View Full Version : A question about Spain

04-25-2010, 09:12 AM
Well, I don't quite know how to put this, so I'll tell you the plans:

My parents are seriously considering purchasing some (holiday) property in Spain; at the moment they are looking in Andalucia (Seville mainly) or around the Valencia area, their two favourite parts of Spain, having visited several times. They plan to buy an appartment or small-ish villa, and they've had a fair few viewings and liked some of the places they've seen. It'd be somewhere we could all go during summers and somewhere they may eventually retire to when the time comes.

However, upon telling some friends the plans, the same things keep getting said; "don't buy in Spain, everyone is so racist there." Now, I don't know what to make of this; I've only been once, five years ago, to Barcelona, and noticed nothing. I should just tell you, both my parents are English - my mum is black of Brazilian descent, and my father is half English, half Japanese. They've said they've not really noticed anything to support what my friends (and others) have said, so really, if they're happy, it shouldn't be an issue, but I can't help but be a bit worried. I have an Arab friend who studied in Madrid for six months and he said he'd never been treated so badly, so consistently in his life - and made NO friends; and this guy is like the nicest, most personable dude goin. So I'm a bit :confused:

Of course, I know problems like this exist everywhere, and that you can't paint everyone with the same brush - I'm sure they are racist people in Spain, just like everywhere else unfortunately - and that there are many, many who are not - and I'm sorry if this offends anyone - I just wondered if anyone had anything to say about this? Am I (and my friends) being totally hysterical over this (/unfair/exaggerating etc.) or is there a little bit of truth to it?


04-25-2010, 09:54 AM
You have one friend who experienced racism in one area of Spain, and are now asking if whole country racist, despite your and your parents experiences there not noticing racism?

To label a whole country racist is hysterical. To label all of the citizens of one country racist is hysterical. Of course there are racist people in Spain, like you say, there are everywhere, it's impossible to tell what percentage because some people consider some things racist when they weren't intended to be. Many Westerners here scream racism when really it's just that they were mean and unreasonable themselves, not that they are white. I'm not sure what you're expecting as a response. If 5 posters have experienced racism, and 5 haven't, what will you conclude? If 10 have experienced racism, 3 haven't? You've acknowledged it exists already...and your parents have not noticed it and seem happy to move there.

Sometimes the person screaming racism is actually the racist (as in my western friends wouldn't be screaming racism had the exact same situation occurred with a non-Chinese). I'm sorry that your friend experienced racism, and I am also sorry if he has concluded that all (or even the majority) of Spaniards are racist because of his experience. I've never experienced racism from a Spaniard anywhere, and I've never heard of them being racist.

Your parents haven't had a problem, let them be. I'm sure they can take care of themselves :)

04-25-2010, 10:09 AM
Calm yourself. I gave the experience of one friend as an example; I have heard a fair few people say similar things to me (for example, some well-travelled Chinese friends who went and came back in tears)

And read my last paragraph; I said I know the whole country isn't racist - OF COURSE IT ISN'T. I'm not an idiot. Just in comparison to many other places, I've heard alot more about racism in Spain than anywhere else; I wondered if it was just bad luck on my friends behalf or more of an ongoing problem. I don't know what I'll do with regards to responses it was just something I wanted to ask. Maybe I shouldn't have. I would never "label all the citizens of one country racist," AND I DIDN'T. It was a general wondering, not an accusation. I'll just go and experience (and enjoy) the country myself.

04-25-2010, 10:27 AM
Well, it depends what you call racism.

Spanish society (warning: generalization! Big one) is probably very un-PC (for American/British standards) and certainly no-multiculturalist, and, sadly, some xenophobia is noticeably increasing due to economical crisis and the immigration boom of the last years, but is directed to any foreigner (East European too, for example), IMO xenophobia could go worse (but is the same kind of anti-immigration feeling you can find commented in the press about USA or any Western country).

In Spain there is a long time racism in a discriminatory way (even if itīs more cultural based than racial) against gypsies. And, sadly too, a notable prejudice against North-Africans (Magreb ??), not so much against "Arabs". Against other groups there is more xenophobia that racism, but IMO the way it acts from a, uhm, English-speaker societies point of view, could be considered racism as, when people is not very polite, is usual the employ of derogatory expressions that will be related to race or nationality. That is anyway considered unacceptable for normal, educated people.

I donīt know if I can make the point right, but letīs say it this way: there are very few people in Spain that will not help in the street a person whatever his race in need, there are very few Spanish people that will have problem with their children marrying people of other race if they consider them as Spanish/Western-like culturally, but there is a good number that will have concern with that same (wedding/relationship) situation if they consider this person is not western-like culturally speaking. I donīt think formally these persons are racist but certainly prejudiced, and their prejudice is more cultural than racial.

In general Spanish people are friendly so I find surprising that someone can stay for months in a large city without making ANY friend. That said ,some social missteps can be really costly in Spain, and in educated places the answer is usually disdain and to ostracize the supposed offender (No hay mayor desprecio, que no hacer aprecio/ Greatest disdain, not to care)

So in conclusion, in educated, populated places, people of different races usually arenīt discriminated, but Spanish language and attitudes arenīt pc and can sometimes be shocking for people who come from more multicultural societies. Spanish uneducated people are rude to everybody starting with their Spanish fellows, but I refuse, for example, to judge British people for their less, obviously, favored by the cultural graces (and Iīve met a good number of them when working in a very touristic place, and they seemed to me quite "racist" against Spanish (as a nice part of British press, with their PIGS and similar nonsense) what I certainly couldnīt care less, and what I donīt project to all their societies, considering the rest of the tourist were nice and normal people, whose prejudice, when noticiable, were based in just ignorance (in a good sense) a not racism of any class.)

Feel free to ask me any more concrete question

BTW Iīm surprised your parents are considering Seville (I understand province not the city) and in that case they should know from April to half September is very, very hot. If they like that part of Andalucía and they arenīt interested in coast houses, and donīt mind heat, I would recommend them to check Province of Cádiz mountain places (like Grazalema) that is close to Sevilla too (and for what I know there is nice colony of British living there)

Long text, please notice my zorry disclaimer :drama:

04-25-2010, 10:27 AM
Do your friends who experienced racism there speak Spanish? A lot of the time it is a cultural/language issue rather than racism. A good Chinese friend of mine visited me in Australia and told me my mother was racist when she said that we (my family) don't celebrate Chinese New Year and have different opinions of prenatal care, whenever a discussion didn't go her way, she considered it racism.

Of course, your friends may have experienced racism :( Though I am not sure what you're asking. You know there's a little bit of truth in some Spaniards being racist, because your friends experienced racism, and you've said you know there are many, many non-racists in Spain. Are you asking people for personal experiences in Spain, and whether or not they experienced racism?

Some people think when a group of my Australian, New Zealand and English friends get together that we are racist to each other. We tease in a big way, but we all give as good as we get, we're just not as sensitive/politically correct on a day-to-day basis as some, and we know it's in fun. In that way, it's also cultural. Australians, mostly, can joke about the stereotypes made against us (and so can the English and New Zealanders) and our New Zealand and English counterparts.

I would definitely recommend you go and see for yourself. Your parents obviously like it enough to want to move there, and they're the ones making the decision and they haven't noticed anything.

04-25-2010, 10:29 AM
Long text, please notice my zorry disclaimer :drama:

Your English is fabulous! :cheer2:

04-25-2010, 10:53 AM
Do your friends who experienced racism there speak Spanish? A lot of the time it is a cultural/language issue rather than racism.

This is so true. There are some words in Spanish completely neutral that for a foreigner would be very racist (as Iīve learnt in FSU).

For example a Spaniard can feel miserable, but never "be" miserable. Miserable (greedy, very mean-spirited) is one of the biggest clean insult you can throw a Spaniard.

Of course, your friends may have experienced racism :(

I donīt doubt it, it happens :( . Just check posters comments in any Spanish newspaper article related to immigration :yikes: :scream: (even if trollism Internet is a big factor)

Some people think when a group of my Australian, New Zealand and English friends get together that we are racist to each other. We tease in a big way, but we all give as good as we get, we're just not as sensitive/politically correct on a day-to-day basis as some, and we know it's in fun. In that way, it's also cultural. Australians, mostly, can joke about the stereotypes made against us (and so can the English and New Zealanders) and our New Zealand and English counterparts.

Spanish (men) friends sometimes welcome each other as "SOB" :shuffle: Warning: donīt try this until friendship is really deep ;)

Your English is fabulous! :cheer2:


04-25-2010, 10:54 AM
Thanks for the responses. I don't know; maybe I should have worded it all better. Never for a minute did I think all Spaniards are racists ( :lol: at the thought) I guess I'm just being a bit paranoid having heard some horror stories; of course I've witnessed racism for myself here at home (the UK) and I'd be horrified to think other people thought of England as a mainly racist country, seeing as, as a mixed race guy, I've never once encountered direct racism towards me, ever. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but I wouldn't think that of another country just becuase I heard one or two things. Just with what friends have said (plus stories about Spanish footy fans or Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona etc.) got me thinking - you can't blame me for having the tiniest doubt, huh? But then yes, the same has happened, to a lesser extent here in England, and I'd never discourage someone visiting here.

ANYWAY, my parents are happy, I'm going to visit, and I'm sure it'll all be fine. My mother already speaks Spanish and my father and I are learning, so I guess that'll be a big help. Regardless of my post, I'm really excited and looking forward to staying in the country.

04-25-2010, 11:16 AM
Bienvenidos/ Welcome! :)

Hope your family enjoy their residence in Spain

BTW Football fans are just a proof of the fact that the apparent loss in brain cells and common sense of a person immersed in a group is equal to the number of football fans that forms that group :P

Those people who insult the other team black (or foreigner) players, are drooling over their own team black (foreigner) players. Theyīre just idiots, and idiots are usually treated here as non existent. The same kind of idiots whistle the National anthems of other teams that plays against Spain National Team, because they act like it was a club team anthem. Spanish Federation is so ashamed that is trying to change that custom, but the idiots donīt get it, and even if not a great number they are loud. BTW they donīt care if other people whistle Spain anthem (I guess in their short mind is fair play) so that answer only can offend those of us whoīll never boo any other country anthem.