IS THERE RACISM IN EUROPE?
Being stared at can be a discomfort, a fact that we hardly realize when we stare away unabashedly at a hapless foreigner in our land! As we know well, it is just curiosity. Europeans are not used to seeing everyday people of our ethnic background, hence there might be a curiosity factor. Enjoy this attention you may get abroad, as it has nothing to do with hostility.
Each ethnicity’s standards decide their conversational style and how they treat strangers. What is openness to some may be blunt to others. What is polite conversation to some may be a rude privacy invasion to others. But that cannot be attributed to racism.
Europeans in general and especially the Swiss and Germans are very reserved. So they might not take to people speaking or laughing loudly. This does not mean they are racists. Try to blend in as much as possible and respect their culture. The French do not like to be spoken to in English. So if he does not respond to you or ignores you, it is not because you are an Indian. Break the ice with a “Bonjour” (Hello or Good day in French). That should do the trick. Some more broken French from you and you will have a new found friend.
Will you meet unfriendly characters? Of course yes.Unfriendliness is bound to arise between strangers. This grumpiness need not be attributed to racism. It might just be plain impatience or bad behavior. Or it might be something to do with the way you have behaved in the first instance.
Airports and border crossing: Some travelers have reported racial profiling at airports or border crossings. They are just doing their job to keep out illegal immigrants, especially more now with the European refugee crisis. You might be subjected to closer scrutiny than the others before you are allowed to continue your journey, but it is not something that should be cause for concern at all.
Be positive! It boils down to our attitude and how we take bad behavior after all. If you feel you are mistreated or being discriminated, just move on to someplace else. But most Europeans are eager to know more about us as much as we are, to learn about them. It is experiences like these that enrich our tour!
Ask around. A clarification from fellow-travelers who had been to Europe, can quell all your doubts. Don’t hesitate to ask around.
Be curious! Try and find out more about the customs of the people in your place of visit. It would help you to familiarize and adapt. They may appreciate your taking interest in their tradition and be willing to explain it to you. Once the initial reservation is shed, there is no question of any hostility. You break the barrier and gain a broader perspective!
To sum up, you would be treated as a tourist, a guest, and will be extended common courtesy. Go and enjoy your European Holiday without any prejudices.