Friday, December 02, 2005


Youth against Racism in Europe (YRE) and the Committee for Workers International (CWI) are holding a rally on Dec 3rd at the Polytechnic (Patission and Stournari Street) at 6pm. One of the speakers will be Timothy Abdul, one of the survivors of the racist shooting which happened here in Athens in 1999. The book about Timothy and Tommy was the inspiration for starting this blog. Today is International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

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At 12/02/2005 08:05:00 PM, Anonymous Light Skinned Sister said...

Hello Diva, I just arrived in Greece a few months ago. I love your blog! I am black, with a light complexion, as is my immediate family-without any white parent or grandparent. So far, Greeks tell me they think I am Italian or from South America. I have no trouble with this, but some will often say to me in a tone that suggests a compliment, "You don't look black," which I find insulting. Light or not, I am black, and resent any implication that I should be proud that I do not "look black." I usually respond, "Blacks are both light and dark, so I do look black." I'm not sure the Greeks who make these comments realize it is insulting, and sometimes I want to say, "You don't look Greek to me." Any suggestions on handling this?

At 12/02/2005 08:24:00 PM, Blogger deviousdiva said...

What a wonerful surprise to find your comment here today. Welcome, and I hope you will stick around and add your views. As one light skinned black girl to another, I completely understand your feelings on this question of who "looks black" or not. I feel exactly the same way. I have had to justify why I call myself black (I am mixed race) my entire life. What you wrote here is perfect. When you say, you "resent any implication that I should be proud that I do not "look black" I laughed out loud. Someone else who feels exactly as I do. I could not have said it better than that. I have got into many arguments with friends and others on all these issues. I always have to try and remember that Greece is relatively new to all this and people cannot be "educated" overnight. Having said that, the important thing is to keep talking, keep explaining, keep challenging and keep strong. Welcome aboard and thank you for your words.

At 12/03/2005 09:04:00 AM, Anonymous Light Skinned Sister said...

Thank you for the welcome! I appreciate your consul. Yesterday, the same thing happened to me again. The butcher near my house asked what nationality I was and I told him my background. Again, as I've heard in the past he said that I didn't look "black". I then told him, "Well, you don't look Greek to me, and thats because you look like one of my favorite uncles." He was suprised, no less!

At 12/03/2005 06:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Light Skinned Sister,

You should take with a pinch of salt the comments about not looking black. They do it with most foreigners, read back through SeaWitch's posts. One of her threads was about being told "well you don't look foreign, you look Greek" and having to explain that she's not ashamed of being foreign (she's Canadian BTW, something most people like to keep quiet but hey, each to their own).

PS: Welcome to Greece!

At 12/03/2005 06:28:00 PM, Blogger deviousdiva said...

Hey welcome back ellasdevil. Will we be seeing more of you these days?

At 12/04/2005 09:15:00 AM, Anonymous Light Skinned Sister said...

EllasDevil, I hope you really aren't a devil. Ha Ha. Thank you for welcoming me and Diva for the advice. I will enjoy visiting these blogs and posting my comments.

At 12/04/2005 11:03:00 AM, Blogger The SeaWitch said...

Hi there light skinned sister! I know exactly how you feel as Ellas said because I've received variations of the same comment myself. What bothers me more is what Greeks say in front of my son because he is dark-skinned and I'm white (to the point of glowing in the dark). They have assumed I'm his eastern european nanny. They have asked me in front of him if he's adopted. His Grade 1 teacher at school refused to release him to me when school got out because I didn't look like his mother. It was so bad at one point that my son truly believed he was adopted and I had to pull out pics of him when I was in the delivery room of the hospital to prove otherwise.

What if my son really WAS adopted and he didn't know it? Not to mention the fact that I really don't feel like having to confirm my son's biological relationship to me.

I don't think Greeks intend to be mean-spirited, it's just that a lot of them don't seem to have this filter in their heads to know what's tactless before they say things.

At 12/04/2005 11:28:00 AM, Blogger adfjkaj said...


Luckily my daughter is blond and blue eyed like me otherwise I can imagine a similar scenario.

But, regarding that filter you are talking about, even in America some are lacking that filter. Like asking my sister if she's pregnant when she's not (just overweight). Sometimes it's best not to assume if you are not 100% correct.

Do you agree?

At 12/04/2005 12:33:00 PM, Blogger The SeaWitch said...

I totally agree Scruffy. When in doubt, it's best to say nothing at all. But even though I know this little social rule doesn't mean I'm always successful in following it myself.

Last month, I visited a friend in the hospital and the woman next to her spoke english. The poor woman had just had a miscarriage and told me that she had no idea what the doctors had prescribed for her IV drip. I looked at it and said "Ringers Lactate. You must have lost a lot of blood then for them to give you that. It's a blood substitute." Stupid, stupid me. My friend told me later that the woman hadn't even seen her doctor 24 hours after her admission to the hospital and was upset that no one told her the state of her health and she had to hear from a stranger. I felt soooooo awful for having said anything. I think we've all been guilty of speaking before we think at some time or other.


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