By Jacqueline Audra Robinson
Looking back at living, working, and being a part of society in three different countries in five years, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Every place I have been has pros and cons that gave me a unique insight, which is not something everyone is privy to. It’s not about the negative experiences you have; it’s about the people you meet and what you make of your time there. While it’s hard and obnoxious to deal with racism and discrimination on a regular basis—and even if it appears and is inflicted differently in different parts of the world—every country has beautiful, open-minded, and supportive people who appreciate diversity and the perspectives it brings.
In Germany, racism was rather direct and straightforward. People said what they wanted to say and that was that. The first time I experienced racism, I was 11 years old and in elementary school in Germany. On several occasions my classmates and a teacher called me the N-word, told me to go back to Africa—“Where you came from”—called my sister and me ugly monkeys. They wouldn’t pick me in PE class, and the only friend I had at the time was my older sister, who went to the same school and was dealing with the same issues. Since then, I’ve also experienced name-calling, been spat at, and was treated differently during job interviews, at work, and on public transportation.