I Was Called A Nigger In Africa
Brittany traveled with Racquel, her friend from college, and Racquel's friend Jasmine to Morocco where they discovered that the street harassment situation was more than they could have ever anticipated.
I read about Morocco as far as the safety for women. And they said that it was kind of--not dangerous-- but women need to be more aware. You know how I am. You can think back to when we were in Dubai and we were on that escalator and the men were following us. That's how I am, hyper cautious, super aware. So once I'm reading that Morocco is like that I'm on super alert.
I'm excited to go. Marrakech looked like Aladdin for real. It was nice. But the markets were just so much. We stayed in the riad which is the traditional Moroccan, fancy hotel, where it has a garden on the rooftop. And we had to walk through the market to get there. And they say that you should get lost in the maze of the market because it's just so nice to see all the different stores. But that's not the life that I live. I had already downloaded Google Maps, offline data so I knew exactly where we needed to go.
The way Racquel's friend Jasmine described it: "It was like 25 years of sexual harassment condensed into like five minutes." Like a half mile walk. Because the things that were said to us were with like no interaction. It's that they saw us coming-- The funny thing is, is that if you look at any of these men and women and put them in America, you would think they were Black until they open their mouth and told you about their culture. I guess, the way we were dressed, maybe signaled that we were American. They already scope you out. So you're walking and once you pass by:
'Oh my God. Oh what a nice, big ass. Oh Nicki Minaj. Sister Obama, sister Obama.' This nasty sucking noise.
In the United States, you know if you ignore somebody you might get shot. So I'm used to hearing niggas saying stuff. Over here, I would want to ignore. But over there, I was ready, I stared. But from what I researched, they said that people wouldn't generally hurt you or harm you, it was just more of a harassment thing. So I'm like just ready to ignore people in my path. And because I had Google Maps, I knew where I was going. Because also something that they said that they would do was try to to lead you down to a side area and try to make you pay once you got there or tell you something that was closed and then you might go to somebody's house or something like that. So I wasn't trying to listen to nobody. I was ready to ignore. But Racquel is like 'Oh! Whoa! Oh my God!' I was like 'Can we please just contain it?'
And then her friend...I guess, how can I say this? She just was trying to breathe in the experience a bit more. She wasn't really keeping up with the pace sometimes. But she ended up getting her butt hit by one of the little teenage boys. Because me and Racquel was gone-- and I'm not saying that this the reason why it happened because it shouldn't have happened. But Racquel was gone and she was lagging back behind so she ended up by herself with four, little teenage boys--I guess when she turned around to go, one of them slapped her on her behind. And I guess she thought she was in the United States so she turned around and said, "Who the hell did that?!" And they all started pointing to each other.
It was a lot of that walking. The first day wasn't too bad because the first day we had specific destinations that we knew where we were going to. So I had my maps and I was ready to go. The comments were relatively mild compared to the next day. They were more just like the Sister Obama stuff and Nicki Minaj. Didn't nobody call us Beyoncé. I was kind of like 'Oh okay...no Beyoncé? Ok...'
Then the next day, we--they wanted to see the market a little bit more so we got guided lost. We always knew where we were going but it was more so exploring. And because we were exploring, I wasn't going my usual fast pace. And so we're walking and we end up getting kind of caught in traffic. And at that time, this little man came up to me and he's doing that same harassment stuff. And then he was like, 'Oh, you walked past my house.' And I'm not saying anything. And he was like 'Come to my house. You're walking past my house. This is where my store is.' And I just kind of put my hand up because I felt like he was getting too close to me. So I put my hand up and leaned back and then he called me "a pimple-faced bitch.' And I had to keep on walking cuz a nigga was trying to make it back to the U.S.
So we're continuing the guided, lost tour of the market. And then we're heading back to the hotel so that we can catch the train to get back to Casablanca. And it was funny because at that time I was thinking, it was mostly the younger to middle aged men that came with the sexual harassment and the nonsense. The older men didn't say anything And as we were walking though, back to the hotel, this little, old man, probably like 60 or 70...maybe 75, waves both his hands to try to say that he's selling something. And we keep on walking like we've been doing. And then in his wayward, broken English, he's like:
"Fuck you Nigger."
Racquel said her first reaction was "Uh, but we in Africa..."
Not to take away from anybody's culture but while you using this word nigger, the derogatory use of it comes the United States. You bring your ass over here, you're gonna be a nigga too, my nigga. Like, what are you saying?!
You coulda just said 'fuck you,' honestly because the nigga don't mean nothing coming from you. But I guess he was ready to offend us as Americans.
I kept on walking. Racquel's face, her face really tore up. And then her friend, she gon stop in the middle of street and was like, 'Ugh! Well fuck you!" I'm like 'Honey, we tryna make it back to the U.S. You don't know who bout to jump down from these damn market tops.'
So that was almost the end of the day. We made it back safely but it was a mess.
Walking through that market you had to get your mind right because you knew the harassment was coming in whatever form that it came. So they surprised us that day with 'pimple faced bitch' and 'Fuck you nigger.' Like, we weren't expecting that. We were ready for Obama's family. But within the market there are so many different historical landmarks. And we went to this one store to buy the authentic Moroccan Argan oil and the woman that worked there, she was just so sweet, and so peaceful and so calm. It was very relaxing. She was so sweet to talk to. We were there for about an hour. She wa so, so, so sweet. So we had those moments of calm and peace that helped us to decompress before we had to go back out there and deal with that again. So it wasn't ruining the trip. Because honestly, I would go back to Marrakech again because there were things we didn't see but then just knowing you had to have your mind right to go in that mess because it was a mess. Just, you gotta come prepared. I say do your research on it.
It was funny because you know Racquel, she loves to go out but we didn't go out that night. I wasn't going out no way and then they were like, 'I don't know if we want to go out if this is the type of men we'll be interacting with.' She was like, 'I can't do too much more of this.'
It's nice to see the culture. And the people we interacted with were nice. The thing for me too, I was wondering. The women on the blogs have been White women just saying be aware in Morocco. So I'm wondering how creative are these niggas to be offensive to everybody. What are they saying to White women? What are they saying to Asian women? Cuz they're very skilled to be able to offend everybody. So I just wonder what those things are. One man said to Jasmine, 'I didn't like chocolate women but now I think I do.' I guess they think they're White or something...I don't know what it is. I guess they're confused because some of them--there's immigration from Spain and France. So they've got that blend. But so many of them just look like regular ole African Americans.
And see I'm interested to hear what their point of view is too. Like why do y'all do this? What's the benefit?