I am a Finnish middle aged white woman, naturally travelling with a Finnish passport, or ID in many European countries. Travelling is easy for me, I have a permanent job which enables my travelling financially. To most countries I don't need any visa, and even when I need one, a lot of times I can apply for it online, and in couple of days I get the visa in my email. Quite easy. Of course there's exceptions, but in most cases it goes like this. At the airports in passport controls I basically always get by really quickly, hardly ever I am asked anything.
Here's an example of it; I came back from my trip to Central Asia in May (where I was never really checked either, or asked anything at Borders or controls), I flew back via Frankfurt. When exiting the plane to the airport, there were 2 customs officers checking the passport already. Right next to me there was a Chinese family, parents, their son and I am assuming son's girlfriend. Parents spoke no English, but the son did. The parents showed their passports, the son was translating. This was their conversation (of course I don't remember exactly every word).
officer: passport please
parents: showing their passports
officer: is this your first trip to Europe?
son starts to translate: it is their first trip
officer: is it your first trip?
son: no it is not
officer: show me your passport, and checks the stamps and goes through the passport pages
officer: how long are you staying here
son: 3 days
officer: why only 3 days
son: we are going to Austria then
Didn't hear or see how long the conversation went on because it was my turn, and this is how it went:
me: hello, and handing my passport
officer: hello, looking at my passport pic for a few seconds and then look at me, then hands me my passport back, says thank you
me: thank you, and walked away
I am part of white privilege, and I am very well aware of it. Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of people who are not aware, or they think everybody has the same chances. I saw this pic in one of Facebook's travel groups I am a member of. A lot of people agreed with it, all white privilege folks, but luckily some actually see further than their own nose.
Everybody do NOT have the same opportunities. Millions of people struggle to eat anything every day, don't have a roof over their heads etc. Why don't you get off your high horse, and go tell them they just don't have the courage to travel? Some people even commented that yes, this is very true, because she is lower middle class in USA and she chooses to travel. Oh dear lord where to even begin when you face this kind of stupidity... Another one commented that yes, very true, because she chose to sell her house to travel. What a f-ing MORON!!! How can someone be so utterly stupid not to realise that to own a nice house, to have a choise to sell it is already a privilege?? But oh no, it is just about courage, not about money at all... ARGH!!!
One thing I absolutely hate, is begpacking. Yes, it is an actual term, because in some countries it has become so common. It means that western people travel to poor countries (dude, you can afford a plane ticket!), and beg so they can continue travelling. This happens apparently a hell of a lot especially in Southeast Asia, but the beggers are almost always either Europeans or from US. They are doing this while next to them are local people going through thrashes to stay alive. There's even websites specialising on this, giving people tips and advice how to begpack and promoting how cool it is! Locals see it as an insult to them, I see it as an insult to humanity.
Another form of white privilege is volunteering in orphanages and similar places. Volunteers are usually white privileged, going to poor countries "because they want to good and help". Bitch please, you are doing that to shine your own halo, so you can take lots of selfies with African children behind you, all smiling, and then posting how amazing it is, waiting to get likes an people telling you what a good person you are. Then you go home telling how this experience of a lifetime changed you. Do you even remember the kids names? Do you have their permission to post their pics? And do you honestly believe that these kids need over and over again people leaving them?
I have also seen comments (I am a member of several travel groups in Facebook, so I follow these conversations a lot, I am not talking about I saw 1-2 comments but more like dozens or hundreds) where less privileged people feel that the opinion of white privilege people about this doesn't matter. That is also wrong, everyone's opinion matters as much. They are opinions and perspectives, not facts. When you state as a fact that everyone has an opportunity to travel, then you are wrong. My opinion matters even though I am white privilege myself.
Just my 2 cents on this subject. Rant over.
Going to Zilina this weekend, next post about that, and about settling in to Bratislava.