54 thoughts

  1. This does seem like a bit of an overreaction to what seems like a very small incident. Yes the woman was wrong and rude but that was it. Not sure it was worth an essay about race when it was simply two rude people being rude.
    Sorry if that seems harsh but it is definitely true.

    1. Charmine, this is my blog, where I write essays about the things that happen to me. Big, small and all the things in-between. If you don’t like what I write about, feel free not to read my blog. What’s true for you is not always true for others. In my experience, it was about race, nationality, and stereotypes. WAY more than two people just being rude.

    2. Charmine, there were multiple instances in this story that pointed directly to issues of race and country of origin that you missed.

      Not only was the woman was wrong and rude, but what she did was ILLEGAL, so to say “that was it” is incredibly dismissive of you and sort of already points to your overall attitude when reading this. But never mind that, would this White woman have assaulted another White woman if in the same situation?

      The answer is we don’t know. We don’t know if she did it because Annette was Black, Fat, or Other. However, the comments from the White man clearly indicated multiple stereotypes, the first being him coming up to us, WOC, rather than the White woman who actually hit us. This indicated that he felt some sort of power of us, rather than confronting the White assailant head on.

      If we were the ones to have hit this older White woman, do you think this White man would have come up to the White woman and asked why she was angry? Or would he have come up to us, the ones who hit her?

      The second indicator that this was about race was that he mentioned that he thinks Annette just wants to be angry. Does anyone want to be angry? Or was he pulling on stereotypes he’s seen in the media on “angry Black women”? Why did he not ask the White woman why she was angry enough to hit someone, unless he again, felt some sort of superiority over Annette and I?

      The third and most obvious sign that this has to do with country of origin was his blatant asking if we were American. When you’re angry, does anyone ask you where you’re from? Let’s say you got slapped and you told the assailant not to do that again. How odd is it for someone to ask you what country you’re from? Instead of, “are you, OK?” or “Can I help you?”

      Fourthly, this comment isn’t for you because you clearly are oblivious to POC issues and won’t ever get it and I’m not trying to waste my emotional labor on you. This comment is for others reading this blog who may not get it. Here it is explicitly stated, so don’t make stupid comments like the one above.

      These experiences are OBVIOUS to the average POC who experiences these things in their daily lives. So just because you don’t experience it, doesn’t mean you don’t need to listen when someone is telling you where attitudes towards people of color stem from.

      1. I totally appreciate what you’re saying. And I didn’t suggest I wasn’t paying attention to the experience. I’m absolutely familiar with this sort of treatment at home and especially while travelling. I actually think the situation was dealt with in the best possible way but I do think the title of the blog is somewhat sensationalist and some of the points made are drawing a few quick conclusions. That’s all. I’m not saying it’s OK to assault someone, ever. But I do disagree with the quick conclusions that have been drawn about the people being racist because you’re a person of colour.
        But I do appreciate your point and I obviously read the blog because I have a particular interest in experiences while travelling.

        Also the blog is shared and open to comment so I absolutely appreciate the points made and respect the different points of view shared.

        1. Charmine. Nothing I wrote was a quick conclusion. This happened a month ago. I’ve had plenty of time to think this situation over. To see the many different sides to it. It bothers me that something can’t be called a racist act unless a slur was used. There are many times as a POC that you can FEEL racist undertones. Somethings can be said, even when they are unsaid. As Kiona pointed out, this man felt it was ok for him to reprimand me for being upset after I was physically assaulted. I did not say attacked, I said assault. I was punched in the back because someone decided to stand behind me and now, I was in their way. That is assault. So I don’t know where the “sensationalist” angle you’re talking about is coming from. If you look up the word assault, it means to hit, strike or punch.So I don’t see your point. Also, as Kiona pointed out, the White Woman assaulted me, yet when the man found out, his immediate response was “Why did she do that?” Not “Are you ok” or “I’m sorry that happened to you”. His response made it clear that he was blaming me for being attacked like I must have done something to deserve being hit. For him to tell me that I “want an excuse to be angry” after knowing that I was just assaulted…how does that not play into the Angry Black Woman stereotype? Please explain that to me. Because if I punched him for what he said to me, I would bet you $100 that he would be angry that I hit him. Bottom line, you are being very dismissive of my experience, probably because you are biased on the situation for personal reasons. As I said in the post, I never like to write about these types of things because I want to encourage as many people and POC to travel as possible. But it needed to be shared. I did not sensationalize or dramatize a single second of this exchange. It’s easy for you as an outsider to judge and to say what happened and what didn’t, but you were not there. It did not happen to you. And for you to belittle my experience is frustrating, but as you said. My blog is public and open to comment. Just know that you are wrong. All of your observations are wrong and I can see your bias.

          Also, I mentioned that NOT all people are racist that the two idiots that I dealt with were biased, prejudiced and xenophobic and yes, there were some racists undertones. However, I said that after that drama cooled down that there were Asian Tourists who lined up to take photos of me. Many POC see this as a form of racism. As white skin is openly praised in Asia. I however disagree and encourage people to try to be understanding that in most Asian Countries there is not a lot of interaction with Black People. So for you to draw the conclusion that I think people are racists because I’m a POC…it just doesn’t make sense because I said the complete opposite. Still, the interaction I had with the two European people, that was a different story and honestly, your opinion on it doesn’t matter, because you weren’t there. I just wanted to share my story with people who were open to listening.

          1. Again I totally appreciate your point and of course everyone is biased based on personal experience and background.

            I think it’s good to write about the experience as you have so that people can get a point of view on the place and whether or not it’s safe to travel or not.
            I was recently asked to take photos with strangers while travelling in Central America and I did refuse for the reasons you noted above. I don’t care to be considered some sort of public attraction. But I expect everyone would approach the situation differently. Like I said in another response I thought you acted totally appropriately in the situation you described.
            It’s cool to have a difference of opinion on situations and like you said it’s nothing to you, which is good.

            One comment or differing point of view from someone who was not there is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
            And your views along with others helps people get a good picture of a place before travelling.

    3. Charmine, I don’t know how you were raised but it us never okay to put your hands on anyone! The European woman was behaving boorish and demonstrating her lack of upbringing, her lack of manners and her straight ignorance. She could have said pardon me , scusa, perdone mi. Honestly, she needed to have the taste slapped out her mouth. She would be less apt to hit or push after that. She would not have done that to a fellow Caucasian European. The writer of this piece was not rude, she responded to the vitriol she was given

      1. I don’t think I said the writer was rude. I was referring to the aggressive man and the woman that pushed her.
        I think the blogger dealt with the situation incredibly well and thankfully didn’t slap anyone because I’m certain as a POC the situation would’ve been a lot worse for her.
        My comment was more about the conclusions drawn about racism based on skin colour. But as she mentions in one of the follow up comments “felt it” was. I can’t argue with that, and she’s right, not all racist sactions are overt.

        It’s good to have a dialogue.

    4. Charmine it’s funny that you feel she iverreacted because I feel she under-reacted. I would hace taken a step back and karate kicked tf out of that lady, no questions asked. Then I would have Bruce Leroy super kicked tf out of the guy that apprached afterwards. Lmaooo she handled it with grace and I’m grateful she wrote an article about it. This article just saved me from a foreign jail cell. #WhenTheyGoLowAnnetteGoesHigh

      1. Lol @Jerri. I am still stuck at the Bruce Leroy super kick… As for you @Annette, you handled the entire drama with class. I lived in Myanmar for 2.5 years. I feel you.

        1. Thanks Eva! It was a struggle, but we all got through it! Without making an appearance on Locked Up Abroad! LOL!

  2. First off…GREAT read! And good for you for
    1. Addressing the nonsense
    2. Pursuing restoration
    3. Contextualizing the nonsense to the daft observer turn condescending commentator
    4. Being DOPE and flushing the nonsense down the drain and maxing out on your holiday

    1. Thanks for your comment Chris! It’s important to me to keep living my life. No matter what the haters and bigots think or do. If I let their actions ruin my day or my trip, then they’ve won. Travel ain’t cheap and I don’t have the time for that! LOL!

  3. I would have addressed it as well. You don’t purposefully hit someone and expect to get away from it. I look at this article more from a xenophobic standpoint (when it comes to the man) than a racist one. English people needed to reminded they no longer rule the world and I think that posh attitude the woman had you humbled her a little bit. Good for you.

    1. Terri I agree that he was xenophobic. But the lady that hit me, the way she shooed me away afterword…there was some racial prejudice and undertones for sure. And that is something that’s hard to explain in words. It’s almost like unless they are calling you a racial slur you can’t prove it…but I was there, I felt it. They way she hit me, unapologetically and then almost had an attitude when I called her out on it and just shooed me away like, get out of here, leave me. It was SOMETHING ELSE…

  4. Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirl I know she didn’t put her hands on you. Woo that just made me so mad. Glad you were able to move on and enjoy the rest of your trip.

    1. I feel you Nina! Above all, I was shocked. But I just let it pass, got myself together and carried on. After I told them both about themselves! LOL

  5. It makes me wonder if the woman that touched you even spoke english. It may have been her unverbal (albeit) wrong way of getting your attention as u say u were backing up. Regardless seems like the whole situation got completely out of hand.

    1. Viv, she totally spoke English. She spoke to me eventually to apologize. I was backing up, but she intentionally stood behind me. I was the first person there taking the photo. There were no other people when I started shooting. As a traveler and photographer, if I stand behind someone and I can see them but they can’t see me if they back up I move. It is never ok to put your hands on someone. Nonverbal communication my butt, she could’ve easily said “excuse me, I’m behind you” if she thought I was going to bump into her. But she chose to hit me.

      1. Hey Annette, interesting read! I travel a lot too, and love interacting with our own tourists in SF. The universal language of traveling, using signs/gestures/broken sentences in a foreign language is probably my favorite part of it all…reading this I’m imagining myself in this situation, if someone had wanted you to get out of their way, there could have been 100 other ways for the message to have come across nicely. She could have asked you to move, or said ‘excuse me’ in her native tongue or whatever language she speaks. Broken English, German, Portuguese or whatever the case, you, being the savvy traveler you are, would have taken a realistic ‘nonverbal cue’ (not a hit), like interpreting a number of widely understood ways of gesturing to someone, or giving you a (gentle!) tap on the shoulder and signal to her camera to tell you, she’d like to get a pic too before the moment passed/let you know she’s behind you….. There are so many other ways to interact with others, and placing your hands on someone should be the last resort, always! So I say shame on this woman for thinking it’s ok to treat you this way…then pretend to ignore you, and shame on that man for trying to provoke you afterwards.
        No one can speak to your experience except you, feel validated in calling it like it is…racist, (I thought the man sounded sexist) and xenophobic! I’m sorry that happened to you, great comeback though, choosing to take the high road, then turning into a little celebrity afterwards 😉

        1. LOL! Thanks, Gina. Yeah, it was such a trip that he decided to approach us afterward for our volume and even after we explained the situation, he just couldn’t let it go. For a slight second, I thought that explaining the situation to him would garner a bit of understanding. But he just needed to find a way to make everything my fault.

  6. That is unbelievable! I’m glad you confronted her, there’s no way she should have gotten away with that. Can’t believe that guy after. The nerve of some people. And his comment was disgusting. I hate when people try to insult people to their face thinking it’s okay because they’re American. I saw that a lot in Europe, and even though a lot of people did it jokingly it got old and I wondered how they’d feel if I threw back the same insult with their nationality.

    1. Thanks, Francesca! Yeah, I’m sure they wouldn’t like it if the tables were turned. But I try really hard not to sink to that level, cause that’s just not me. I don’t like that they did it, cause I wouldn’t do it. So I don’t wanna have any excuses to take it that low. Thanks for your comment. It’s as if being Black didn’t make us a target, being American does.

  7. Girl you did great! I’m sorry that happened to you, but you handled it well. I’m glad to know a strong and brilliant mind like yours. Miss you girly

  8. I loved the article. As you grow you learn you can stand up for yourself without being physical. You let them both know that you are not having it. Love you

    1. Thank you, Cousin!! Love you more! It’s so nice when my family reads my blog and can get a glimpse of my life while I’m away. Thank you for taking the time. <3

  9. I love love love how you handled that because it for sure couldve went all the way left! They might’ve been expecting a particular reaction out of you, but nope you flipped it and got your Beyoncé shine in return! Just found your blog from Facebook and I’m following!

    1. Thanks for your comment and for following Anayo! It took a bit of restraint not to act a complete fool. But I just tried to keep my cool. I didn’t swear or anything because we were at a temple.

  10. Honestly, when I first read the title, I thought a local assaulted you in Myanmar. I was really surprised, having travelled extensively in southeast Asia, and knowing people there are probably the most open-minded and the least racists in the world (apart Singapore).

    But I got it after the first few paragraphs. You had a good reaction, towards that little bitch and the fuckin moron! You really handled it the good way, I don’t know how I would have reacted!

    Great and entertaining read 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Rooben. I generally don’t have any issues with the locals when I travel. The other tourists are usually the issue. In this case, it was two European people. I’m happy you enjoyed this post. I do still encourage everyone to travel. Myanmar was lovely.

  11. This story and the first comment made me upset. What was obvious was that what happened to you was a physical, racial microagression. If race was not a factor, the most used response for “interrupting” someone’s shot is (1) “excuse me,” or (2) not saying anything and waiting until the person leaves the shot. For the guy to then approach with his own assumptions says it all— I’m curious as to whether the two of them were together. Needless to say, I applaud how you handle the situation— my response would have been a lot more hostile 😬. Probably would’ve hit her on the back and shoo her away since I was there first 🤷🏾‍♀️ (And if guy came over with any nonsense, if he had an accent— e.g. British— I would’ve said: “no wonder you sympathize with the white assailant colonizer”)

    1. Tamanisha, in the moment, it was pretty obvious to me that the man approached us because we were WOC. He didn’t say anything to the other White woman and she just walked off without incident. But it felt like he thought he was putting us “in our place”. Which was the most frustrating thing about the entire situation because he literally had nothing to do with anything. He decided to inject himself into the drama because he felt some sort of superiority over us.

  12. I honestly don’t know how I would have reacted if I were in your situation, but I do know that you handled things beautifully. I’m very sorry you had to deal with that. Also, thank you for sharing this story. It’s extremely important to increase awareness about how prejudice can rear its ugly head while while traveling abroad. Way to turn a really messed up situation into a teaching moment with a very positive ending.

    1. Thanks, Buppie! I never thought that I would be put in that situation and looking back on it. I know that I was very aware not so swear at either of them, even though I wanted to cuss them out. I’m too afraid to be locked up abroad to even consider retaliation. But that is one of the most disappointing things because as POC we have to consider that if we respond to someone, in the same way, they responded to us, the likelihood of the repercussions being equal are slim to none. Because trust, if I’d hit that lady back I wouldn’t be able to tell this story from my comfortable bed in Bangkok. I’d be in jail somewhere.

  13. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I think you handled it beautifully. This lady is so lucky to have assaulted someone with so much kindbess and grace — anyother person would’ve kindly slammed the camera in her face. Proud of you! Keep doing your thing. I love reading your articles ❤️.

      1. Thanks so much Gabby! It did take some restraint to not go Old School Davidson on her ass. But I mostly didn’t want to end up on Locked Up Abroad. Love you and thank you for your support boo! <3

  14. Several years ago I was in Paris for New Years when I started to be followed by some guys, I tried to loose them in the crowd but they caught up to me and started grabbing me. I ended up turning around and pushing the guy as hard as I could away from me and yelled to leave me alone. To which everyone in the crowd seemed upset with me, and one man even told me to stop “making a scene”.

    Being told not to “raise your voice” or “stop making a scene” after something aweful happens to you is so reprehensible and makes my blood boil. That man had no right to say that to you, but you handled yourself and the situation well. Keep shining your light out there and putting out the positive vibes.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Natalie. I’m sorry that happened to you. Yeah, sometimes people can be so dense and judgemental. They forget to try to put themselves in someone else’s shoes for a second.

  15. Hi Annette. Thanks for sharing this experience. It sounds like it ruined a peaceful moment and experience. There is no excuse for anyone pushing others out of the way – rude and not required. I am glad you had a friend with you who could support you!

    1. Thanks so much Cath. I was happy to have support. It was a difficult moment, but we pushed through, as we do!

  16. OMG First off, I’m so sorry this happened to you. Secondly… HOLY HELL SOME OF THESE COMMENTS ARE SO DAMN IGNORANT!!! Silly me for thinking as I scrolled through the comments on such an open, vulnerable post about something so personal and awful that all I would see would be support. Shows how little I know… Thank you so much for sharing this because you probably knew you’d not only have to defend yourself to both that woman and man but also to a bunch of commentating trolls too.
    As a fellow travel blogger it pains me to see posts like this but it’s even worse to see commentators doing exactly what the dumb white man did by blaming the victim of an assault or even going so far as to say, ‘it’s not a big deal’. So disgusting. Ugh I don’t know what else to say except, I’m so sorry this happened, so sorry people are trying to silence you, but so amazed that you were able to put a positive spin on it in the end with all your paparazzi and also to publish this. Ugh. Sending you love ❤️

    1. Thanks so much April! You know how it is! Haters gone hate! LOL! That’s the thing when we make ourselves vulnerable as writers some of the responses will be positive and others, not so much! It feels good to have support from other bloggers who know how difficult it can be to share these experiences. Thanks for your comment!

  17. Girl I’m so sorry. One of my closest friends from back home is African-American and she talks of moving overseas from time to time. She always says “I just want to live somewhere where being black is normal.” I get her perspective. I think she just doesn’t want to feel like a show all the time. But I love how you welcome people wanting pictures with you as an opportunity to connect and show them who you are. That’s also beautiful. That woman sounds absolutely awful. That man blaming you is also awful. But you kept it together and didn’t let it ruin your time with your blogger friend. That’s the real win. You can’t change how the world will treat you but you can control your reactions to it.

  18. I am so late to the party for this one and I am so sorry I am because this same thing happened to me in Cuba. I was standing with a couple of friends watching a lady dance to music, when we were lucky enough to get a table at this restaurant. My friend crosses in front of this lady when the lady pushed her. I saw my friend turn around which confirmed she was touched, but she didn’t know what happened. I ran after the lady to tell her not to put her hands on people, and that it was not ok. The lady responded with, “Well she walked in front of my camera.” She then pushed me to show me what she did to my friend, which I then had to explain once again that she needed to keep her hands to herself when her husband came flying over with his finger pointed out and screaming at me. I put my hands up to block his face as I continued to school his wife as he kept screaming. He then takes his elbow and nudges me, in which I took my elbow and nudged him back, and that’s when he told me he was calling the cops on me……..how ironic and how confused I was. I explained that he really should call the cops because their party was in the wrong. After I said that he became so enraged and his response was ****drum rollllllll******, “You f’n n****. Out of all places I got called a n***** in Cuba……smh!!!!!

  19. I’m so sorry that happened to you! If I was in the same situation, I honestly have no idea how I would handle it, but I think you did a great job of sticking up for yourself. It blows my mind that not only people think it’s okay to put their hands on others, but that a person outside the situation decided to insert themselves essentially defending the other woman’s actions. Like what? How does that make any sense?? It doesn’t.

    Once when I was in Sweden, I was on a boat tour and there was a group from Asia there as well. A few of them politely asked to get a picture with me and I didn’t mind. Like you said, I understand it was from a place of curiosity. I definitely stood out in Sweden, and I might have been the first black person they’ve ever seen. On the other hand, when I was in Hong Kong, I was sitting behind an Asian couple and they kept trying to take selfies. Instead of pressing together like most couples or friends do when taking a selfie, they actually spread apart and I could see they were trying to include me in their picture. That rubbed me the wrong way, and I felt disrespected. I gave them the benefit of doubt at first, by just lifting my bag in front of my face anytime their phone went up. Then I realized their phone always went back up when my bag came down.

    Thank you for sharing your experience!

  20. I can’t believe that woman had the nerve to hit you like that – what planet is she from – she sound like a flippin’ psycho. Well done for standing your ground – and for not letting it ruin your overall experience – that couldn’t have been easy Annette, but I guess any tree can produce a bad apple!!

  21. Dear Annette, Thank you for sharing this. As a short brown African (3rd generation African of South Asian origin) man who happens to be gay, based in HongKong, I get this. I can’t say I have not met with racism from East Asians – I have, but I also have met with racism from the white “Expat” community. Sometimes its comical like when I wore a Hawaiian shirt to a Tiki bar and people kept waving their hands at me – so I waved back – until they asked me to serve them – then I said “Nice to meet you people I am not the waiter”. Other times it was just rudeness, especially at the clubs and societies of Hong Kong. This place still has to decolonise and that means Hong Kongers also need to see other people of colour as equals and not lower then Whites. Husband is a big white guy that gets a morning wave from our apartment gateman, in four years even with me greeting the man in Cantonese – I barely get a wave and never a reply. Shops too, I have been followed about, while my husband was free to roam the shelves. Than that occasion on the MTR (subway) where women especially middle-aged ones come toward the vacant seat, then see I am not Chinese and back off. – I turn that against them by offering my seat to an old person and then I stare at those woman who had avoided me. Loss of face is a bug thing here so I make use of it.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience Cliff. It’s really annoying and disheartening to hear in all honesty, but I’m hopeful that us being more vocal about it will help make a change.

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