These Cities And Countries Don’t Deserve Your Black Travel Dollars In 2019
By Mitti Hicks
2018 marked a great year for African-American travelers. A study conducted by Mandala Research shows that African Americans spent $63 billion on tourism in 2018, up by $20 billion in 2010. And while this research proves black Americans are exploring the world like never before, there were some incidents and laws passed this past year that deserve more than just a side-eye.
Here’s a list of cities and countries that do not deserve your black travel dollars in 2019 until some change happens:
A controversial operation called “X-Ray Outlaw Foreigners” has raised questions about racial profiling in Thailand. The law was created back in 2017, but its focus shifted towards black and brown immigrants this past year. Surachate Hakparn, Thailand’s immigration bureau chief stated “our job is to classify who are the good dark-skinned people and who are the ones likely to commit crimes.”
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Rio de Janiero earlier this year after the shooting death of a black, gay city councilmember Marielle Franco. Franco, who was 38 at the time of her death, was shot four times in the head by unknown assailants after leaving a gathering of young Black activists, according to Justice For Marielle. Her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes was also killed.
Before serving on Rio’s city council, Franco was known for advocating for the rights of Afro-Brazilians, the LGBTQ community, and women. She was also known to speak up against police violence in the city’s favelas, or low-income communities.
Two days before her murder, Franco denounced the police’s role in the killing of a young black man named Matheus Melo, who was shot dead after leaving a church, The Guardian reported. Since her death, international activists, politicians and journalists have pressured Brazilian authorities to find her killers.
Zakynthos Islands, Greece
Zakynthos is a well-known summer resort known for its beautiful beaches and scenic backdrop of cliffs. Sadly, it’s where Bakari Henderson’s life ended at the young age of 22.
Henderson, 22, had just graduated from college and was visiting Zakynthos during the summer of 2017 for a photo shoot to launch a sportswear line. During his stay, Henderson got into an altercation with a group of men after they became upset that a Serbian woman took a selfie with him and a friend.
According to a report from USA Today, one of the men asked, “There are so many Serbs in this bar, why are you talking to a black guy?” Things escalated, and the group of men responded by throwing objects at Henderson before assaulting him with 33 blows, including kicks and punches to his head.
Henderson died from brain injuries after being struck with brass knuckles.
Six men were convicted of assault for the brutal attack earlier this year. The judge gave the men sentences ranging from five to 15 years, The New York Times reported.
Israeli officials notified thousands of migrants from Sudan and Eritrea that entered the country illegally that they would have to leave the country or face incarceration. According to a report from Voice of America, Israel called them “infiltrators” whose numbers threatened Israel’s Jewish character.
Officials offered migrants $3,500 along with airfare to leave the country, even though many were asylum seekers looking to flee conflict and persecution. Because the government is “giving money away” to keep “certain” people away, you might as well spend your money where people that look like you are wanted.
Eastern African has historically been a challenging place for LGBTQ travelers, but recent threats by Dar es Salaam’s Regional Commissioner, Paul Makonda, causes grave concern. Makonda said that he would form a task force to identify, track down, and arrest gay people in the region, according to Vox.
“I have received reports that there are so many homosexuals in our city, and these homosexuals are advertising and selling their services on the internet, according to the media outlet. “therefore, I am announcing this to every citizen of Dar es Salaam. If you know any gays […] report them to me.”