When I came to Holland I was too young to know that cultures and behavior between countries could be so different.
As a child I have never learnt anything else than embrace people you meet and treat them with respect.
I am that kind of a person who leaves the house when I am bored. I go and sit somewhere, order a drink and start a chat with people. I have always laughed with everyone. I didn’t know that Dutch people were pretty much reserved. I remember that guys spoke at most when they were drunk. Like during Kingsday and when the national team has won.
I used to visit an Irish pub in Vlaardingen and sometimes Breakaway in Rotterdam. I was mostly the first to start a conversation because I am pretty much interested in a lot of things.
This helped me to learn the language.
As a girl I knew what my mom always told me. No sex when there is no love. So I kept that in my mind at all the time.
I felt very free to talk to whomever I wanted but at the same time I could feel some lack of respect. I have no idea what made a few men think that when you are a black lady you must accept every offer you get even just to dance in a very sexual way. I could feel that these guys assumed I should accept. Probably because by then I was single. So people tend to think you are desperate. Those times in the 90s I was not a slim girl either. I still had a thick bone but not overweight. Those times if you were not as skinny as the models on catwalk then you weren’t really seen as sexy.
So each time especially when guys had a few drinks they would start talking to me freely and start dancing around me without asking for permission.. ofcourse you can guess how furious I did react.
I felt disrespected. At that moment I was too shy to really ask why they did behaved like that.
I remember words like #Dushi #fawaka (and I didn’t know what they meant by then) , which already shows that men assumed every black person who speaks good Dutch must be Surinamese. For me that wasn’t the real issue even though I would prefer to be recognised as me.
Later in the years, married, 3 children. I went with my husband to a local cafe/bar to drink something. By then we had already moved to the village. So you know villages are small. People know the new people already.
We stepped in and ordered some drinks.
There were a few guys standing there talking. They did ask my husband if we were together and my husband said yes. A weeķ later I went on my own because we could not find a babysitter.
That’s when I again experiences the same as before. Even the barman is my witness. The guys came and tried to speak in a Suriname or Antilliaanse language. I heard “hee Dushi”
And started touching my shoulder rubbing my back. As far as I know Dutch man, they do not usually approach you that way if they do have respect for you or when they fall in love with you.
I shouted at him to stop. He was shocked because I really think he did not expect this reaction.
I did ask him one question if he would do the same to a middle class Dutch lady. Apparently there was one standing on the other side of the bar. I asked him to go and do the same to that lady. He definately didn’t and he said no. At that he apologised and he felt ashamed of himself.
He actually thought black girls were easy going and would not say not to a white guy. And he did apologise and that was the first moment we started to have normal conversation at a certain level.
What if I was desperate, or insecure or maybe looking for love that badly such that I could not see the mean ideas behind??
I am really grateful that I have always had people around me who were supportive. What if I was illegal and I needed a greencard? What if I had debts, and I needed someone to help me? What I was desperate for a job and I needed someone to help me out.
Sometimes desperate situations put people in situations where they will be misused.
Tips to young girls:
Whenever you feel like the world is not embracing you the way you deserve, do not accept fake love! People should learn to respect and that can only happen when you respect yourself. I do understand and I learn everyday that they are a lot of girls even men these days who are in a position where they do not want to be because of personal, financial situations. Those people I wrote this for, to help the world to learn respect one another
tips to African black sisters,
Whenever you show your worth, in whatever situation you are, you push away disrespectful people.
By imitating you are are actually telling someone my original me isn’t worth embracing.