrid. I studied abroad in Spain for one semester my junior year. Despite the fact that I am half Spanish, everywhere I go, I hear people yelling out Mira a los Chinos (when I’m with my brothers)! or Chinita!! or even Hay tantos Chinos aqui… Although it bothers me and it makes me angry, I just accept that it occurs (and it occurs almost everyday). I am well aware that not everyone in Spain does these things, but it occurs enough that I wouldn’t want to ever live here permanently. It’s not that I don’t like Spain! I love it, but I don’t enjoy being pointed at and called Chinese. Is it racism? I’m not sure. But it definitely seems like ignorance to me.

    • there is a problem in spain “ignorance injected by their own system, but the main problem is that, they refuse to recognize it at all cause.
      when they don´t understand something, they smash it.

  12. Thanks for your thoughts, Maria. I was in Lekeitio, a small fishing village in the Basque country with my (white) girlfriend and her (white) female roommate, and little kids would stop playing in the streets to stare at me. I gather they were wondering who this chino was and why I had 2 wives! But nobody likes being called ‘chino’, though they do it a lot. The irony is that the Spanish I knew hated being referred to by the English word “Spaniards”. They feel it’s objectifying and somehow condescending. Obviously there is a double standard at play here.

  13. Jeff, knowing how the Spaniards are and what they think about peoples of Asian origin. They think that Asians are ugly enough so that no-one would want to marry them but the Asians themselves. That is probably why the kids were staring at you and wondering why you have 2 ‘white’ wives, because they believe that whites (europeans) or at least Spaniards will not pick an Asian as their husband/wife because they’re too ugly for them. Sorry, it may sound so harsh but I’ve heard of these comments from the Spaniards I’ve encountered with and by the way, I am Asian myself. Sad to know this but this is true.

  14. So it seems like Spaniards do not like Asians? How are they with black people? I have encountered with a few Spaniards who did nto seem racist against anyrace. Those i was with were free to talk to anyone and did not mention anything about racism. I personally want to go study in Spain and i am black so please tell me hoe Spaniards are with balck people.

  15. Hi, I am a Spaniard, and I wat to confirm that Spaniards are, indeed, ignorant and racist.
    I’ve never been to America, but I’ve seen lots of movies and heard about huge ghettos where people have no freedom, no opportunities and no “american dream” bullshit.
    And, by the way, the holocaust America is doing in some well known locations of Earth (Guantanamo-KZ, Irak, Afghanistan, etc.) can be also understood as racism.
    Clean your own house before going to someone else’s saying it is dirty.

    kind regards,


  16. Thanks for your comments N. You are correct, there is a history of institutional racism in America that has resulted in these ghettos you’re referring to, and yes our house is indeed still dirty, to borrow your metaphor.

    However, the article was intended as a case study drawing from my own experiences, not as a gross generalization of Spaniards or the Spanish government. Naturally, every country has racist elements and Spain and America are no exceptions. But what I wanted to communicate was that I found the concept of racial awareness and racial identity in Spain to be relatively young in comparison to many other countries with a longer history of sustained immigration and assimilation such as the UK, France, Brazil, etc. (For example, the idea of an Asian-Spaniard, or a Black-Spaniard is quite new, as the idea of an Asian-American is considered quite unique in Spain.) Clearly these countries are still suffering from their own racial conflicts as we are in the US, but this article was intended simply as an eye-opening observation and not an accusation. If I were to make a generalization, it would be that Spaniards are much less exposed but much more welcoming to foreigners than in most places I’ve visited, and I count my Spanish friends among the closest I have.


  17. You are right, “en todos sitios cuecen habas”. Your article is really good and actually describes fairly accurately the spanish attitude towards any kind of unknown (to them) culture… and its full of courious details that many people don’t see.
    Have luck in your adventures, and till the next one,


  18. […] article about racism in Spain.  You can read the article from the author’s blog or you can download the word document (Is […]

  19. […] article about racism in Spain. You can read the article from the author’s blog or you can download the word document (Is Spain […]

  20. Spaniards are like that, I am South American funny enough I’ve lived in Belgium, Germany even the US where there is racism against latin americans and trust me, never I found problems with any one in these countries…. in Spain however I was called Sudaca, Monkey, I was told to go back to my tree in the jungle.

    If you think they don’t like Asians or Blacks or even some other Europeans try being Latin American, THEY DETEST US, CONSIDER US LIKE WORST THAN FILTH.

    sad but true.

  21. Isn’t it because Spain is not ready to accept the idea of ‘non-Western European and non-white American’ people living in their country? It doesn’t seem that it is ready and it will not ever be ready. Integration in Spain? Give me a break. ‘En todos los sitios se cuecen habas’ is just a bad excuse for their bad attitude.

  22. Your blog has scared me off Spain now!
    I am Filipino Spanish, but I look white/Caucasian.
    I’d love to visit Madrid, Barcelona, Mallorca, and the Basque country.
    But now after reading so much about the racism in Spain, it’s all over the Internet, I’m not so sure about going there now.

    Thank you for your excellent blog on this topic, a real eye opener. I hope you write more about your experiences in Spain as an Asian-American, I am very interested in this topic, and I know a lot of others too who would love to know more about this.

  23. Hi Teresa,

    Thanks for reading. I actually just returned from 3 months studying tango music in Buenos Aires. Such an amazing city, the people are so warm and friendly. I definitely recommend it to anybody. But about Spain….

    I certainly did not mean to discourage you from visiting the country! On the contrary, what I mean to say is that while racism certainly exists in certain pockets of society, it is absolutely not nearly as bad as many articles (and the State Department!) would have you believe. If you make the effort to connect with people on a human level, I think the overwhelming majority of your experiences in Spain will be positive. Most of the racism I encountered was of an oblique ignorance than of malicious intent. It’s more like their idea of racial identity seems quite naive, not that they are a racist people. I hope that makes sense!

    So please do go to all those places you mentioned. I haven’t been to Mallorca, but as it’s an island, I’m sure the people are fairly relaxed. You will have a great time in Madrid, Barcelona, and Pais Vasco. The funny thing is that the Basques will probably be treat you better there as an American than they do the Spaniards.

    I hope you do go. As the cliché goes, ‘if you don’t go, you’ll never know.’

  24. Its funny because asians and especially chinese people get offended when they are called “chinos” well Chinese people in Spanish chino means chinese..arent you chinese? Its true tho that all asians are called “chinos”.We can also complain about people slandering us and puttin us down like the slandering north americans do calling mexicans etc who emigrate to their country “spanish people” Spaniards are tired of these americans calling non spanish people “spanish” just beacuse they speak “spanish”.Are asian americans or african americans “british” or “anglosaxon” just because you speak English? Ok then…i think this issue has made us more “racist”We call all asians chinos but we dont say chino to be racists but asian people somtimes are mocked because i dont know because they look naive? This is not only happens in Spain by the way.We have nothing against asian people its the north africans and southamericans(the indian looking ones) and gypsies the ones who steal,rape etc.

    You will feel more at home in Spain than in other country in Europe im sure of it(italians are cheerful and hospitable people too)


    • so you don`t like the southamericans coze they look indians???? wow…and you are better than they coze you are white I supose…wow…is amazing you know you are most ingnorant person ever…as far as I know your country was very poor on the 80`s and 70 s that the spaniars used to inmigrate to AMERICA the greatest country in the world that was made for asians, blacks,whites and of course mexicans or often called hispanics…whitch is because we speak spanish….and that stupid lenguaje that you speak too…so we are looking bad now coze your bullshit culture that colonized us. If am not mistaken used to come to America to get an opportunity…but no know the indian looking south American….I am first latin american inmigrants in the US we are so proud to be AMERICANOS unlike you are only an stupid spaniard traying the scream that you are better becose the way you look…I got news come to america and act white a see what happen with your stupid accent saying that you are not spanish…

    • I’m Asian, I speak English and I was born in the U.S, so yes.. that actually DOES indeed make me AMERICAN.

      Not all “indian looking” South-Americans steal and rape.

      What is the point of your comment, again?

      • Also, do you not see the problem of assuming one’s racial identity and labeling them as such? Not all Asians are Chinese– are you aware of the existence of Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese people?
        Do you not see the problem of calling a Korean “Chino” because you ASSUME they’re Chinese?

        Hey, you look Italian to me so how about I call you GUIDO? Oh what’s that, you’re not Italian but Spanish? Who cares, “same thing.”
        ^Is that your line of thinking?

  25. I’m spanish, so excuse me for my horrible english.

    MOST of spaniards aren’t racist, at any level. Maybe what you call IGNORANCE should be called INOCENCE. They refers to people by their nacionality without prejudices.

    Both my parents are teachers, both very educated, no racist or nacionalist. But when they come house and talk about their students they uses “mi chinita”, “mi morito”, “mi negrita”. And they say it with a LOT of affection. Believe me, they love them.

    The inmigration is a recent problem. Don’t misjudge by calling it problem, is a problem of assistance, health, etc. A lot of work to do in order to HELP them. ==> BUT Spaniards are willing and determined to DO this job. They are happy to help, to address to inmigrants.

    So when we, spaniards, say with a smile on our face: “jei, here is comming the chinos”, don’t feel threatened. We say it happy to be with you.

    Sometimes, most of the times indeed, you will feel what we call “positive discrimination”. We have no medium term (middle course?), the other side of racism. BUT this discrimination is discrimination and you feel like we are addressing you in a diferent way.

    Some things said here is wrong: Asian is the most valuated inmigration and morocco the less. We don’t thing asian is ugly, indeed we love the “belleza asiatica” (When I was younger all the group of friends were really jealous of a boy with an asian girlfriend)

    But, of course, as everywhere in the world we have f***** racist, we call it “ultra derecha”. They aren’t many but they are noisier than the rest of us.

    • i feel your sincerity but if anyone called me “mi negrito” i would probably never speak to them again; or if they are as your parents are teachers minimize the amount of times i have to speak to them. I am not trying to be rude but the root of that word negro which is closely associated with nigger is not something a person of color ever wants to hear let alone addressed by regardless of how much affection and love is in ones voice when they say it. please keep this in mind.

      • I understand your view, but you must also understand that American values and definitions have no meaning in other countries and cultures. How do you expect someone that has never stepped foot outside of Spain or has had exposure to a variety of cultures to understand our Americanized values? While I agree that using the terms Negritos or Chino here in the states would be considered racist, in the Spaniards point of view, they are legitimately using those terms to describe people of other races.

  26. I dont know about you and IM asian and I think spanish and italian people are hot. So im going to study over in europe and try to marry one.

  27. hey i read your article and now i am really scared to go over to Spain and study next year. i am black of caribbean decsent and 18 years old and have to study in Alicante for six months and then work there for 6 months as part of my course… i just want to know has anybody else here been on a erasmus in Alicante and what was it like? and i think that Eto was right to walk off the pitch during the match of football i mean who would want to play in a country and a team who h8 you he should have put his talent somewhere else into another football club ! y can’t we just all get alonng?!!?

    • i see you wrote this in 2008 i am 20 black and of Brazilian descent i will studying in the same region next summer. how was it?

  28. Mike, you are awesome. Best of luck with your mission, and please keep us all posted on your progress! (I’m serious.)

    Angela, I really did not write this post with the intention of discouraging people of color to visit and/or feel comfortable in Spain. As I mentioned to Teresa earlier, my own experience with the Spanish was that while they may have very “naive” views on racial identity in comparison to the racial hypersensitivity we practice in the US, the vast majority of those I met and encountered treated me very well. If I didn’t get along with someone, I never considered race to be a factor.

    So while you may notice small things here and there that raise tiny red flags (like the beer bottle in the photo), the great likelihood is that you will have a fantastic time and come back thinking I’m some kind of paranoid idiot. As Edu mentioned in his comment, a lot of the things we may interpret as offensive are actually meant to be affectionate. Personally, I prefer not to be identified primarily as a Chinese instead of simply a person; if I’m coming to meet Spanish friends and they say, “Look, here comes the chino!“, that’s not cool (although my friends in America are prone to say that but they’re racist bastards). But if they say, “Here comes Jeff. He’s chino,” that’s different because it’s just a statement of fact. It’s a fine line, to give you a window into my neurosis. Maybe that wouldn’t bother you at all.

    A buddy of mine spent a month in Alicante basically on the beach the entire time, and loved it.

    Good luck and have fun!

  29. Hello i’m Alex.
    I am currently living in Valencia, as part of my course (Erasmus). First of all I want to say that I do think racism is very obvious in Spain, but the Spanish people just don’t know it. They do not relate to Black people as equals, they are just too jused to seeing Black people suffer and die, it is regularly on TV when they try to cross the borders by boat.
    To correct you Jeff, most of the immigration do not come from subsaharan Africa (I suppose that is what you meant? since Marocco is laso Africa…), although this is what the medias portray. The so called “crisis” of Black African immigrants is a myth. The ones you do see here in society are not granted the work permits and recide here illegally. They live of what ever they can sell and are totally excluded and stigmatised in society. They are not even given a chance. If you look at the statisticks there were app.600.000 people who were granted citizenship; 24.000 of those were subsaharan. Of the total 3.500.000 immigrants in Spain in 2006, 100.000 were subsaharan.
    To Angela: Although Black people are not seen as “their own” in Spain and they aren’t integrated, I would still recommend you to go. First of all you will be seen as a “westerner” representing “wealth” and “forwardness”, second of all, it is not like black people are attacked or yelled at, it is just . I am sure it will be a good experience if you can distract yourself from getting closerer to the reality of seing that most Black people are poor, etc.


  30. Can anyone help me with the information i need. I am hoping to move to spain (Alicante) 2009. I am a white British female with my son, he is mixed race, his father is black British. People have made comments that people in spain are racist so obviously this is something i need to know regarding the problems and discrimination my son may face as this is starting to concern me. So if anyone who has any information etc please post…..

  31. “worried parent uk”, All racial problems you will see in Spain you will watch it on TV (some yells of football hooligans, and maybe a disturb in Melilla’s frontier(Africa)).
    But you will have great problems if you don’t learn spanish since most spaniards don’t speak english (don’t even need it). They’ll make a great effort to pronunce a few words in something similar to indian-english or they will speak spanish veeeery slooow. Anyway in Alicante the spanish is clear (not like Andalusia or Galicia), easy to understand.
    Your son will have less problems than you, educational system has great proyects and resources in order to integrate people with spanish language lack, but sharing most of the time with his school friends.

  32. To Jeff, thanks again for your info!!!!

  33. Although I’m usually a fair proponent of the 1st Amendment, I will exercise my right as a moderator to remove comments I feel are abusive and unproductive to the discussion at hand. Thanks for understanding.


  34. hey i am a african -american student and want to spend some time in spain going to school thanks for the article it was very informational!!!I think i can finally convince my dad i will be safe there… but even thought people are racist every where are spainards (please dont take the term offensivly) any more rasist agianst blacks than americans or any other races are???

  35. This is probably a stupid question, but I have never been to Spain, so I don’t know, and I would like to know if there is any spanish-spanish racism within the native Spanish population itself? (besides the basque population against other Spaniards). The Spanish population is a big mixture of mediterranean, moorish, and germanic blood, and many spanish people I have seen look quite different from each other.

  36. I´m spanish. I can´t talk for all the spanish people, but i can talk for Luis Aragones. He is not racist, and if you learn about him and his history, you can see for yourself quickly.
    In spain there are any racist persons, but there are many more people who aren´t.
    Excuse me for my english

  37. i’ve just got back from barcelona, where i stayed for a week with my partner who, for the purposes of making sense of this post, is a black female. i have to say that the experience was altogether unpleasant, and that the majority of the residents of what is otherwise a beautiful city should be well and truly ashamed of themselves. what she experienced ranged from open-mouthed staring, to shouting/yelling about ‘la morena/la puta’ and monkey noises. it’s not like this came from one particular group or type of ppl – it was young, old, male, female, across the board. re: aragones, regardless of if he has black/yellow friends (like that’s an achievement – what does he want, a tolerance certificate?), what he said was unacceptable, and i’m not cler why i should take the time and trouble to delve into his personal history to find out otherwise. if you’re not a racist, or at the very leas if you don’t harbour some pretty shady ideas about black ppl, you’re probably best just not saying it, all in all. not that difficult. Treating racially based insults (at a football game or wherever) as equivaent to general name-calling is mistaken, and ignores the weight of history that has charted the systematic oppression and disadvantage black ppl have suffered (and continue to do so). it also ignores the self-evident truth that language can be oppressive and reductionist – jeff, you earlier described your wish not to be referred to as ‘a chino’ (as distinct from ‘he’s chinese’ being ok) as neurosis. in fact i think it’s not neurosis at all, but about the reductionism of racial labelling. it’s the same thing that makes it apparently ok in spain to caricature black women on ‘la negrita’ beer bottles, and to shout ‘la morena/china/whatever’ at ppl. this removes the notion of ppl as ppl and makes them all about their ethnicity and nothing else. ditto discussions about the relative virtues of different ‘sorts’ of africans or ‘the indian-looking ones’, as one of your posters so charmingly referred to specific south americans before. i’m actually disgusted by the level of racism my partner experienced in barca – you work hard, save your money, book your holiday, arrive excitdly – and then the general ignorance of the population brings it all crashing down. spain needs to admit the problem and deal with the issue. move on out of the dark ages…

  38. Dear RMW:

    That’s an awful situation, I’m so sorry to hear that. As you said, you work hard, save up all this money to go to a new country, and then something like this can shatter the entire experience. I only spent 3 days in Barca, and stayed mostly in highly touristed areas, so I can’t say I know it that well, but I do remember recently reading about a terrifying hate crime about a man who kicked and molested an innocent Ecuadorian girl on the metro for no apparent reason, and nobody on the train did anything to help.

    Luckily it was captured on a surveillance camera and the police arrested the guy. Personally, they should also have charged the idiot sitting there pretending not to see the entire thing.

    It’s disgusting to have the experience you and your partner did, and it makes you feel like we’ve turned the clock back a hundred years…

    On a positive note, I was in Buenos Aires for three months last year and one of my best friends there was an African-American writer who (at the time) spoke little to no Spanish. And almost without exception, they LOVED him there. Next time, maybe choose to go to South America, where the people are friendlier and your dollar goes much farther.

  39. yeah i saw that actually. def shld have charged the other guy, i’d agree. i suppose the thing for me is that, as a white, English person, that kind of consideration isn’t something i’d work into my decisions to travel somewhere (or not). and i never would have really known that about the place had i not gone with who i did. diff’rent landscapes for diff ppls, apparently. anyways, i nede to get that off my chest, so thanks for the response and the continually good writing…

  40. spain is racist dont be fooled by all the media lies and the local spainish people… my friend got killed over in spain for the colour of his skin when he was returning from a local shop
    F**K Spain Murders!!

  41. “Clean your own house before going to someone else’s saying it is dirty.” someone said that, as i perused.

    Well, we are cleaning our houses and we are cleaning it well.

    but yours remain dirty because you just shrug it off and tuck it under the bonita alfombra called fanaticism or simply way of life? or plain ignorance?.

    I don’t know what is gonna happen to your city’s candidacy for the 2016 Olympic Games if you don’t clean your house of this dirt.

    considering games are, imho, most important to you than the next immigrant or visitors feelings.

    while your default expression to non-whites and western Europeans is “vete a tu pais”.

  42. Though the original entry was posted well over 2 years ago and my comment will probably never be read, I thought I’d still say something.

    After hearing on the new about how the spanish basketball team participated in an ad that prompted them to pull their eyes taut with the fingers to signify “being asian” I started looking on the web to see if there were traces of racism present in the country. I find that asianamerican’s comment above me about Spain’s bid for the 2016 Olympics really comes into question with regard to the news article that I read (http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/beijing/blog/fourth_place_medal/post/Spanish-basketball-team-poses-for-offensive-pict?urn=oly,100152). I’ve never been to Spain, although I am taking a trip there next March as a part of my University’s scholars programs. I guess what I really wanted to do was to find out more about Spain’s cultural climate and if the ad by the basketball team truly did reflect the general spanish population’s attitudes toward asian people. I speak spanish fluently and was looking forward to going to Spain next year, but right now I’m more concerned about the welcome I might receive there as an asian american female.

  43. […] of my blog on racism in Spain, and given the its notoriously poor record of racial abuse in athletic arenas, this is sadly […]

  44. Dear Brenda,

    Thanks for writing. To answer your question about the racial climate in Spain, in two words: it’s complicated.

    Depending on where you go, I think you’ll by and large be fine. People can be very warm, and as you speak the language, they’ll very much appreciate that, and will likely treat you better than a white tourist who doesn’t speak. If you learn a few phrases specific to Spain, like saying “Que te debo?” at a bar rather than asking for the check, they’ll like you even more. So I think you’ll have a positive experience.

    There are certain places with a reputation for racial tension: Barcelona, Extremadura, Zaragoza, etc. But you have to understand that in Spain, there is no culture for political correctness. That’s both good and bad. But I think you’ll most likely be judged by your behavior than anything else. Do watch your purse. Asian tourists have a reputation in Spain (and other countries) for being naive and carrying lots of expensive toys. Naturally, there are racists in any country, but give the Spanish people the benefit of the doubt, and I do think you’ll be rewarded.

    Have fun!

  45. Hi, this is a Catalan one!

    Once we recognize the existence of any race, we become racists.

    This is not a question of racism, it is a question of respect. Is Spain respectful? is the whole world respectful?? let’s stop all the wars first, then, let’s talk about respect… and racism if you preffer.

    • So basically what you’re saying is because the world is messed up the Catalans treat everyone who isn’t Spanish like dirt? By your definition, I can go to Barcelona and start beating the **** out of them because I don’t like people from Barcelona?

  46. Has anyone seen the mens’ basketball team pic (@ Olympics) with the hand gesture? I think Spain is really ignorant in how they deflect the blame to teh sponsor. Saying the sponsor has the money and they pushed this on them. Vary excuses came from “we all were not comfortable but the sponsored asked us.. to what’s the big deal I have asian friends… that is a friendly gesture (don’t you know?) why are people mad?” Forget the fact the basketball association, sponsor and their national newspaper thought it would be ok to print and circulate this..and forget the fact the womens’ basketball team have the same pic as well. The other day I found a group restaurant of the Spain tennis team doing the same gesture. Now there are no sponsore request in this pic..just the Spain tennis team group photo over dinner. I think it’s obvious what the real problem is here. They are racist, ignorant and lie to deflect blame on others. FYI the pic group tennis pic (racist gestures) is still on their home website.

  47. I think this is a perfect opportunity for all you haters to vomit your own bad experiences in Spain or just made up some revealing facts about our “hideous” culture.
    Fuck you all, if you hate our country that much don´t even bother coming here anymore, we don´t need you and we don´t want you. Funny thing I´ve been working in Galveston,Texas for some months and I could hardly find someone that could find Spain in a world map; some didn´t even know it is a European country. And that´s a non-ignorant country. You can include us in the “axis of evil” if you want to. Period.

  48. Spain is a racist country and you know it. All the bull fighting falls to head must have got to you losers. Brain injured perphaps? Losers! Eat more rice and beans. You’re gonna need it. The world is going to kick your ass for your racist doing. I hate your culture because everyone there are dogs with IQs lower than dirt.

  49. Spain is Racist and so is Europe. Hope that one day, the Muslims reclaim Europe.

  50. I did my foreign study in Spain. It’s a gorgeous country and there are many aspects of Spanish culture that I adore. It is also by far the most OVERTLY racist and xenophobic place I’ve ever been, and I’ve travelled quite a bit. I stress ‘overtly’ because, as someone mentioned in an earlier post, the fact that a nation’s citizenry have learned to keep it under their hats doesn’t make them any less bigoted.

    That said, I found it appalling how nonchalantly a Spaniard of any walk of life could comment on or mock another person because of their race or national origin and simultaneously seem unable to comprehend why the person would find it offensive. To witness such childish behavior among such a high degree of fully grown adults was something that I will never forget.

    This latest spate of articles about throwing banana peels and peanuts, donning Black Face, grunting like gorillas or making “slanty eyes” in a PUBLICITY AD FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN BEIJING of all things, brought back many of the negative memories I have of my time in Spain.

    What I find most disconcerting in the response of the Spanish public, both on the official record and in reply posts like these, is the penchant for deflection without acknowledgement. (e.g., How can you have the nerve to say that we do “XYZ” when you do the same thing or worse in your country!)

    For me, such childish responses are indicative of a culture that experienced a sort of “prolonged cultural adolescence” during the Franco regime. From 1939 to 1975, while the rest of the Western world was crossing major racial hurdles, Spain was nearly completely cloaked in a shroud of homogeneous isolation. As such, it seems reasonable to me that their present day treatment of “The Other” would seem reminiscent of something I might see in a 1930’s cartoon or a 1950’s sit-com from my own country.

    Thankfully, this resilient nation is making great strides catching up with the vertiginous pace of Globalization. When it comes to race relations and immigration issues, however, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

  51. i heard spain used a bunch of underaged girls in their olympics team too …… THEIR MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM! … loved watching a bunch of racist pathetic losers at their best! Had the time of my life!!!

  52. “The irony is that the Spanish I knew hated being referred to by the English word “Spaniards”. They feel it’s objectifying and somehow condescending. Obviously there is a double standard at play here” (posted by Jeff).

    I was a bit puzzled when I read that. Are you referring to the Spaniards that you knew in the Basque country? If it is so, you have to know that people from this place have a very deep-rooted sense of nationalism. I guess that being called Spaniard for them could be as if they are losing their Basque identity or something.
    I believe most people in Spain (including myself) don’t hate being called Spaniards. This is just what we are…

    By the way, I congratulate you on your article. It is a very realistic approach to Spain.

    I think racism is intolerable. It is disgusting that there can be people in the street like the individual who was kicking a Latin girl on the metro. The truth is that there is racism in Spain as well as there is racism in every country that you go, and everybody is a little bit racist. Oh and it is also depends on one’s personal experience in a particular country.
    I mean, you can’t tarnish the reputation a whole country because of some events -some of them more worrying and racist (like the boy on the metro), and other that are plain stupid- because you don’t want to be judged by the other countries for what you do wrong.

  53. Muslims reclaim Europe? The bombs’ll start dropping and the bullets will thud endlessly into the bodies of insurgents years before than happens. (Which pretty much tells you it won’t ever happen, and if they try, they will be wiped out.)

  54. Hi everyone,
    I’m 18 years old and I plan on studying in Spain for one year during my time in university. I absolutely love the culture and beauty of Spain and I plan to live there after my studies. Prior to this blog and other websites, I was completely unaware of the racist occurrences mentioned above. Now I am re-thinking my intentions of going there. Although I do have Spanish blood, I also have Filipino blood. This mixture makes me look exotic, or from Latin America (curly brown hair, tanned skin, big dark eyes, fuller lips). The video of the 21 year old man attacking/molesting a Latin American (Ecuadorian) teenage girl frightens me very much. I am just wondering how intense the racism against Latin Americans (or those who look exotic/Latin American such as myself) in the Work Force? How do they react to someone who looks “exotic” (as in it is difficult to determine what nationality/nationalities they are)? In America and Canada, exotic-looking people are often regarded as extremely beautiful/attractive. I am hoping it is the same in Spain.

    Thank You

  55. Dont fuckin call southamericans as “spanish” because only the people from Spain Europe are Spanish.We dont call african americans “english people” just because they speak english.

    Do these retards still wonder why we are racists?

    brainwashed morons get a clue n stop slandering the spanish nationality.

    • Hey genius, just like you call Asians “Chino” or Africans “negrito,” we call Spanish speaking individuals Spanish. It’s no different from how you Spaniards categorize races. Talk about having a Double standard.

  56. mr. beyonce knowles? you are aware that SHE is a WOMAN, right?

  57. First of all sorry for my english.

    The truth is that there is racism in spain but the image that spain is getting all around the world is quite wrong. I cant speak for all spain but for most of it, i think that most of british and also americans are hypersensitive with racism because they feel guilty, they think that beimg black or from other etnicity is a disadvantage. I dont see this physycal features negative, i see them as normal, so when i refer to someone as “negrito” or “chinito” i am not being racist i am describing someone with their physical features.

    I need to say that probably i think this way because i am not from the franco-generation as much of our grandfathers, this problem is going to be solved, but calling us (spaniards) racist or stupid moroons doesnt help.

    We have the intention to help any foreigner and help them to have a nice and enjoyable time in spain. Ask any 15-17 year old and any 65-85 year old and you will see the diference, the olds will be very racist but because of their franco-antiforigner education (not all of them are these way but most are), the young will be very pleased with inmigrants, personally i dont have much inmigrant friends but i wish to have lots, to learn new languages, meet people from other countries.

    Dont be afraid of coming to spain, your all welcome to my house. And i want to apologise all the people that have suferred from racist attacks in spain, those stupids monters (racist)dont represent the new spanish spirit. Welcome to spain.

    • i understand but it is offensive to address people by “negrito” or “chinito” because those words have inherent negative connotations. You and Spain need to recognize that. I understand that in your case u are not a racist and are admitting that older people will have a racist attitude but you have to see life through the other sides eyes. It does not make them feel welcomed. Try calling a black person in the USA a “negrito” I promise it will NOT under ANY circumstances end well for you. Spain needs to recognize what is considered inflammatory to the people of the race themselves not just dismiss it because you don’t see it that way. you are not being called by these names and it doesn’t affect you.

  58. Hola Karlos,

    Thank you for writing in with your perspective and encouragement. And thanks for your invitation to visit as well!

    I think one of the primary disconnections our two cultures suffer from is that in the US, defining someone based on their racial appearances is considered offensive because of our racial history: many generations for minorities have been discriminated against because they were defined by race and race alone, and not by the value of their personal character. Thus, since the birth of our country, the highest compliment one could receive was to be considered “American”. (Obviously, this used to mean white American only, and in recent years the absurdity of such a desire has since been recognized.) So, as ridiculous as it is, what is considered “polite” by the majority of American society is to NOT point out one’s differences, as it has a historically negative connotation due to slanderous epithets.

    I understand that in Spain, this is usually not the case. I say “usually” because I and many readers on this post have seen this used in negative ways in Spain particularly with Africans and Latinos, as well as with Asians. But I have been told by many Spaniards that to call an Asian “el chinito” is actually a sign of affection, whereas in the US, to call an Asian “the little Chinese guy” would be an insult.

    Anyway, I appreciate your comments and thanks for taking the time to write.

  59. Hey Jeff,

    I am a Vietnamese college student planning a trip to Barcelona. (The application is due in a month) This has been entirely informative and very helpful. Though I know you encourage us not to be deferred or apprehensive about going to Spain, I find many of the reports here very disconcerting. I have been framing a study abroad trip (for a year) to Barcelona for about 6 months and am only a few steps away from finishing the application. What I see here is that the issue of racism or misunderstanding, or even inexperience is one which will take quite a while.

    Though I understand that, where does that leave us who desire to travel to the country and learn their culture while having to face the kind of crude and side remarks. What happens when I begin taking courses from professors who have been through this “older” education and see me as “other”? I would like the most objective and honest responses in regard to this as possible. I wanted to go for a year, but even after being immersed in a country for a year, I do not find it appropriate to spend my savings to go to a place that will consistently label me and have to accept it on the side of “immigration still being new” or “they have not had prior conflicts with the Asian community”

  60. Son ustedes muy hipocritas.Los anglos han sido muy racistas mataron a todos los indios y no se mezclaron con ellos.Los españoles hicieron una raza de mulatos y mestizos en mexico Colombia etc.Y ahora nos llaman racistas.Ustedes tienen mala conciencia y estan enfermizamente sensibilizados.Cuando el equipo de baloncsto de la olimpiada español hizo una broma para un anuncio de publicidad tocandose los ojos que a los chinos no les importo porque era evidente la broma.Los periodicos ingleses y americanos se escandalizaron todos diciendo tonterias.Hay un refran español para eso”No se puede hablar de la soga en casa del ahorcado”.En USA han ahorcado mucho pero en España no.Ustedes hace 4 dias que estan luchando con el racismo.Nosotros nunca lo hemos sido con las escepciones minimas que hay de gentes malas que hay en todos los sitios.
    Es una pena que este foro equivoque a jovenes que querian venir a España.Vengan yo les garantizo que no tendran ningun problema.Que haran muchos amigos y que a nadie le preocupara de que color son.

  61. Dear Morrie,

    I am a firm believer in a somewhat hackneyed sounding, yet earnest conviction: If you don’t go, you won’t know.

    The writer ‘un español’ offers a sort of perfect microcosm of what you might experience in Spain with regard to race in their post: an attack on your nationality (if you’re American) with regard to our own racial history, a simultaneous justification for a notoriously controversial (and in most countries blatantly racist) gesture in their “slant-eyed” national basketball advertisement for the Beijing Olympics, immediately followed by a warm invitation to come visit.

    On a personal note, I take exception to ‘un español”s argument on two major points: the first is referring to Americans as “anglos”. Obviously, neither you, Morrie being of Vietnamese descent, nor I, being of Chinese descent, are of Anglo-Saxon stock. Such nuances are often overlooked, if that sort of it thing is important to you. Secondly, ‘un español’ writes that the Spanish “made” a race of mulatos and mestizos in Mexico and Colombia as evidence of some sort of multicultural paradise. Needless to say, that was not the case. I think it’s safe to say that both nations have a shameful wee bit of genocide on both our consciences. So let’s move on.

    I would hate for this to discourage you from going to Spain. (That is one thing ‘un español’ and I agree on.) Clearly, ‘un español’ means well in their invitation to you. While I think they have vastly oversimplified the situation , their heart is in the right place. Furthermore, I found Barcelona to be one of the most culturally, architecturally, and gastronomically stunning cities in the world. There is clearly an abundance of riches to experience there, and if you meet some ignorance along the way, so be it. That’s the way of the world, and we cannot and should not hide from it.

    So I say go with an open heart and mind and stomach, and hopefully, you will have a wonderful life-changing experience, in the way study abroad is meant to be. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

  62. Jef acuso recibo.Observo que el shock cultural existe.Y aun mas con USA donde por ser un pais tan grande veo en mis visitas que para los americanos que en su mayoria no viajan fuera de EEUU creen que lo que piensan ellos es lo unico existente.Sus complejos su mentalidad su idionsicrasia es lo normal y ni se imaginan que hay otros mundos muy distintos.España tienen una cultura milenaria y generalmente no coincidimos con la metalidad de origen “anglosajon”.Sabemos que USA es hoy una mezcla de razas.Pero solo piensen que dentro de España no hay esclavos desde hace 500 años.Y ademas eran poquisimos y la mayoria fue de raza blanca moros y cristianos.Los Reyes catolicos cuando Colon trajo indios de America ya en 1492 le obligo a darles la libertad.Sinembargo en USA no se abolio la esclavitud hasta el siglo XIX y no se resolvio la segregacion hasta Kennedy.
    Lo de la foto de el equipo de baloncesto y los chinos fue una broma cordial que es tipica de nuestra simpatia por todos los ajenos que hace que estemos invadidos por turistas.60 Millones al año el primer pais del mundo.España es mas de 10 veces mas pequeña que USA asi que imaginesen que estamos invadidos de gentes de todas las razas.Creen de verdad que sino recibiereamos a la gente extrangera con una cordialidad tremenda que es lo propio de nuestra mentalidad iban a volver repetidamente e incluso el que puede sueña con quedarse a vivir en España.
    Por eso nos ha parecido de mala fe los comentarios Ingleses sobre nuestro presunto racismo porque los ingleses que pueden se pegan por vivir en España y nos concen bien porque durante siglos fueron nuestros enemigos y ahora por suerte ya no y somos ciudadnos de la Union europea.Se ve que de vez en cuando recuerdan nuestras querellas historicas y les gusta darnos un palo.Sinembargo pensamos que los amricanos nos llaman racistas de buena fe pero es fruto de la ignorancia suprema de los americanos fuera de sus fronteras que les hace meter la pata tanto en politica internacional cuando han salido con esa estupidez de que los españoles somos racistas.Precisamente los españoles siempre hemos sido los que menos de todos los europeos.O no se han enterado aun que durante la segunda guerra
    mundial con las tropas alemanas en los Pirineos lo que nos podia costar muy caro aqui se daba cobijo a los judios y a cualquier nacional perseguido cuando paises como Suiza o Suecia los entregaban a los nazis.
    En España esos comentarios nos parecen injustisimos hasta grotescos.Lo peor es que “el que busca encuentra”,como dicen los Evangelios y siempre habra alguien que a pesar de que nuestro nivel de delincuencia es muchisimo mas bajo que el de Usa y el de racismo tambien seguro que puede tropezar conn un delincuente español o con un racista español.Tendra que buscar mucho porque yo tengo bastantes años no conozco ninguno pero seguro que si busca mucho lo encuentra y luego puede contarnoslo aqui.
    Miren usteds pueden llamarnos muuchas cosas pero negar que en España abundamos en cordialidad en simpatia entre nosotros y los que nos visitan es una mentira monumental.
    Un saludo cordial a todos y a ver si nos visitan sean blancos negros o amarillos.Y si les llamamos negros o chinos o etc y no andamos con eufemismnos de “afroamericanos” o “asiaticos” etc es que como nunca fue en España eso un insulto no tenemso que cambiar de palabras como ustedes para nombrar a los negros negros a los blancos blancos o a los chinos chinos.No tienen ningun caracter despectivo.Ese caracter solo esta en sus mentes americanas por su historia que es muy distinta a la nuestra. Repito un abrazo cordial a todos negros blancos o chinos.

  63. Jeff he releido todos los pots y me he secandalizado de lo injustos que son con nosotros los españoles.Comprendo que vean las cosas con su mentalidad dr origen pero no hacen ningun esfuerzo por apreciar la de los españoles que tenemos otra cultura.
    No se dan cuenta que es una paradoja absurda que si somos racistas tengamos un problema tremendo porque toda Africa Europa y Sudamerica quiere vivir en España.Si fueramos tan racistas lo logico seria que estos emigrantes se fueran a Francia o Alemania que son mas ricas y al parecer no son racistas.Yo les doy algunas razones para esto.Todo el que entra en España tienen sanidad educacion gratis y comedores gratuitos.Esto es una carga tremenda piensen que aqui no hay petroleo ni territorios inmensos como en USA.
    Cuando en USA ni es gratis la sanidad siendo un pais mucho mas rico nosotros Compartimos lo que tenemos no solo con los españoles pobres sino con cualquier extrangero de cualquier raza que nos visita.No podemos ser mas genersos.
    Un lector dice que a los africanos que entran en España ilegalmente no les damos trabajo ni ciudadania.y es una pena verlos vendiendo en las calles de forma ilegal .Ustedes creen que en España que tiene 3 millones de parados hoy y es 4 veces menor que texas puede aceptarse que venga toda Africa y que nos digan que sino somos racistas.
    Otros se quejan de que les han robado por ser asiaticos.Y quien lo dice si conocieran el asunto verian que no son ladrones españoles
    En su inmensa mayoria son extrangeros que han entrado ilegalmente en España y viven del delito.Prefieren hacerlo asi antes que volver a su pais de origen.Aveces pienso que esto es un paraiso en el que todos quieren entrar y prefiern vivir aqui malamente que en sus paises bien.Jeff tu crees que si fueramos racistas estos extrangeros se encontrarian tan felices en España que no quieren marcharse de ninguna manera.
    Me ha disgustado leer a este vietnamita repensando en visitarnos
    por la informacion tan equivocada que se le da en este Blog.
    Por esta razon he vuelto sobre el asunto aunque no hayas contestado a mi post anterior.
    Recibe un abrazo como siempre muy cordial de UN ESPAÑOL

  64. Un Español:

    Gracias por tus sentimientos y por releer los postes anteriores. Ojalá que entiendas que este articulo es un foro para hablar de los experiencias raciales en España y no es una condena de la gente ni del gobierno del país. Voy a cambiar de la lengua por los lectores que no leen español y mas por mi español ha deteriorado y es mierda y me parece que lees íngles muy bien.

    First, I agree with you: it is sad if people have reconsidered their plans to visit Spain based on what’s written on this page. But does that mean that these opinions and experiences are invalid? What you call “información tan equivocada” is purely the personal experiences of people who have been to Spain and had some encounter with racism there. (I have deleted many posts that I consider to be total bullshit.) Obviously, this can happen anywhere in the world, but given the reputation Spain has for its immigration policy, a very progressive social agenda, and the warmth of its citizens, these instances seem to happen with alarming frequency to those I’ve spoken with and who have related their experiences here.

    If you have re-read all the posts, you’ve seen how I have repeatedly encouraged people with doubts about studying or visiting Spain to go. You’ve seen how I’ve stated clearly again and again that I do not consider Spain to be a “racist” country per se, but that it is obvious the Spanish culture processes race in a very different way we do in North America, to the extent that certain practices (e.g., pulling one’s eyes up at the corners to impersonate an Asian person) are considered offensive here. Perhaps they’re not meant that way, but that’s how they are interpreted by many foreigners. So I don’t think attacking this forum as a source of misinformation is necessarily fair.

    Yes, it is true that the Spanish government allows for an extremely generous immigration policy. I believe that, as well as Spain’s immediate proximity to Africa, is probably one of the most influential reasons for emigrants (especially from Africa) to settle in Spain. In my experience, this is also one of the primary sources of racial tension and resentment amongst the Spanish population: why should we be so lenient with people who may not contribute to society, may not work or pay taxes, etc? I heard many vicious rumors such as “There are so many Chinese in Madrid because they have a deal with the government that they don’t have to pay income taxes for 6 years.”, etc. But I think it’s mostly generational as well: the older generation that has had less contact with immigrants naturally seems to me to be more conservative.

    This is a very delicate and complex issue that merits a nuanced perspective. I strongly believe every American should take the opportunity to travel outside our borders in order to learn different cultures and languages. I also believe we should not shrink from an honest dialogue about racism in Spain by denying that it exists or simply labeling Americans as hypocrites. I myself had a positive experience living in Spain but I know others have not, and this is an opportunity share our feelings on both sides.

    Thanks for your continued reading and consideration, and I do hope that people will visit Spain and receive the same welcome I did.

  65. Jeff Gracias por tu contestacion;Veo que conoces España pero los americanos aveces me dejan asombrados porque no abundan los que nos conocen bien.Hoy en mi ciudad sale en un diario una entrevista con un profesor peruano de la universidad de Berkeley llamado Gonzalez Viaña que viene al frente de un grupo de estudiantes americanos universitarios y dice lo siguiente:”El sistema educativo en los Estados Unidos no es brillante.Un alumno puede llegar a la Universidad conociendo toda la guerra de Sucesion,pero ignorando quien fue Kennedy o creyendo que America Latina es una sola nacion que se llama Mexico.No es extraño Sarah Palin la candidata a la Vicepresidencia creia que Africa era un pais.Asi que dar clase a alumnos con esta base es una tarea casi heroica.”
    No me explico que estos conocimientos que en España se exigen a los niños de 9 años falten en USA.Supongo que sabran otras cosas puesto que teneis muchos Premios Nobel.Pero Ortega y Gasset decia que esa educacion es de barbaros especialitas.Que solo saben todo de una pequeña cosa.
    Pero es muy dificil hablar de si un pais España del que desconocen todo en un contienente del que no saben nada de su historia puede ser racista o no.
    Debe ser curioso como interpetan lo que ven cuando nos visitan.A continuacion dice esta otra perla “Mis alumnos norteamericanos creen que el resto del mundo esta compuesto por campos y campesinos y se eencuentran con esta extraordinaria ciudad”
    Supongo que este señor habra exagerado el desconocimiento absoluto geografico e Historico de los estudios de los alumnos americanos aunque lo de la Sra Palin me deja estupefacto.
    Volviendo a nuestro tema te dire que en España ahora ha llegado la crisis con millones de parados.Eso es un drama que quita el humor hasta a los españoles mas divertidos y no me extrañaria que como sigan llegando emigrantes ilegales que quieren competir para encontrar trabajo sean recibidos en adelante con poca simpatia.Asi es la vida cuando se lucha para supervivir.Pero eso no es racismo es lucha por la vida.
    Un saludo muy cordial y si en otro momento decides tratar otro asunto de España con mucho gusto participare si me entero.
    Y que tengas un feliz año 2009.

  66. Jef despues de contestar he visto el video y me entere que eres un americano de origen asiatico.Solo queria añadir algunas cosas sobre esto.Si en cualquier pais se coge a un grupo de extremistas furiosos hinchas de un equipo de futbol seguro que no aprecia mas que barbaridades,Los hinchas españoles son mucho mas moderados que los hooligans ingleses o franceses y no digo los sudamericanos pero no dejan de ser gropusculos descerebrados.A ti que te gusta Argentina vete a ver alli un partido de futbol y veras que estos son unos santos a lado de las barras bravas argentinas. En el caso de la ecuatoriana del tren agredida.Hay que saber que el agresor es un desgraciado hospiciano un enfermo mental un esquizofrenico drogadicto y delincuente habitual y ademas se enfoca a la unica persona que estaba alli que era un emigrante argentino y que no ayudo a la mujer y no se dice que no era español Asi se da una idea completamente equivocada de la realidad.Lo que es vergonzozo es que se haya difunndido ese caso excepcional como ejemplo de racismo..
    En cuanto a Luis hay que ver que es un futbolista con poca educacion que intentaba subir la moral de su jugador.Y echo mano del mejor futbolista del otro equipo que casualmente era negro para decirle que el era tan bueno y creyendo que estaba en privado acentuo groseramente su identificacion con un calificativo lamentable.En España todos sabemos que Luis no es racista y tambien que es mal educado y si hubiera sido blanco hubiera dicho una groseria parecida.
    Alguno ha dicho que los asiaticos son feos para los españoles.Es todo lo contrario.Las asiaticas son mujeres muy atractivas para los españoles.Incluso la mujer mas cotizada en los anuncios españoles de moda es la Señra presley que es filipina.Y se caso sucesivamente con el famosos cantante Julio Iglesias con un marques y con un ministro de Economia algo inaudito de exito sentimental.
    Como ves por estos tres asuntos vistos desde el lado español no solo no nos encontramos con racismo en absoluto una vez bien analizados.
    Algunos dicen aqui que lo raro es que a la gente española en general no condena estas actuaciones ni tampoco la del anuncio de los jugadores de baloncesto.Pero como vamos a condenar algo que es propio de unas minorias super minimas de hinchas que barbarizan todos los domingos en todos los estadios del mundo.La gente corriente las condenamos de siempre pero no vamos a ponerles una mordaza o de un delincuente demente del que no se puede esperar otra cosa.Y en cuanto a las chinas que decir si nos encantan como la presley o el asunto de los jugadoes de baloncesto si es la tipica broma española que hariamos todos sin el menor caracter negativo.
    Dicho esto perdona si he sido reiterante y pesado y ahora si me despido de este sunto definitivamente.Solo creo que la ignorancia abunda mas por parte de los que nos llaman racistas que de los españoles.
    Un abrazo muy cordial de UN ESPAÑOL.

    Recibe un abrazo muy cordial de UN ESPAÑOL..

  67. Remember the Spanish 2008 Olympic basketball teams as well and how many racists must have approved such a vile advertising campaign before it got printed in newspapers across their country. Call it stereotyping but I know how I percive the Spanish.

  68. South Americans are more SPANISH than people from Spain !!!! WHAT!
    The world needs to boycott everything Spain. They don’t make anything worth while anyway. Boycott everything until the racism ends. I am so sick and tired of these spanish losers talking down on the Chinese and people from Africa. First of all, China could destroy Spain at a wink of an eye, and I hope more immigrants from North Africa flee to Spain and take over the country by demographic invasion. We’ll see how racist you are then. And yeah, South Americans are better Spaniards than Spanish themselves. Who is the retards now…putos
    Racists from Spain are dirt! Don’t support tourism in Spain!


  69. Dont you love the bitter anti-spaniards posters? See above. One perfect example of, prolly, a latin american person (check his nickname) who never been in Spain himself.

    Yes. There is racism in Spain. Why would I lie to you? Is it more evident than in the rest of Europe? Prolly yes (maybe with exception of Italy or Eastern Europe). Is it due to the lack of “political correctness”? No doubt about it.

    Will you have a taste of racism while being in Spain? C’mon! As a tourist from a western country, or as an Erasmus student, you will hardly encounter racism in your enviroment, besides some anecdotes like the racist conversation in an upperclass neighborhood (as if it wouldnt happend in the NYC’s Upper East Side)

  70. well, I agree that the racism that occurs in football is really unacceptable, but doesn’t anyone seem to realise that worse things happen in other more “developed” countries? Such as, off the top of my head, protests against people of a non-english nationality getting jobs? Isn’t this worse than racist taunts on a football pitch? People who are willing to work should get the chance to work, and I completely agree that racism is unnacceptable, whichever form it takes, but it is just evil the measures that some people will take to prevent immigrants from getting a job, even if such people have lived in england or sother countries for 20 years, have had education from that country, gone to university and passed in that country. Isn’t this worth some merit instead of insults and protests? I would like to conclude that (excuse me if im wrong!) but well, some of these comments, AGAINST spanish racism, are MORE racist than all the spanish racists put together!!!!! Excuse me for being close-minded but I don’t exactly understand how that works!!! and isn’t it racist to generalise?! I know people, Spanish people, who have had to endure racism, they are certainly NOT racists. Racism is essentially generalisation, and I have seen more than my fair share of generalisation in these “anti-racism” comments to last a lifetime. People have to learn to stop generalising to stop racism. And to stop racism people have to learn to stop being racists “even” against spanish people, who though may be more racists on the football pitch, have not stooped so low as to protest against immigrants getting jobs.

  71. I am extremely concerned and quite frankly disturbed by what I’ve read here. Racism is alive around the globe without a question, but to see it manifest itself so boldly in a country otherwise considered sophisticated is shocking. I do not understand why Spaniards think this attitude is getting them anywhere. Look at the most successful/influential countries in the world and you will see something interesting, a diverse population.

    I am an african american female from an affluent family and am studying abroad in Barcelona next year. While studying abroad the last thing I want to deal with are ignorant Spaniards who hate me because im black and therefore assume im poor/uneducated and as a result, think its fine to treat me as inferior when the opposite is true.

    So i guess my question is, is this more of a class issue or is it truly racial? And also, what should I expect in terms of Spaniard’s perception/treatment of me?

  72. Hi Courtney,

    It’s complicated, and difficult to pinpoint the origin of any racism or any xenophobic tendency. One thing I certainly am sad about is the fact that this blog seems to discourage many prospective study-abroad students. That is certainly not my intention.

    One thing I would NOT do is go to Barcelona examining every interaction for prejudicial treatment; if you do, you will certainly find it, or create it, as there will be enough cultural confusion without race even in the picture to raise the suspicions of anyone expecting this.

    My advice would be to give people the benefit of the doubt. You’re a visitor, a guest, and you have the luxury to be generous until proven otherwise. You may have a variety of experiences, probably common of many large, cosmopolitan, urban centers. If anything, your very presence and open-mindedness will help create a positive effect wherever you go. Best of luck and keep us posted!

  73. hey jeff
    i have been reading the comments people have been positing on your blog and sadly i have to say I now am also kinda scared of studying in Spain. My whole family is against me studying abroad in Spain next year because they say that the people there are very racist against Mexicans. I have repeatedly tried to tell them that not all of them are like that, but after reading these stories i really don’t know if its such a good idea for me to go.
    please help! is it really that bad for Mexicans to live in Spain?

  74. i lived in Galicia, Spain for two years, and experienced racism on a weekly basis. I’m South American,

    my adivce is not to immigrate to that country. if you’re thinking about it.

  75. You guys, if youre thinking of Studying in Spain, think again, its not a class thing, its just simply racism. The Spanish people do not like people of color, i have two years of experience to back this up. It’s a big issue in Spain! do some research on it (if you can do research in spanish better).

  76. long story short, my parents are chinese, and i moved to spains when i was 9,i live in the coastal area of malaga, ( benalmadena) and it suppose to be very open minded because every years tones of tourists visit the area. but there are still lot of racism, i mean when i walk on the street, the way people look at you, and all that, its jst fucked up, i spend 10 years of my life there, and last sep i moved to birmingham for uni. and its a totally different feeling, i see white, black, asian people working in supermakets and other places, been able to socialize more easily, i mean i lived in a very openminded area, and never ever i have seen someone working in a supermarket or comapny that its not spanish.

    its not like i had a tough childhood or grwoing up in spain, i think i had a good life so far, living in a good area, and the weather and all that, not all spanish people are like that, i made some great spanish friends during all this years,

    but as i said, spain is overall worst than other european countries, spain is like the texas of europe, one of my uni class mate told me this story where he was refused entrance to this club when he was in holiday in spains becuase he was black… shocking but true, also when i went on holiday to amsterdam, the receptionist told me this sotry where he and his fiance(she white his black) went on there honeymoon to some rural area in spain, and people of the village were really nasty to them, store owner refused to sell them goods, supplies and kids were everh throwing rocks at his fiance, it breath taking but yes , this thing do still happen,

    i mean when i was growing up, its innevitable to hear a ( Yo CHink! or stupid chinese shit, from time to time when i’m on the street walking to school or somewhere, specially that i went to a private english schoolwit hthose uniforms ( in spaiin, public school dont need to wear uniforms, )

    even english ( who bring tones of money to the locals through tourism gets bullied from time to time by the locals, the locasl think the tourist are taking over the place when the truth is people come, bring them money to develop andi mprove infrastracture

    but again, not all spainsh are like this, i think its all matter of how developed a country is, the wealthiest country in europe such as UK, holland, france and etc has a higher tolerance rate simply becuase people are use to this, there country are wealthier so more immingrats for there, set ther roots, and prosper.

    while in spain, its kind of different stories, one of my mate from years now told me , he got called a nigger the first time when he was 15, and thats when he first moved to spain,

    the truth from my personal experience is overall spanish people are very ignorant in certain ways, they see the others as inferior to them, and treat them that way, so its not what you are but who you are.( again not all,but some)

    it changing but if u first move to spain, try to move somewhere while english people is predominant, its better to settle, otherwise ur kids will d eff get bullied, no doubt, and if he/she is from different race and dont speak te languge, it will be worse,

    i have spoken to many many people about spain, been on many blog, chats,people who had similar background information like me all came to an similar conclution,spain is racist, and most spanish people will prob not disagree with me, in fact they know spain compared to other european countries is really behind,i have seen it on spanish national tv or other programmes that immingrants or those who are no spanish should go back to where they come from,( to be honest i havnet meet 1 black spanish yet that is not either half class, or adopted) but they dont really care about it either.

    many of my school mates that i meet in ar the private english school i go to, moved back to uk just after 6month to 1 years simply coz its hard to adapt,

    well if they dont want u there, just find somewhere where there are more tolerance, but really thats how it should be..

    Spains is the texas of europe

  77. for lucas. the mexican student, ermm if u r going to unviersity in spain, overall its ok, i mean there isnt that racisness u can find on the street and all that, people are more tolerated,

    if u r mexican of caucasian decent.. then i guess they only thing the spanish can pick on u is ur accent. there was this white mexican boy iin my high school years who got picked a lot coz her accent.

    i wouldnt worry if i’m u, but france is a good choice, free uni, good health care and all that.
    good lucky buddy

  78. ermm if ur black, yellow, asian,what ever but not spainsh, not ven if ur white english.

    they automatically think you are inferior, economiclly, socially and even mentally, its schocking but thats it, the styreotype is really horrible here in spain, i’m glad i didnt grow up in mid or northern spain,

    the spanish live inthere own world if u know what i mean, for them there are nothing outside of spain, 0 tolerance, and they like to keep it that way

  79. i mean football, formula one, even basketball were the player did the squinty eye thing. but again, its only inside spain, globally speaking, spain has little to say.

    if u speak spanish, well this video is shocking,

    some teenage spanish shouting very racist commetns publicly to asian tourism in a famous plaza of madrid.and post it on youtube…..

    its world wide famous. and the spanish titled it
    THE YELLOW HUMOR. i’m not even kidding….. some of my friends were shocked when they heard that. its unthinkable in there own country. and it was on like major spanish national tv, and all that, its sick, i’m disgusted by spain, cant believe i lived there that long.

  81. Hi, I’m Chinese-American and am planning on going to Spain to teach English for a year. From all these posts, I’m a little hesitant now, but would you say that the positives (ie experience and getting to live in Spain! and meeting “good” Spanish people) outweigh the negatives (ie racism)? Also, Jeff, would you be able to tell me more about your experience since you went for the same reason that I’m going?

  82. Hi Lisa,

    I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about my experience teaching English in Madrid. To answer your first question, yes, the positives far outweigh the negatives! Please feel free to ask me anything else, specific or general about teaching abroad.

  83. To Luca,

    I can’t say what your experience as a Mexican studying in Spain would be… I also think it depends on what part of the country you’re studying in. I think to a certain extent Ding is right in that you might be judged on different criteria than a gringo would, but I would still say GO! You’ll never know until you try, and I will bet you will not be sorry.

  84. Rubbish! Spain is not racist. I am of Central European descent and have been proposed (half seriously half jokingly) marriage by this group of people nad thier mothers lol on many times. When I asked don’t you mind I am not Spanish they’d say no coz all d rich guys have Russain wives and they r so wonderful they dowhatever thier husband tells them to. Right in many cases worng in mine!

    • There is a pretty big dividing line between racism and nationalism. You are probably Caucasian and thus wouldn’t have endured racism.

  85. Jeff, thank you for your reply! I don’t have any specific questions at the moment, but would you say that you felt safe during your stay (I remember reading what you wrote about an assault on another Asian-American)? Would you recommend that I go exploring by myself? Also, I’m sure there will be stares and (hurtful?) comments, but how often did you get that? Finally (for now :P), were you able to meet locals who were friendly with you, and how?

    • Hi Lisa,

      What city will you be teaching in? Personally, I felt safer walking the streets and taking the metro late at night in Madrid than I do in New York. I think violent crime is fairly low in Spain, and that episode of the Asian American teacher being choked in Sol must have been a bizarre anomaly (also, he was wearing his camera around his neck… a no-no in any part of the world if you ask me). However, as a single woman, I would probably always recommend you having companions when “wandering” at night (again, I would say that anywhere, except possibly Japan). The same rule applies to any major city: the more people that are out and about, the safer you are. And Madrid has people out all hours of the night.

      I didn’t get stared at much, to be honest (as opposed to in Egypt, where EVERYONE stared at me). I mean sure, some kids will look but it’s probably more out of curiosity. If you get catcalls, same as anywhere, you ignore it. I made friends with a Chinese family that owned a restaurant down my street and they would give me free food, so there are upsides to being Asian as well! Also, if you speak Spanish, that will help you integrate immediately. Not only will they be impressed that you speak without an Asian accent (Chinese people have awful Spanish accents), but many Spanish don’t speak English well, and most older generation Spanish don’t speak it at all (hence, you will have a job).

      If you don’t speak, I would make sure to enroll in an intensive class if you can afford it, and do language exchanges with Spaniards wishing to converse in english as much as possible. The latter is also a good way to make Spanish friends. I knew several American english teachers who inexplicably decided not to study the language and instead limited their friendships to fellow expats from english speaking countries. Needless to say, their experiences abroad were severely limited as well.

      As for me, the best thing I did was live with locals who didn’t speak english. Naturally, you will acclimate much faster, and learn the culture and language quicker. I also made friends with some of my business students who were my age, and tried to accept as many invitations to parties, dinners, or events as possible. Almost everyone I met thru these was exceedingly friendly and hospitable, so long as I was respectful and curious. Trust me, they may be more curious about you than you are of them! Of course, I had a number of english-speaking friends as well, mostly fellow teachers, who could help me transition or get out of a jam if I needed it.

      I’m excited for you, and I hope you have an amazing and gratifying experience! Yes, you will feel uncomfortable at times, but I would imagine being stuck at a desk job instead and I would instantly feel better. More often than not you will be rewarded for stretching beyond your comfort zone. If there are any other questions I can answer for you, feel free to ask!

  86. Hey Jeff,

    Thank you so much for all the incredible insight. What you have said has definitely recharged my initial desire to go to Spain. I’m sure I’ll have more questions for you later on and hope you won’t find them annoying.

    I’ll be teaching in the Andalusia region, not sure where exactly yet, but am looking forward to it! If you have any more tips or recommendations for me, please let me know! Thanks!

  87. You’re welcome! I only spent 3 days in Granada, the extent of my entire time in Andalucia, so I’m certainly no expert there, but it was gorgeous and much more laid back than Madrid or Barcelona. And yes, totally hit me up for any other questions you come up with.

  88. Hey Jeff,
    I just read this blog for like an hour and it has been an interesting and somewhat eyeopening read. Amazing that this topic has been going on for nearly 3 years. I’m wondering how much, if any, has changed since this blog entry was first started.

    Racism is a familiar topic even living in the US. It is just not as publicly displayed and accepted. In San Francisco, there are districts primarily white, chinese, black, and mexican. I don’t consider myself racist, but I understand people feeling more comfortable around with what they are familiar with. I don’t mind the idea of someone doin something that seems racist when they don’t have an ill intentions for it(ignorant), but the number of instances I’ve read on the site that don’t fall into this category is a bit unsettling.

    Anyway, I’ve already booked a trip to madrid and barcelona and leaving soon. I’m Korean American and despite what i’ve read here, am still looking to have a good time in Spain. I’m wondering if it would have been better for me to have remained ignorant of Spain’s racism/ignorance/innocence or whatever you want to call it. That said, do you have any advice to which districts are more open to foreigners and/or how I can help to adorn myself to the spanish people with my very basic high school spanish?

    • Andrew, I’m a Korean American and I would like to know how your experience in Spain was. I plan on studying for semester in Madrid and I’m curious to know if it was a positive experience.

  89. Jeff me has decepcionado veo que no has rechazado de plano las barbaridades que aqui se dicen de los españoles y que tu que has vivido en España sabes que son MENTIRA.He vuelto por aqui y veo que siguen empeñados en una MENTIRA COMO UNA CATEDRAL que los españoles son racistas.Incluso aqui un mexicano dice esa tonteria esa barbaridad.
    Somos el primer pais del mundo en el que quieren vivir mas personas de todas las razas.Tenemos una verdadera invasion.Y España no es un pais rico como USA al que millones de personas quieren ir a vivir porque tienen trabajo no porque les trataen muy bien alli.USA tiene petroleo,una gran industria y un territorio inmenso.Como se explica que nos invadan lso extrangeros a España de todas las razas cuando España es un pais mucho menos rico y pequeñisimo al lado de USA .
    Porque todos quieren vivir en España si aqui no hay buenos puestos de trabajo,no somos tan ricos como Francia o Usa por ejemplo.Es que los africanos, asiaticos,mexicanos que escriben esas MENTIRAS MOSTRUOSAS sobre España en este Blog creen que esas personas son MASOQUISTAS que disfrutan sufriendo esos atropellos racistas de los españoles que les gusta tanto ser maltratados que vienen en masa a España.
    No hay derecho que haya gentes aqui sembrando el odio contra los españoles.Hay incluso un participante que nos desea los mayores sufrimientos.Enfin hemos tenido que sufrir una leyenda negra y ahora parece que se nos inventa otra.Esos estudiantes asiatico y africano que escriben aqui que tiemblan antes de venir a Espaaña a estudiar deberia leer en google poniendo la palabra Erasmus estudiantes en España que estudiantes de todos los paises y razas dicen que fue el mejor año de su vida e incluso muchos quieren volver a vivir para siempre con estos españoles que segun ustedes somos tan racistas.
    Siento no dominar el ingles para que mi texto pueda leerlo toda esa gente tan equivocada que escribe aqui.
    Jeff repito me has decepcionado porque tu conoces España sabes español y siembras la duda en estas gentes,con un aparente equilibrio en tus comentarios.
    Jeff tu sabes que en España nadie molesta a los extrangeros por serlo y que el racismo ni pasa por la imaginacion en la inmensa mayoria de la poblacion española y no lo has dicho a estos despistados que escriben aqui.
    Que los casos que sacan aqui como ejemplo de racismos o son de marginales o delincuentes españoles de los que hay muchos mas en USA porque aqui hay muy pocos delincuentes o asuntos mal interpretados como el de Luis o la seleccion de baloncesto…
    Te pido por favor que seas justo y manifiestes la realidad de España a estos participantes tan equivocados.Y que les digas a estos que prueben en Google que dicen los miles y miles de extrangeros que dicen de como los hemos tratado extraordinariamente bien en España.

  90. Holaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!…Jeff no he terminado de leer todo el texto peroooo solo guiandome por el titulo, debo decir que no estoy de acuerdo. Racismo existe en todo el mundo, no solo se da en España sino incluso en paises de tercer mundo. Yo soy de Lima, Peru, estudio en New Jersey, EEUU y tengo amigos españoles que soy muy buenos chavales aunque a veces se las dan de soberbios y por eso tengo que bajarlos de sus nubes con mis historias de la epoca de la independencia 😛 (una broma no se enfaden jajajaja)…ojo que mis amigos tienen una edad promedio de 20 y yo se que en España muchos peruanos son discriminados, pero yo se que no es toda España sino un par de desadaptados con prejuicios sin educacion, pero en fin… tengo que regresar al trabajo, sino hablas español/castellano te respondo luego en ingles que no tengo tiempo ahora…saludossssssssssss

  91. People are truly mentally handicapped.

    If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. So many clear, empirical examples of laughable ignorance and plain asinine racism and people still come in here asking mundane questions. Why empower anything that irks you so much? Do you not understand basic economics?

    I visited Spain as a kid, and in my sub-10yr brain, knew better than to ever set my foot in that country again. As for the black people (e.g. Courtney & Co) who actually PAY to visit such a barbaric place, you deserve every lump of denigration you get. You actually consider yourself “educated” yet imply that one kind of discrimination (Classicism) is acceptable while another (racism) isn’t. And then you corroborate your own ineptitude by indirectly sanctioning racism against your own kind, as long as they are not “affluent.” I would be laughing if your pathology wasn’t so deeply proliferated. I find it uncanny that an African American will more readily visit some putrid European dump than actually learn their own history.

    Get some dignity, you degenerate self-loathers.

  92. For your interest.

    Some DATA (not only free and vague opinions): http://www.infoaliment.com/notasprensa/5/50602_1.htm

  93. More OFFICIAL (and international) info:

  94. And last, but no least, an intesting OFFICIAL and INTERNATIONAL web: http://www.integrationindex.eu/

    I’ve linked those directions because I think that are the only real data we can check out. The rest are just opinions and individual experiences that never represent the actual behaviour of spaniards about immigrants or foreigners.
    Some of the links are in spanish, but I hope you can read them anyway.


  95. Why would anyone want to bother with Spain??? We have had more than enough of Spain’s half-castes and culture in the Americas (USA included). Just turn on any Spanish language TV program (in USA) and you will see how slutty and crude their women look and act. The men aren’t much better with their Zorro-like attitudes! The Spanish may be racist to the South Americans but ironically it’s their own culture (and DNA) that they foisted upon these peoples. If these Latins are anything to go by, thanks but no thanks to Spain and her culture/language.

  96. Hi everyone, I live in Asturias and after reading all the comments I´d want to say something…

    Please, don´t judge our country based on this kind of aggressive opinions ( like the one before me ).

    I can´t speak for everyone here in Spain, but I can make a difference talking about me : I love meeting people from other countries, learning about other cultures and eating all kinds of exotic food from other places… and guess what? I´m 100% spanish and I´m not racist

    What I´m trying to say is that in this country you´ll find every kind of people that exists in the world, like in any other countries… please, don´t get us wrong if we talk in a way that offends you, we´re not trying to be unpolite or rude.

    Come here with an open mind, and we´ll do EVERYTHING for you to feel at home! ( and that´s the way most of the young spanish people feel )

    Cheers !

  97. Jeff, I would just like to say that I really enjoyed your article. This is exactly the type of astute discourse that must occur to facilitate a re-examination of normative social tendencies and their role in the continuous dialogue of culture. I am writing this as a foreign exchange student here in Toledo. While I have yet to see or be subjected to any racism in a way that is, in my estimation, intended to be hurtful; I have experienced numerous comments in passing that are on the surface playful, despite displaying a deep misunderstanding of the ways in which said comments are politicizing race. It is this ignorance that I to have struggled to categorize.

  98. I do believe that there is a lot of racism in Spain. I went to Spain with an open mind, just like I always do when I visit a new country. Spaniards are very (too) proud, however this has caused them to have no common knowledge of the world. I have lived there for a few months (twice) and you cannot have a conversation about what is going on in the rest of the world with Spanish people.They have no clue where other countries are and that they even exist. All they know is Spain and the Spanish language. Even the different dialect regions don’t speak they main Catalan language. I tried so hard to speak Spanish, I studied and no appreciation. If I pronounced something just slightly wrong, they don’t understand and stare at you. Proves that they don’t know the sound of any other language. I have gone to places where people never heard of a cappuccino (i.e.) Italy is your neighbor OMG.
    I have had people calling me bad names which I am not going to repeat. They love to stare at other people, felt very uncomfortable sometimes. Nope not for me… too clueless.

  99. I am Spanish and I don’t feel at all identified with your comment, Quin. I also have an open mind, and thanks to it I know I cannot judge an entire country because of the people I have met (especially on the Internet, where anybody from any country can read what you say). Reading what you have written, I think you visited very innapropiate places. You shouldn’t take for grant that all Spanish people would “call you bad names”. I would not. And I have never felt that people around me don’t know about what’s going o in the world. Also, I’m pretty sure most of us can tell if a country exists or not.
    Now, about the pronunciation, it is very difficult to tell if you are pronouncing something “sightly” wrong or absolutely wrong. Little differences can turn one word into another. I know this very well because I study English and, to me, the difference between “ship” and “sheep” is nearly impossible to tell. Same thing for “price” and “prize”, and a lot of words that may sound very different to you sound nearly the same to my spaniard ears. “Proves that they don’t know the sound of any other language”? Or maybe proves that you need to improve your pronunciation. Don’t take it bad. If English people don’t understand me when I speak, I blame it on me, not on them.
    We all know what a capuccino is. Maybe you didn’t pronounce it well, or maybe in (wherever you were) they call it different.
    If you have an opend mind, you must understand that there are cultural differences between countries. Here in Spain it is not unpolite to stare at people, and we are used not to take it bad.
    Now, about the main topic: racism. Well, again, you cannot judge an entire country. There is racism in every country. In Spain, I would say, there are a few people who can discriminate against you because of the colour of your skin, bust most of racism is cultural. A lot of people discriminate against black people because they are very different. Both black and white people tend not to mix, that’s true. Same for asian people. I know that’s not right and I would change that if it was up to me. But, it is a different situation whith black/asian people that share your culture (occidental culture). They don’t usually have any problem.

  100. As a black woman, After meeting some Spanish men in Mykonos. I’d have to say that they exemplified racial thought in Spain. I had the unfortunate experience of coming across six young Spanish men in my recent trip to Mykonos, Greece last week. They behaved in the very same overtly racist and lewd fashion that some may come to assume that the Spanish believe is appropriate behavior. At 4 a.m., they stumbled in drunk to the hostel where I was staying and hurled trash cans and rocks at my door while kicking and screaming like drunken fools. When I opened the door and asked them to quiet down, I was greeted with a giggling chorus of “negro de mierda” and “esclava”.

  101. to those who think UK is racist because of the BNP, well here you go. !

    Tienes razon, pero eso existe en regiones aisladas y es una respusta a una sociedad y cultura multicultural, la que no existe aqui de nada. Cuanta gente negra hay en espana? en Madrid? No se consideran espanoles. Eso es racismo insidioso. Cuantas razas, culturas y cocinas hay en Londres, Paris, Berlin? Infinitamente mas. Cuantas bromas racistas (especialmente sobre los ‘chinos’ – como se denominan todos los asiaticos aqui) hay en la television? españa, tu maldito queso manchego y tus gentuzas.

  102. AFter meeting so many black people I can honestly say that blacks are the most racist people of all. They simply do not want anyone else having their own heritage, color, race, etc . yet they segregate themselves in groups. by skin color and by race and say it is fine. Also they hate white people. It is more about non white people who are against white people and many in Spain are fair. There is definitely a double standard and this should not be. We are proud of our race and heritage and have the right to be so.

    • LOL. Dont talk like that. It’s not very respectful you know? I get along fine with white people. If non whites dont get along with whites I would not even exist.

    • I agree with Adriana don’t talk like that it is extremely disrespectful. it is not that “Black people hate whites” its the behavior whites tend to display even when one doesn’t fit into the negative stereotype. Being told you are a good black is just as offensive as being dismissed for being black. I agree with this article Spain does not know how to identify racism even when it smacks them in the face. Calling a person a “black piece of shit” isn’t anywhere close to calling someone fat. I’m Brazilian and racism is rampant here people just don’t want to talk about it or like Spain pretend it doesn’t exist.

  103. to the comment above me….

    AFter meeting so many black people… no one can take you serious after the opening line.

  104. Hi Jeff I spent a realllly long time reading this o.o Really interesting to me, Im 15 and I want to study in Spain. Actually not just me, my whole family might have to go there or to the Netherlands and i think they prefer Spain. (Dad’s business or whatever ). I got lots of questions.. but to start off, which areas are more open to, er, multiculturalism? I heard Barcelona isnt :/

  105. After all is said and done, let your money do the talking. Weighing everything that you’ve read here and doing your own research and maybe talking to friends or acquaintances who have visited Spain, decide for yourself. I myself tried to research this so called racist attitudes in Spain because I have female Asian-American friends who went to Barcelona for a visit and they encountered negative attitudes there. Guess what? During my research, I ended up reading this blog which confirmed the ugly attitudes and treatment that my friends encountered and described. BOYCOTT SPAIN until they attempt to address and confront these “ignorant” (yeah right) attitudes and they stop offering piss-ass rationalizations and excuses. Let’s see what it will do to their already faltering PIGS economy(oh gee was that offensive? I was just mentioning it because Spain does belong to that group of countries as coined by international bond analysts, academics and the international economic press doesn’t it? Ouch. It burns when you’re the object of the offense, verdad? Hope that they don’t riot there like they did in Greece while you’re there for a visit.

    • I’m replying to my post. LOL. BTW my Korean-American friends went to Paris too on the same trip prior to heading off to Barcelona, and had a blast there and didn’t encounter any bad attitude like what they experienced in Barcelona. They said that the locals were actually nice to them. Was that a collective GASP in the room that I heard?

  106. Hi everyone

    I spent a great deal of time reading through the comments. I am a British-Asian and recently holidayed in Spain with my family. We were quite a large group and I have to say that out of all the places in Europe that we have been to, the Spanish were the most unfriendly. NOt just that, we came across so many racist abuses and slurs. We got called Pakis many a times and even though I don’t really understand Spanish, it wasn’t hard to realise people were talking about us when they would be staring and laughing and shouting at us in Spanish. The amount of stares we got on public transport was beyond belief.I could not believe how stupid these people were because being tourists we were bringing money into their country and so helping their economy. And having supported Spain to win the world cup, I was just speechless!
    Ignorance is not an excuse for anything in the 21st century. It’s about time the Spaniards get rid of their filthy, ‘up themselves’ attitude and behave like civilized people.

    • And having supported Spain to win the world cup, I was just speechless!

      I supported the Dutch 😀

    • Hey Nickey ! Where did you go in Spain ? I’m French of East-Indian heritage and i plan to visit Madrid in a few months but i heard people were very racist there. I’ve been to Marbella in Andalucia and i didn’t have any really bad experience except people staring at me – which made me quite incomfortable since it’s considered really rude in France.

  107. Hola,

    Perdona, hablaré en español porque mi inglés es muy malo, espero Jeff que me entiendas. Me entristece leer todo esto y creo que se está dando una imagen muy sesgada de la realidad, no digo que no haya racismo que sí lo hay pero no creo que a un nivel mayor que en otros paises.

    Parece que os estais cebando únicamente en España, boicoteandola cuando se dan casos así en todo el mundo.

    A ver, cuento mi experiencia, soy de barcelona, mi madre es filipina y mi padre español y bueno, me considero española. Nunca me he sentido diferente por ser mestiza, todo el mundo me ha tratado bien, nunca me he sentido observada, quizás de pequeña porque mis rasgos eran más marcados algún niño me llamaba china pero simplemente por chinchar, ya sabes como son los niños, yo eso lo arreglaba llamándolo “gordo seboso” y asunto zanjado, jaja.

    Mis primas por ejemplo, sus rasgos son completamente asiaticos, y se sienten tambien españolas, sus novios son españoles, la gran mayoría de nuestros amigos son españoles, etc. Somos la segunda generación y nos sentimos perfectamente integradas. Ya te digo este es nuestro pais aunque filipinas tambien está en nuestro corazón.

    Eso que dicen por ahi que a los españoles no les gustan las asiaticas, eso es mentira y además es generalizar…, eso es una cuestion de gustos no de racismo.

    Casos de racismo se dan en todos sitios y no por eso se boicotea a un pais, eso tambien es racismo, juzgar a todo un pais por lo que hacen unos pocos, tambien se puede considerar una actitud muy ignorante, arrogante y en algunos casos hipócrita.

    Pongo un ejemplo, una amiga mía fue a estudiar inglés a un pueblo costero del sur de inglaterra, no recuerdo el nombre. Bien, pues mi amiga volvió horrorizada por el mal trato que daban a los españoles. Por lo visto entre los jóvenes del pueblo era práctica habitual, perseguir a los españoles para darles una paliza. Tanto es así que los españoles intentaban no quedarse sólos cuando salían a tomar algo. Supongo que se sentirían abrumados por la “avalancha” de españoles en verano que iban a estudiar inglés, pero vamos no es motivo suficiente. De echo se dio un caso, en que un estudiante español, murió en inglaterra por una paliza que le dieron, salió en las noticias aquí en españa, ya te digo que casi parecía un deporte perseguir al español.

    Curiosamente, de eso no habláis, pasáis de largo, cual tendría que ser mi actitud? tachar a todos los ingleses de racistas? abrir un blog y escribir acerca de lo racistas que son los ingleses? advertir a todos los españoles de no ir a Inglaterra si no quieren que les den una paliza? Boicotear todo lo ingles, diciendo que es odioso, que son todos unos ignorantes desgraciados, etc…?

    Bien, aunque sé que eso ha pasado, no por eso pienso que todos los ingleses son así, ni por eso no voy a ir a Inglaterra, que de hecho ya he estado, fui a Londres y a Southhampton y nos trataron muy bien, no tuve que salir corriendo de ningún sitio…

    Mira ejemplos hay muchos por ambos lados, si vamos a juzgar un pais entero por el comportamiento de unos pocos, entonces TODOS los paises son racistas no sólo España. Y si tenemos que revisar los respectivos bagajes históricos de cada país no creo que ninguno saliera bien parado.

    Siento leer posts de visitantes que se han sentido mal viniendo aqui, es una pena y desde aqui lo siento muchísimo. Sí que es verdad, no lo voy a negar, que desgraciadamente hay gente racista y maleducada, como en todas partes, pero ya te digo yo no lo he vivido y no creo que sea una afortunada excepción.

    Desde mi experiencia, creo que los emigrates son muy bien acogidos en este pais y que enseguida se integran y les hacen sentir como en casa. Y los españoles no tienen problemas en emparejarse con gente de fuera no importa el color y eso ha sido así desde siempre. Fijate que en Estados Unidos hasta hace nada, los años 60, aún había segregación y los blancos no se mezclaban con los negros.

    En fin, decirte que te has lucido, sólo apuntas el lado negativo, nos retratas en lo peor, consiguiendo asustar a la gente para que no venga a mi pais, les estas haciendo creer que somos todos unos ignorantes, intolerantes y racistas, estas dando una visión tergirversada.

    Bueno no me enrollo más, no sé que querías conseguir con tu articulo, pero creo que tendrías que ser más objetivo.

    Un saludo,


  108. Hey Jeff, great post. I have family members (Ecuadorian family, right now I live in NY) that have moved to Spain. From their experience, they’ve been looked down upon and called names due to their complexion or whatever else gives them away as South Americans.

    In my opinion, this is a question of mostly ignorance and not racism. Let’s look at sociology for example. In Nigeria, there’s been tribes that thought it was ok and healthy to perform female circumcision without knowing that there’s a high death rate by doing so. Many socialist groups ever since have traveled to African countries (in this case, Nigeria) to stop all this. The tribes (not all, but most) have been well educated and ceased to perform said operations. The reason I brought all of this up is because I believe (I know people aren’t bad, seriously, A WHOLE nation racist? Impossible) that although they ARE without a doubt racist, they are not aware of it. (I know many of you have stated this, but I’m just completely supporting your statements). They believe that it’s cool to call out names that others in different nations will find offensive, and this is pathetic due to their connection with all of Europe. They need a system to educate them about the world, their view on different races, how to act upon each race, and their internal affairs.

    The posts from many people in here have been quite disturbing as they’re feeding racism and not putting down the fire, specially from Spanish nationalists. If you guys even read any of the “smart” posts (disregard the ones putting down your country, that was not the point of this blog) you would see that this blog has a point. To the person called “Un Español” I believe, you made a terrible post there. You said that we are hypocrites and “los españoles hicieron una raza de mulatos y mestizos en mexico Colombia etc.Y ahora nos llaman racistas.” are you daft? Spanish conquistadors, just like the English, came to the “New world” for land, and wound up leaving with Gold and blood in their hands. Just how the English tortured Native Americans and killed them, The Spanish slaughtered and RAPED natives from Latin America. Read a book or something, the Spanish didn’t do them a favor, they tortured them. If I call your race inferior and decide to go to your house and rape your family and kill you in order to make a “superior” race, would that be acceptable to you, I mean it must be, otherwise your post would be hypocritical.

    Once again Jeff, great post. Hope you reply to this one.

  109. The best way to expose spain’s ignorance towards other cultures is to spread the word loudly in america and in great britain. I just returned from southern spain malaga/marbella then barcelona. i live in los angeles,ca. and have also lived in london/uk I have been to france and italy many times no problems love love love europe but it was my first time in spain. spain is a beautiful country with a rich history but many of its people seem to be 40yrs behind and have been taught ignorance towards other cultures and hate. I am a black/irish american lady. I was watching the alma awards the other night a hispanic/spanish award show that takes place every year here in L.A. Antonio Bandares won for best actor and in his speach he said that we are all hispanic(spanish people don’t concider themselves hispanic) and to my nephew who wants to be a actor sitting next to my wife love all cultures. The nephew was darker then him and if he becomes a actor he will most likely play mexican,cuban puerto rican roles like Antonio has played. I knew what he was trying to say. anyway I didn’t have a racial problem in spain i was on a cruise ship so i didn’t experience checking into a hotel. I didn’t see any professional black people their only africans selling there goods on the street. I didn’t feel a very warm vibe from the spanish either. many british expats are in marbella they were wonderful. I spoke a little spanish with the spaniards i came in contact with they seemed okay. Italy does not have many black people either but boy were they nice to me the three times i visited there and they seem to love america. Anyway spain has alot of growing up to do. i’m light skin and that is the only reason i didn’t have a hard time but the bad vibe was there you could cut it with a knife. Talk about this issue educate people about the good the bad and the ugly. I remember how spain acted at the biejing olympics. i saw the video of how the spanish football fans behaved towards england and french footballers ignorant ignorant ignorant.

  110. Very thought provoking. Are you still living / blogging in Madrid? I like what I´ve seen here so far!

    • @ saracita: thanks for reading. I’m always astonished when someone finds their way to this site. I just wrote this post on a whim when I was leaving Madrid (although I’d been processing it internally for a while), and can’t believe how many people have replied to it. I guess it still resonates (unfortunately), even years later. I left Madrid in 2006 and haven’t been back, but did spend a few subsequent months studying music in Buenos Aires, which I loved. From your site it seems like you’re enjoying your Fulbright experience. I noticed all your photos of clouds; some of the most indelible images I’ll always carry from my time in Spain are those amazing, heavy, creamlike clouds…

  111. Amnesty International releases its Video News Report about Racial Discrimination of Migrants in Spain. Please watch and share: http://www.youtube.com/user/AmnestyInternational?blend=3&ob=4#p/u/0/FYoV8r5IYmg

  112. It seems like your supposed racial superiority doesn´t quite lend itself for web design purposes, as your blog has the most annoying layout I´ve ever came across.

  113. I think that in general Spanish people are very friendly. They are also a nation of little mummy’s boys and pretty scared of any confronatation so if you are a big muscley black guy from London like me, you probably won’t hear anything, because they are too scared to say it. However, you must remember that Spain is not a 1st world country and pretty socially and politically backward. They are generally either ignorant or dismissive of other cultures. This is quite amusing really, when you consider that it was the Moors who civilised the country in the first place.

    However, if you are going on holiday, remember that there are a lot of very poor people there and they are great waiters, so sit back in the sun, throw some money at the locals and enjoy the service. Then go back to the first world.

  114. Hey, was just wondering if you ever check up on your blog and read comments?.. I just read your article and found it very interesting. I find it telling that some of the comments here attempting to defend Spain prove your point even more so than your article. There is a complete disconnect between the definition of racism in Spain versus the US, or a lot of other places for that matter. I’m wondering if you have since gone back, and what you think of the atmosphere now compared with 6 years ago? I met a guy in Spain who very angrily (and seriously) insisted that there is not even 1 racist person in the entire country. Literally. I’ve never met any Americans that would dare say that about their own country. Which is actually a pretty big deal, we take for granted. We at least recognize and admit a problem exists. There is no way to even begin to improve on something you are in complete denial about. Everytime I have seen the topic of racism in Spain be brought up, it has been met with nothing but belligerent denial, instead of sensitivity. They don’t want to improve. Spaniards who have never visited America have told me that the US is racist, but I’m unsure what they mean by that. What makes America racist, and Spain somehow not? I can tell you a lot of things I’ve seen in Spain that nobody gives a second thought, would either be illegal or headline news in the US. I was a teacher in Spain, and the things I would hear the Spanish teachers say everyday about Gypsies, Moroccans, Africans, Asians, Jews, immigrants, etc… They would’ve been fired in America. I don’t know about the official policy, but nobody even wanted to bother trying to teach certain groups of kids. One teacher even transferred schools because there were “too many” of a certain race at his old school. This was Infantil and Elementary school. I would love to know just one Spaniard who sees racism as a problem and actively wants to understand and educate themselves about it. Perhaps one day…

  115. hi there Jeff and any others…very interesting discussion, although I must confess I’ve only skimmed some of the posts (having got a little fed up with some people, some of whom appear to be Spanish, appearing to take offence on behalf of the entire Spanish nation given the fact that some people (generally non-Spaniards as best I can tell) have raised the issue that some Spanish give the impression of being racist…which, let´s be honest, seems like something at least worth discussing). It’s a thorny old issue…

    For context, and an attempt to clarify my own thoughts: I´m an English guy presently in Madrid for a bit with my Spanish partner, and I stumbled upon this blog whilst googling “los chinos racism spanish” as I just can´t quite get my head round the way the Spanish seem to call everyone Asian “chino”, and how highly educated Spanish people seem to think it’s perfectly normal to go to “un chino” when they describe going to a local cornerstore (even if it is indeed run by Chinese people). Maybe it just makes me uncomfortable being someone from the UK, as historically this reminds me of British people referring to “Paki shops” (and “paki” is a totally unacceptable term in the UK, comparable to “nigger” in US) but I’ve been told that “chino” is being used in a purely ‘descriptive’ way, whereas I´d argue Paki is/was clearly intended to be derogatory, at least to English-speaking ears (at least in the UK)

    I lived in Italy for a year a while back, and being here does remind me of that time in certain cultural ways. Am I being racist in connecting my time there, not least given that Spanish and Italian cultures share certain values? I don’t think so. Funnily enough, I felt at that time that a surprising number of Italians were “racist” in my opinion, especially towards people of African background (and the whole Balotelli thing, is an interesting example even if some Italians will claim they hate the man, rather than his colour). I haven’t been in Spain long enough to make an accurate comparison, whatever accurate might mean, but I’m not surprised to read about some of the negative experiences regrettably described above, even if quite a few of them are a few years old (do countries change quickly? probably not in this respect…though the UK could be considered far less racist – outwardly at least – than it was 30 years ago when I was a kid).

    I’m not sure what my point is, or even if there is one. Spain’s got a hell of a lot of problems, and in times of economic hardship immigrants are never going to be given the easiest of rides, let alone is multi-cultural integration and harmony especially likely to flourish. Then again, other people have explained how the crisis has brought a feeling of solidarity to many people, a sense of the little guys being screwed over…though whether all Spanish people would consider los chinos along with other immigrants to be within this social solidarity is an interesting point?

    well, it’s given me something to think about if nothing else. Sorry not to be able to come to a more definite conclusion…but thinking about it, the way the original post and subsequent comments has sprawled all over the place in the past 6 1/2 years seems sort of symbolic of the messy nature of the issue. Great post in the first place Jeff, by the way….

    • oops, having re-read this a few hours later, I should have written:

      I just can´t quite get my head round the way some Spaniards seem to call everyone Asian “chino” (rather than my rather sweeping generalisation about “the Spanish”). sorry…

  116. Hey Jeff & fellow readers

    Forgive me for starting a whole can of worms again but I happened to stumble upon this site when I was you tubing about soccer and one thing led to another and the rest is history.

    Anyways, as a fellow Asian who grew up in the western world and have travelled to Barcelona, Spain myself I felt compelled to share my own experience.
    Well there is only one word to describe it. The same word I described when I got back home and told my family and friends of my time in the country. Amazing. It is shocking and disturbing to read that majority of the ppl who have contributed to this blog have experienced some form of racism in Spain. It is also quite sad to read people are getting disheartened in visiting the beautiful country based on the posts here alone. I don’t k ow about you but prior to my travelling around Europe back in 2009 my race wasn’t a concern to me whatsoever as to how I would get treated. The thing at the forefront of my mind was being able to visit all the sites I was dying to see in a short amount of time as well as my own safety. To stress on safety – I’m speaking in terms of being pick pocketed or getting lost and losing money etc or getting blind drunk and ending up in Timbuktu lol. However, I haven’t been the recipient of racial abuse before hence it was never an issue to me. Sure I’ve gotten the odd ni hao here and there but in the 18yrs I’ve been in the country (down under) that has only happened twice and both times it came from the mouths of a young drunk hooligan.

    To get back to the point of my post. My experience in Barcelona was quite memorable actually. I really enjoyed myself there and it easily became my nightlife destination of choice after Amsterdam. (Only because I met a gorgeous French man in the former and I’ve always been a sucker for anything French and I definitely cannot resist a sexy French man xxx). We were welcomed (when I say we I was with a tour group so whilst it was predominately white there were a few Asians and Indians (for the purposes of this post I will separate the two). Bouncers and club managers alike kept ushering us to enter their clubs and we also got so many rounds of free drinks. At any given point we were also on the stage and bars shaking our asses off. On top of that I got hit on by so many Spanish men! At one point there was this bouncer who kept following me everywhere and just trying to dance and kiss me and speaking to me in Spanish! The experience while creepy was really laughable. The guys would dance with me, say something in Spanish and being the stupid non speaking Spanish tourist that I was I’d nod and smile and next thing you know they were shoving their tongues down my throat! At least they asked aye? Hehe

    There was this one time during the day where I got separated from my tour group and was hopelessly lost. I asked for directions and ppl didn’t hesitate in giving me directions. Whether they were the right ones as I couldn’t understand them is another story haha but in the end I found the right way. I should note that for all the times I have asked for directions or advice etc all while speaking in English the locals were all too accommodating. The only incident I really had was when a random lady just barged into me whilst I just walked along minding my own business. I thought she was a bitch but not once did racism cross my mind and my friends waved it off as a potential pick pocketer and told me to be very vigilant of my bag.

    I’m of a filipino background and i was never stared at perhaps because i was in a densely tourist populated area. A funny thing I came across was a chocolate cookie bar called ‘Filipino’. When my fellow filipino traveller and I saw it we bought it and tasted really sweet. Ironically we thought absolutely nothing of it no malice whatsoever and actually thought it really cool and funny but when I showed a pic of the bar to a cousin in Philippines she peculiarly stated how not only were we known as ‘maids’ but ‘chocolate’ too. I never really understood what she meant by that but it clearly didn’t sound at all positive!

    One thing I’ve noted whilst in Barcelona though was that all the restaurants we visited as in Spanish restaurants apparently were all being run by Indians. Just an observation I’ve made. It was a constant occurrence enough to be noted at the dinner table.

    In conclusion, the above was my experience in Barcelona. Whilst I was fortunate enough not to encounter any form of racism in the city I did sadly come across it in other parts of Europe in particular Austria and Germany. Whilst some might not consider it racism and take it as me being paranoid if it made me feel uncomfortable enough well Ill take that as a bit of slight disdain to my race.

    Whilst in Austria, I was walking along an empty vast lot heading over
    To macdonals when I came across two teenage boys. As soon as they passed me one of them hacked back spit and spat on the ground. Whilst it wasn’t directed at me it was enough to make me turn my head to them. It was just too weird of a coincidence that it occurred at the time that I was passing by. When I entered macdonals everyone was staring at me. It was the first time I had ever gotten stared at like that and it was so uncomfortable!

    Now in Germany, when I was in the toilet I just happen to hack back phlegm yes I agree it was disgusting but it needed to come out and I did it over the sink! Anyways a
    Lady told me that they didn’t do that in Germany. Also in Germany, I went into a Chinese restaurant to buy water and the Chinese owners who were very clearly Chinese completely ignored me! The irony! Lol

    So the aforementioned are the sort of ”racism” that I encountered during my European trip. Having said that the good far outweighed the bad and I would go back in a heartbeat.

  117. Oh in addition to the above, my cousin recently came back from studying Spanish in Spain – Madrid I think she stayed at and she had the time of her life and was actually considering moving there! And yes she’s 100% Asian

  118. You ought to take part in a contest for one of the greatest blogs on the net.
    I’m going to highly recommend this blog!

  119. […] Racism in Spain: A Case Study. | Equipaje de mano […]

  120. I lived in Spain for a bit. Half are extremely prejudiced and half aren’t. I think that any minority will have it bad because of Spain’s fear of integration. If Spain turned their back on everything they did in South America what makes you think anyone is excluded? A civil rights revolution needs to happen there before anything. Spaniads and Catalans don’t even get along. They have a long journey.

  121. I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should also visit this weblog on regular basis to
    obtain updated from most recent news update.

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