Dealing with Racism Abroad

We got a question asking if we experience racism while traveling and if so how we deal with it. By the way, if you have a question for us, you can use the “ask a question” link on the home page.

I must come 100% clean, in all our travels, we never had an incident of blatant racism. This isn’t the first time we got this question. People often want to know if we experienced racism while living in Abu Dhabi. The truth is we didn’t. Saleh did have one principal who was a jerk, but he was an equal opportunity jerk. His other principal was amazing and so were most of his co-workers, male and female, many of whom I met.

We did attract uncomfortable stares from mainly women when out in public. Stares is probably the wrong word. We’re talking about neck turning gawking and then whispering to the friend next to them. There were times where one woman would see us, elbow her friend, hey, hey, check them out. We understood that interracial couples, especially our contrast in color, was extremely rare in that part of the world and so we didn’t let it bother us.

When traveling to a strange city, I think we had tourist written all over us. So people were mostly interested in how they could get us to spend money with them. This is not to say that the racism isn’t there. Racism is everywhere. We just honestly haven’t had any negative experiences. Even within the United States, we visited Utah and Iowa, states where people told us, you’re going there?! People are racist there! Hijab and all, we had nothing but wonderful encounters with the locals.


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