The politics of tourism and travel

Because summer time is the time of travel and all of its economic and national and identity contexts, I thought it was a great time to highlight a couple great posts that reflect on the complicated questions that attach themselves to these nuances.

First, check out this open thread on first-world traveling to third-world nations at Feministe, in which guest blogger Anna asks and attempts to answer the following questions:

What do you perceive are the ramifications of that type of tourism? (Broad question, I know.)

If you have participated in that kind of tourism, how did those potential ramifications affect the choices that you made as a tourist? What choices have you made to be a more “responsible” tourist?

Do believe there is such a thing as feminist tourism, and, if so, what does that look like?

And, finally, how do the politics of a country affect your desire/willingness to participate in that country’s tourism? What about their human rights record?

Then read Guest Contributor Margari Aziza Hill at Racialicious on traveling as a black woman and how foreign travel can change your perceptions and understandings of race and racism:

Further, Europeans and Americans can assume you are just part of the landscape. You’re that native that needs to move out their way as. One time I was traveling with my friend from Bahia. We look very similar and people often assumed we were Moroccan, maybe from somewhere in the South. On our way from Casa Blanca to Fes, we found some British people were sitting in our seats. So, we were looking at our tickets and them. Mariah said, “Umm, these are our seats.” I was trying to speak to them in my clear American diction. The young couple just looked at us blankly and the crusty old man blurted out, “Doo Youu Sbeakk Frrrench?!”

I said, “No, I speak English!”

What really pissed me off was that he didn’t hear us because we were brown. He assumed that our non-British accent meant that we weren’t fluent speakers. Our brown skin rendered our language incomprehensible, as well as our rights to the first class seats that we purchased with our hard earned money.