my experience as a black woman travelling Bulgaria. Also intended for black people living in Bulgaria.

Being a black person in Bulgaria – A black traveler’s experience

Before I get into what it’s like being a black person traveling in Bulgaria, I should let you know that this post is actually part of a series on my blog called Being a Black Traveler in Eastern Europe and Slavic Europe by Country.

That is why this summary of my experience as a black traveler in Bulgaria is not so long. So check out the whole  Eastern Europe post when you are done.

Disclaimer 1: I am a tall, thin, American girl who wears a lot of make-up and cute dresses. I am sure that being an “exotic” girl in the Slavic world contributes to my mostly positive experience, and a lot of my black female friends have had similar experiences. Although, being an “exotic” girl can often be exhausting and uncomfortable around immature people with little diverse life experiences, but for the most part, it is positive. So as you read my experiences, keep in mind that my gender and my nationality, I am sure, can sometimes play a part in how I am treated.

Disclaimer 2: Let me also say immediately, I have seen no racism in Eastern Europe towards myself or other black people I am friends with or simply know of–whether they’re light skinned, dark skinned, African expats or tourists,  or black expats or tourists from Western countries.

Racism particularly is a learned behavior passed down from generations of families in western countries where there are generations of black citizens to practice racism, discrimination and segregation on. Eastern Europeans haven’t had centuries to develop these institutionalized and social habits. So while of course, yes, you may hear the odd story or two of one bad apple being racially inappropriate…. Compared to the thousands and thousands of horrendous incidences, crimes, police brutalities, corruption and horror stories coming from USA and Britain–Eastern Europe is as harmless as a fly. Please remember that.

 Okay, so what is it like being a black girl traveling in Bulgaria?

In all the Balkan countries, I receive a lot of stares. But not as much in Bulgaria. I still got lots of stares, but in the other countries, it can be quite a long stare. In Bulgaria, people look and they get back to their life. In other countries, sometimes, it looks like people have seen a ghost.

My theory on why this could be is because there is a higher population of the Roma minority integrated in Bulgarian society compared to the other Balkan countries. And maybe white Bulgarians are more used to seeing other people that aren’t white all the time. Thus, they’re slightly more accustomed to diversity, even if it is diversity with just one minority group.  The Roma population in the other countries are not well integrated at all, which leads to people not often seeing people that do not look like them in bars, restaurants, etc. That’s just my theory to explain the subdued staring in Bulgaria. I could be reading way too much into things though.

Click here to go back to my series on being a black traveler in Eastern Europe and slavic countries. 

black person travel guideAre you a black woman interested in living in an Eastern European country, or any foreign country really, but worried about logistics such as getting your hair done, finding your favorite make-up products, culturally awkward dating, etc.? Check out my Black Girl Traveler Survival Guide if you are interested to know how I work around living in a country that doesn’t have all the comforts of home for black women.