Race and racism in Kosovo: An Afro-Latina United states woman’s perspective

Race and racism in Kosovo: An Afro-Latina United states woman’s perspective

The way that is best to cope with racism in Kosovo would be to focus the discussion on Kosovo’s own racialized minorities. Remedy for foreigners of color could be the main discussion without dominating it.

Summer time of 2015 had been the very first time we stumbled on Kosovo. I became 18 plus it had been my time that is first leaving united states of america.

Upon showing up in Kosovo we straight away became keenly conscious of my hyper-visibility. My locks, nose, lips and the body framework were completely different through the Kosovar ladies we encountered. For several, I became the initial woman that is black had ever met in actual life. I constantly received compliments to my black colored features. It was specially strange I come from a culture where my features are considered ugly for me because.

My knowledge about road harassment in Kosovo comes with extremely gendered and racial aspects. The road harassment in Kosovo is brutal for many ladies, irrespective of ethnic history, but my blackness adds another layer to that particular. Guys would frequently follow me personally and scream the names of random black colored feminine celebrities. I acquired familiar with hearing, “Beyonce! Rihanna!” when I wandered by categories of guys. When a car or truck filled with guys began yelling, “baby mama drama!” at me, discussing a us label about black colored feminine promiscuity. This label, which Kosovars within the automobile may have not really known, performs regarding the trope for the black colored girl who may have many young ones from a lot of different dads and spends her time constantly going after the various dads and causing “drama.”

After my first day at Kosovo in 2015 I made the individual choice to adhere to Islamic gown code directions, including the headscarf. It was a way to reclaim my body from the male gaze for me. In of this year, I returned to Kosovo january. I hoped that my brand new way of dressing would be a deterrent from road harassment. This turned into entirely untrue. Admittedly, the harassment is significantly lower flirty app than it had been in 2015. Nevertheless, males regarding the road continue to be in the same way bold. Now we have catcalled with Islamic phrases like “Selam alejkum“Mashallah and”.” We have had men ask me for coffee and will not just just take “no” for a remedy. I’ve additionally had individuals follow me personally home on one or more event.

We blame most of the intimate harassment We face in Kosovo on US news usage. Awhile ago I happened to be during the cinema viewing the brand new Fast & Furious film. For the movie most of the ladies of color had been oversexualized. American news hardly ever illustrates ladies of color as any thing more than items or props. Whenever you’re coping with a culture who has exposure that is little females of color, it has a major effect on their perceptions and presumptions. International females of color in Kosovo get to be the exotic, sexual things for most males in Kosovo. Kosovar guys must be held accountable also, nevertheless. The origins of intimate harassment result from profoundly embedded, sexist views about ladies. Although intimate harassment in Kosovo could be racialized, the nagging issue it self is pervasive across cultural lines.

The desire for black colored womanhood is mirrored in a complete great deal of popular Kosovar music. In her own videos, period Istrefi usually wears hairstyles that are black as dreads and field braids. Her music and emulates that are dance-style performers and many even call her the Albanian Rihanna. The sight of a white woman imitating black womanhood would bring accusations of cultural appropriation in the United States. Nonetheless, social appropriation is a concern of privilege. Privilege is because social inequality and it is centered on historic and oppressions that are systematic favor particular groups over other people. Whenever a privileged team appropriates the tradition of an underprivileged team, it decreases the underprivileged team to harmful stereotypes and additional reinforces their marginalized status.

In the usa, discussions about privilege and appropriation that is cultural get into a white/person-of-color (POC) binary. The colonialist and imperialist tendencies of white European countries have actually mainly targeted populations that are non-white. Thus, in the usa and Western Europe we discuss white individuals being more privileged than people-of-color (non-white individuals). Albanians complicate this binary to a large degree because while they are white Europeans, they don’t have a comprehensive reputation for dominating other cultures. In reality, they are victims of imperialist and colonial forces that we frequently ascribe to Europeans.

Furthermore, Albanians have actually experienced comparable systematic discrimination that a great many other non-white populations faced. In Yugoslavia, they truly became a racialized other simply because they lacked Slavic origins. Within the ‘90s Albanians faced discrimination that is systematic excluded them from jobs, schools and federal federal government. These were victims of authorities brutality and mass ethnic cleansing. With this particular reputation for victimization, we think it is wholly unproductive to make use of the white/POC binary to ascribe privilege onto Albanians in Kosovo because i really do maybe not really think it exists. In reality, being A american makes me more privileged than Kosovars in large amount of means. Within Kosovo, We have use of jobs that are many organizations by virtue of my nationality. We additionally are able to travel freely as a result of my American passport.

This brings me personally back into my initial concern: exactly how do I critique Kosovar Albanian music artists and artists who absorb facets of black colored tradition to their work?

Nevertheless, i believe the simplest way to cope with problematic racial notions in Kosovo is always to focus on a population that Kosovar Albanians are a lot more acquainted with, the Roma. Roma are discriminated against in most element of Kosovar racism and society against them is available and normalized. Centering dialogues about race and racism in Kosovo on foreign individuals of color is completely unproductive and profoundly problematic. The treating foreigners of color could be the main discussion without dominating it. Contextualizing racism in this real method will lay the inspiration for wider talks about competition and foreigners. I do believe above all a conversation that is internal become started between civil culture companies, activists, and also the Kosovo federal federal government. Also, the worldwide community in Kosovo needs to get this discussion a concern. Any talks on battle in Kosovo that don’t give attention to racialized minorities who really reside in Kosovo will come to fruition never.