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

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

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

So check out the whole Eastern Europe series 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 Macedonia?

Macedonia is the only country where I have been pulled off the bus multiple times and interrogated by one border officer in particular.  Despite that, I LOVE  Macedonia! It’s probably one of my top five  favorite countries in the world. 

I think the reason I got pulled off the bus by this one guard in particular, on TWO SEPARATE OCCASIONS, is because I think he just took a personal interest in “different-looking” females, if you know what I mean. The second time I got pulled off the bus, the officer told me it was because it was “strange” that I keep traveling to Macedonia and that I like the Balkans so much. That was the dumbest thing I had ever heard because it was only my second time in Macedonia in two years. I’m not going there every weekend. 

There were other foreigners on the bus as well, including a male Japanese tourist. So why single me out, on two occasions as the strangest of all the strange strangers who care about Macedonia? Why? Because it was sexual profiling. Let’s call a spade a spade. 

The reason I will go to the extreme of calling it that is because again, this happened twice. The second time, his colleague was just laughing the whole time the officer who pulled me off the bus was talking to me. It was all very unprofessional and too casual. I could see his colleague thought it was funny, pointless and silly, you know, kind of like when some guy is awkwardly trying to talk to you at a bar and his friends are laughing at how bad his chat is. That’s what it felt like to me because his colleague just kept laughing and taking nothing seriously. So I think it was moreso that this officer guy was bored at work and wanted to spice up his day by talking to the black girl on the bus with long hair and a mini dress. So I’m not so offended by it because I understand the psychology behind his behavior, however, it’s still annoying and unprofessional. 

But again, I love Macedonia so much. I lost my Eastern Europe virginity to Macedonia. So I have a strong reverence for the country like no other. I have spent a cumulative 2.5 weeks in Macedonia if I combine all my travels there, and really, the border dude is the only negative experience. 

Like all the Balkan countries, I noticed that a lot of people were staring at me. As this was the first country I traveled to in Eastern Europe, it was a strange feeling at first. But after a few days, I got numb to it. 

As much as I love love love Macedonia, it, as well as Kosovo and Croatia, are the places where I have experienced the strangest behaviors from randoms. One day I was walking through the city center in Skopje, and a man caught up to me as I was walking down the street to ask me if he could suck my toes. He  said he loves feet and that he always wanted to suck a black girl’s toes. I honestly thought that was funny. I didn’t feel in danger. There were a lot of people around, but it was certainly strange. And the other creepy moment was something that’s just not even worth repeating! 

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.