I mean, I'd heard about it. Saw all of the articles, like this one in The Economist
and this one about racially motivated attacks on the rise
. Read the blogs, including Curly Nikki's
. Had plenty of people warn me, including Greek coworkers and, you know, the State Department
But....dayyum. People in Athens are a hot mess when it comes to interacting with black folks. I'm going to do my best to enjoy my time here, ignore the hostile stares and my inability to engage anyone (who isn't working for a tip) in conversation, but I don't see myself coming back.
Three weeks ago, I saw a very large ... mural ... on the wall separating the metro from the ancient Agora, right along the stoa that's now a museum. It was a caricature of a black woman, naked, legs wide open and genitalia painted in graphic detail. And, in English, some highly offensive words. Now, graffiti covers every surface in Athens, and I understand it's a losing battle for property owners and the authorities to keep it under control. But this was extremely sexually graphic and racist graffiti in full view of all the tourists dining in the restaurants lining the pedestrian strip. I was like, holy crap, some thugs must have gotten in overnight, but surely it will be cleaned up soon. Nope. Three weeks later, I'm walking along that same tourist strip again, and the damn picture is still there.
I thought all the expats who talked ish about Greece were being really harsh and kind of bigoted themselves, but now I know that it will be REALLY hard for me to refrain from joining the chorus when talking to newcomers.
Dear Italians, I apologize. I'm going to stop saying you're some of the most racist people I've ever met.