5 Outrageous Things That Have Happened to Me as a Black Traveler

By Rachel Hill

rachel hill

1. Touching my natural hair.

Depending on my mood, I rock various hairstyles when I travel. My favorite style is wearing my hair big, kinky, and curly. Depending on how long I travel, I may even wear braids or faux locs. Spending some time in Thailand, I was negotiating on a few items in a night market when I felt someone’s fingers patting my hair. One of the patrons in the market was so intrigued by my faux locs that she could not help herself and wanted to feel my hair for herself!

2. Sneaking photos of me.

This happened to me a ton in China. Typically, when I was enjoying some of the tourists sites like the Forbidden City or the Great Wall of China, many of the locals would follow me around and either sneak pictures of me or try to sneak inmy pictures with me. To combat this, when they would take photos of me, I would take photos of them taking photos of me!

3. Rubbing my skin.

The first time I went to China, I stayed with a host family in a small town outside of Chengdu. As the family hadn’t been exposed to many foreigners, I knew this would be an “authentic” experience. One evening, I was walking in a produce market with my host family when an older woman with no teeth came up to me smiling. She grabbed my arm and began rubbing it up and down, speaking in Mandarin with a smile full of gums. When my host family translated it to me, they said that the older woman thought that my skin was very soft and beautiful but she was certain that my brown color would rub off!

4. Touching (and talking about) my butt.

No doubt, I’m a curvy woman. While this is certainly a gift, it can be a challenge when you’re shopping for clothes overseas. It was “laundry day” for me and I had no more bottoms, so I opted for a pair of those cute tribal-patterned pants from the market that cost about $2.13. Needless to say, they were pretty snug. In the same market, a group of teenage girls were staring at me and pointing. Finally, one of them walked up to me, pointed at my bum and asked, “Excuse me sister. Is that (butt) yours?”

5. Asking if I wear sunscreen.

I get asked this question quite often when I travel. Surprisingly enough, just like anyone else, I have to take care of my skin from harmful rays. So let me dispel the myth once and for all, and say that, yes, I absolutely use sunscreen every day!

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Rachel Hill is the creator of Rachel Travels. This post originally appear on Rachel Travels.

Photo: Rachel Hill/Facebook 

Blake Brockington, Trans Activist, Dies

Blake Brockington

Blake Brockington, a freshman at University of Carolina, Charlotte, committed suicide Monday night.

Brockington, 18, broke barriers as the first trans homecoming king at his North Carolina high school. The national response to his homecoming win, while beneficial in some ways, caused Brockington some strife. “That was single-handedly the hardest part of my trans journey. Really hateful things were said on the Internet. It was hard. I saw how narrow-minded the world really is,” Brockington told his local newspaper in 2014.

Brockington continued activist work after high school, speaking at his local Transgender Day of Remembrance rally and being photographed by the To Speak No Evil Civil Collective.

Brockington’s death is the sixth known suicide of a trans youth this year.

h/t The Advocate

Photo:  Blake Brockington/Facebook

 

Are You Watching ‘Ackee & Saltfish’? You Should Be.

ackee & saltfish

British web series “Ackee & Saltfish” is what every carefree black girl has been waiting for. Written and directed by Cecile Emeke, the series follows main characters Rachel and Olivia. The show is a good look at black female friendship in a time when it is rarely seen on screen. The series just wrapped up its first season. Take a look below:

Photo: Screenshot from “Ackee & Saltfish”/Youtube

Chicago Police Made More Street Stops Last Year Than NYPD

 chicago flag

The Chicago police made more street stops last year than the NYPD did at the height of their stop-and-frisk initiative reports the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

The study found that the Chicago police stopped African-Americans at a disproportionately higher rate than Latinos and whites. All together, more than 250,000 stops were made from last May to August. In comparison, the NYPD made 192,500 stops without arrest in 2011, the year in which stop-and-frisk was at its peak.

“For young men of color, it becomes just basically everyday street harassment that they learn to live with. Young black and brown men are so used to getting stopped in the city, they really don’t complain about it with the intensity that you would think. It’s become pretty commonplace on the South and West sides of our city,” said ACLU’s director Harvey Grossman.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

 

Photo: City of Chicago flag

Kerry Washington’s GLAAD Speech Will Give You Chills

Kerry Washington accepted the Vanguard Award at this weekend’s GLAAD Media Awards and her speech brought down the house.

“We can’t say that we believe in each other’s fundamental humanity and then turn a blind eye to the reality of each others’ existence and the truth of each other’s hearts. We must be allies. And we must be allies in this business because to be represented is to be humanized. And as long as anyone, anywhere is being made to feel less human, our very definition of humanity is at stake and we are all vulnerable,” she told the crowd.

Photo: Kerry Washington/IMDB

Missing Mississippi Man Found Hanging From Tree

otisbyrd

A missing Mississippi man was found hanging from a tree on Thursday. It has yet to be determined whether he was lynched or if he committed suicide.

From CNN:

The hanging death of an African-American man who had been missing since early this month and was found Thursday by local authorities in Mississippi has drawn the scrutiny of the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

The sheriff’s office in Claiborne County, Mississippi, had organized a search for the man, who had been missing since March 2 and was reported missing March 8. Authorities said the man’s body was found with a bed sheet tied around his neck and a skull cap on his head, hanging from a tree. The man’s hands were not tied up.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jason Pack said that it’s unclear how the man died, and “it is too early to say what happened and speculate.”

“We don’t know what happened out there, if it is a suicide, a homicide, that is why we investigate these types of cases to determine exactly what happened,” he told CNN affiliate WAPT.

Read more at CNN.

 

Photo: Otis Byrd/Undated hand out photo