I've been hearing negative stuff on Spain being a racist country and being so set in their ways. Can someone please bring some light to this.
I am sure you will get replies from locals. We have been to Madrid for a week in the past and have also been to Toledo. We have a spent a week in Barcelona. At no time did we feel any negative vibes and found a very friendly people. In any case you are likely to be surrounded by tourists. Spain is a wonderful country and there are so many places which are beckoning us. We will be back .
"Set in their ways?" High-speed rail since 1992 that the US hasn't the guts to try. Democracy since c. 1977 with the death of the Franco. a fascist but wily dictator, Athletic victories of late include World Cup Soccer, Rafal Nadal
#1 tennis player, Formula One #1 racer Fernando Alonso, Alfonso Contador wins Tour de France (doping rumors, but that's the sport IMO) and Paul Gasol plays key role in Lakers NBA title.
Related to this, this NY TIMES article may interest you.
True, the present economic crisis is bad, bad, bad. Yet more women are a part of the work place in positions high and low, which flies in the face of a machismo tradition. Country has been rather charitable to immigrants who arrive from Africa in rafts (universal health care, etc) and its policy and treatment of the Roma (un-pc word: "gypies") has been a model for all of the EU since by and large the Roma are well-integrated into the social fabric, not rioting, etc.
Do the people still have pride in the Spaniard of the past who was a blend of the Iberia, Roman, Visigoth and even Muslim rulers? Yes, and if that's racist..I am sure it's there and probably more overt than in the Western hemisphere.
Bellamia, racism exists everywhere. Even in Edmonton. And certainly in Toronto.
I'm an Asian-American mum and I travel with my son. This past summer, we were in Barcelona, Seville and the Costa Brava. We had no trouble, not even at little bus stops out in the countryside. Some locals even cared for my son, carried our big suitcase up a long flight of stairs and gave him their cell phone to make an international call to me when we got separated at the Renfe train station. They stayed with him for 20 minutes until I found my way back to him. On the local train and buses in Barcelona and Girona, I saw Spanish residents of African descent, wearing their traditional clothes. There were no open signs of exclusion towards them.
You don't need to worry. I doubt you will be troubled by racism during your visit to Spain. Here's a link to a recent discussion we had about it on TA Barcelona:
Stop listening to hearsay.
I have not witnessed any racism in more than twenty years of visiting Spain. I have been in company who disliked nationalities for the way their governments have effed up the world but not for two or three years. If 'racist' is something to do with being abrupt with tourists, when those tourists insist in speaking their own language and making no effort with Spanish, I have seen this a couple of times, but it is certainly nothing to do with creed or colour.
If 'set in their ways' is something to do with maintaining culture and tradition, is this being suggested as a bad thing?
We are a gay couple and found in two weeks of walking around many, many neighbourhoods of Madrid that our presence was a complete non-issue anywhere we went. This is quite different from other places we've traveled. We never have let discrimination bother us but we have experienced it elsewhere in the past. In Madrid, however, we always were made to feel completely at home.
I would say that this is a perfect example of Spain NOT being set in its ways. We can imagine that 20-odd years ago the situation might have been quite different.
Go, be confident in who you are, and relax. Madrid will welcome you!Edited: 1:30 pm, November 14, 2010
Thank you Bruce and everyone else. I was more concerned about Seville than Madrid, but that makes me feel better. I guess i'm just really scared to do this *deep breaths*
What else is scaring you? Maybe we can slay the rest of your dragons!
Travel is an experience that should be anticipated with excitement, possibly a little apprehension about the details, but never fear!
I'll message you :)
Seville? Why? Because it's closer to the continent of Africa? Because it's had history of invaders of different colours and religions?
We really enjoyed Seville too. Don't miss the Seville Catedral and Christopher Columbus' tomb. Or the Giralda. And if you have time, pls say "hey" to Azahar of sevilla tapas (website). She's a delightful Canadian Spanish blogger.