Racism in Southern Spain? (Seville, Granada, Cadiz)
Posted: 10 January 2013 06:55 AM  
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Hello all:

I was wondering if anyone had any insight on racism in Southern Spain? I am a black-american very much interested in traveling to Spain in the summer for 1-2 months. My friend who will be going also plans to stay for about 3 months. My friend is half black and in Spain would probably pass as Moroccan. I am visibly much darker. I’m not new to traveling, lived in Buenos Aires for a bit and loved it and Brazil.

My question is how would black/mixed people be accepted in the smaller cities of southern spain?? Maybe I should be more specific. I have no problem with people staring or gawking—what concerns me is the more insidious side of racism (that I’ve unfortunately experienced in other countries), ie being denied entrance to certain bars/clubs etc, based on the color of my skin. People warned me of racism in Buenos Aires, but the racism is targeted at immigrants that look stereotypically Bolivian/paraguayan or “brown”. Since there were so few blacks, I never had any issue—it was more that I was “exotic”.

So I’m wondering has any person of color experienced anything negative or racist in Cadiz/Granada/Seville?? I’m especially attracted to Cadiz and Granada but concerned with it being a smaller city and less exposure to different people.

2nd part of the question. Is Southern Spain considerably cheaper than Barcelona and Madrid?

Insight much appreciated!

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Posted: 10 January 2013 03:33 PM  
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Hi…
Speaking only for Granada I would say that racism really isnt that much of a problem. It is highly unlikely that bars / clubs / restaurants would bar one solely on the colour of one skin.
There are many black or dark skinned people in Granada mainly from Somalia and their slightly lighter skinned brethren from Morocco, Cueta and Melilla. Granada is a University city and has people from all walks of life and all nations both resident and visitors. In the current economical situation here throughout Spain, your money is every bit as good as anyone elses.

Yes you will probably be stared at, but do not take this as an offensive attitude, the Spanish and Andalucians stare fixedly at anyone they don’t know; hell they even do it to fellow Spaniards. As should any visitor, just try to keep a low profile, and don’t adopt the sometimes loud, ‘proud to be an American’ attitude and you will be just fine.

Also don’t forget, or maybe you didn’t know, that the US have two huge military bases in Andalucia at Rota near Cadiz and Moron de la Frontier near Sevilla; black skinned people are quite common in both these cities as a result.

Granada and Sevilla can be incredibly hot during the summer months with temps regularly above 40C / 100F. Mixed with sometimes high humidity it can be very oppressive at times.

In answer to the second part of your query, yes Southern Spain is cheaper than Barca or Madrid.

Have fun…

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Posted: 10 January 2013 09:08 PM  
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Just out of interest, heres a link to the current state of play at Rota, Cadiz.

http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/01/06/inenglish/1357475959_823002.html

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Posted: 12 January 2013 03:18 AM  
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Thank you so much for the response. I actually found a blog which I was going to link. It discusses the very same question I asked, and the comments section from fellow folks of African descent was pretty informative.

In a nutshell I’m no longer afraid of the racism in Spain. From what I’ve gathered it’s there, but it’s really hit and miss for folks of African descent. The best advice I got was, “You just have to go and see for yourself”. I’m going to go with an open mind and hopefully people accept me in the same way. If not…whatever!

Oh and I decided on Alicante (or so I think). Now I just need to find some type of housing.

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Posted: 12 January 2013 10:23 PM  
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Couple of points…

1) Regarding racism… Granada, Seville and Cadiz are all metropolitan and cosmopolitan in nature and as such you are far less likely to encounter racism per se.
Alicante however is during the Summer, overrun with Brits, Germans and Dutch all with their own specific enclaves. Alicante is seen by many Brits and other Europeans as a tourist resort and sees many holidaymakers, indeed the same could be said for the whole of the Costa Blanca. It follows therefore that when tourists arrive from other European countries they bring with them their own cultures that can indeed have strong racial undercurrents.
I note that you have raised another thread concerning the high cost of accommodation in Alicante and indeed the difficulty of finding such during the summer months. This is purely and simply a case of supply and demand and landlords charging whatever the market will bear. Accommodation in Granada, Cadiz and Seville is pretty constant year round and a lot cheaper than Alicante and the Costa Brava…

2) Why Alicante? Its as different as Chalk and Cheese from your original three choices of Granada, Cadiz and Seville… and at the opposite end of the country. From Cadiz to Alicante is 750Kms via the shortest route and from Granada to Alicante is 360Kms. If you planned on using Alicante as a base and visiting any of the aforementioned Cities you will have a lot of long train trips to do and just for the record a California Drivers Licence is NOT valid for use in Spain so car hire is a non-starter.

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Posted: 13 January 2013 04:02 AM  
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Hi thanks for responding. Initially I was actually interested in Cadiz and M├ílaga….and then later on found out about Alicante. Seville and Granada I had initial interest, but when I found out they’re pretty damn hot in the summer along with them being inland, I opted for a beach city. I’m from LA, so being near the water is something that I’m familiar and comfortable with. Also I’m African-American and I found a video on youtube that was rather unsettling regarding the racial tensions between African immigrants and Spaniards in the city. I’m just not trying to deal with that kind of nonsense for a month.

That said, from my research I assumed that Alicante, in the Alicante province was NOT a tourist trap and not overrun with Brits, like Benidorm and other cities in the province of the same name. Is that not correct? I was told that I would be hard pressed to find english speakers in Alicante, even in the summer. Benidorm on the other hand is a completely different story. I was also told that housing there was more affordable than in other cities in the Alicante province.

Money is obviously a factor so if Cadiz is more affordable I would definitely opt for that city. I noticed that Portugal isn’t too far away and I speak Portuguese (the brazilian variety), so I wouldn’t mind checking out Portugal.  I had just picked Alicante over Cadiz simply because it was slightly bigger. But that’s not too important. What do you think of Cadiz? Would I be able to find affordable housing/rooms even in the summer? I know that a lot of Spaniards holiday in Cadiz during the summer, so I’m wondering if I would run into the same problem. Thanks for your input.

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Posted: 13 January 2013 04:06 AM  
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Here’s the link I was talking about for those interested.

http://afroeurope.blogspot.com/2010/01/black-people-in-spain.html

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Posted: 13 January 2013 02:52 PM  
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Exxtol… p.m. sent.

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Posted: 13 January 2013 08:40 PM  
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My 2 cents:
Stay in Seville or Granada. It’s on the AVE lines and much more central. You could say the same for Granada as well as far as being central, and as foxbat mentioned has a more consistent tourist trade throughout the year but more culture (especially Seville), slightly cheaper, etc. The Sierras are beautiful as well (Granada).

Also, indeed your California license will work just fine for renting a car, no worries up to 12 months in the EU before you have to get a local license (and even then no one checks of course).

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Posted: 15 January 2013 10:22 PM  
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hey thanks all for the input! I actually found a website that is really helpful for shared apartments : http://www.milanuncios. On this site I’m finding shared apartments (rooms) in my price range for all cities I’m interested in! So that’s a relief. Thanks again.

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Posted: 17 January 2013 12:25 AM  
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Hello L.A.,

can give you more info on Cadiz as we own a place there, if you are serious about your plans please p.m. me with any questions.  It’s very economical to rent there outside of the summer months (July, August & half of September) when many Andalusians escape the interior heat with a few weeks at the beach. 

I would say racism in Spain is very different than it was 30 years ago.  In general the coasts and Madrid and Barcelona have had a huge influx of different color people, so there’s been lots of time to get over that “shock of the new”. 

It’s more likely that you’d stick out because of being American rather than of African descent.

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Posted: 29 May 2013 10:50 AM  
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Let me share my views as well. Have been living in the Santa Cruz region in Seville for over 90 days and except for one isolated incident, the locals have been very helpful. Even though I am of a South American descent, I barely know any Spanish. The apartment caretaker speaks with me in English and keeps teaching me a little bit of Spanish as well!

If you are wondering about the isolated incident, I chose to ignore it because it was some youths who shouted at me but they were so drunk that whatever they blabbered was not clear at all.

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