To The Racist I Had the Displeasure of Meeting Recently

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Riga Flowers

From our first conversation, I knew that you and I wouldn’t get along. You were negative and made put-downs on a regular basis; I knew I had no desire spend another moment with you after our business trip concluded.

That was fine. Part of business, as well as life, is being able to get along with people whose company you don’t enjoy. It’s not a big deal; you just get through it with a fake smile on your face and complain to your best friends as soon as you get home.

So when you said things that were increasingly out of touch, I ignored them.

When our group was talking about our favorite dates we’ve gone on recently, and I talked about how much fun I had just walking around and looking at Christmas lights with a lovely guy, and you rolled your eyes and said that you hoped he at least bought me a drink afterwards, I gritted my teeth.

When you completely ignored our servers, speaking coldly and omitting eye contact on the rare occasion that you acknowledged them, I would be extra polite and friendly to them, hoping that my warmth would make up for your rudeness. But I said nothing, rationalizing that this trip would be over soon and I likely wouldn’t see you again.

When you insisted our group of privileged travel bloggers take a smiling selfie in front of an American immigrant hard at work in the fields, I said, “No. Just us.” Then distracted you, silently begging that you wouldn’t get worse over the remaining days.

But then it got to a point where I could no longer be silent.

It was a beautiful day. We’d been wine tasting earlier and were riding together in our van. Some of the women in our group appeared intoxicated and decided to use Tinder to invite lots of guys to the bar that night. I was sober, having only consumed enough wine to document my taste impressions, and had no desire to join in the Tindering, so I stayed quiet as you scrolled through profiles.

“Oh, no,” you laughed. “No. We don’t like black guys.”

It’s such a cliché to say that time stood still, but I feel like ten minutes passed in the three seconds after you uttered that statement. Enough to hesitate my pulse, turning my blood cold before searing back with fire.

“What did you say?” I snapped as I turned around.

Our van was silent.

“Did you honestly just say, ‘We don’t like black guys?'” I continued.

Nobody said a word, the van continuing to drive along the city streets.

“Did you think there was nothing wrong with that? I can’t believe you just said that.”

Everyone in the group heard what you said. Me. You. The other three people who were participating in this travel industry trip. The liaison for the client. And the driver. Seven of us in the van altogether.

My heart thudded so hard, I heard it in my ears. Sweat broke out on my forehead as we cruised through the dark city streets. My hands didn’t stop clenching, not even as we arrived at our restaurant for the evening. Honestly, I don’t think I truly understood the phrase “my blood boiled” until that night — because I felt my heart beat in every cell of my body, my face scarlet, every pore of my body vibrating with rage.

“Okay, let’s go inside!” our liaison called out.

“I don’t know, _____,” I said to you we walked toward the entrance. “We should check and see if there are any black guys inside, because you’ve made it clear that you don’t like them!”

“Hey! You cock-blocked me!” you protested.


(For the past few days our group had jokingly used the term “cock-block” to mean jumping in front of someone while they were taking a picture, not its traditional definition of preventing someone from engaging sexually with someone else.)

“Right, _____,” I said.  “Being racist is the same thing as blocking someone’s photo.”

For the next hour, I sat as far from you as humanly possible and seethed over my gorgeous plates of food. Photos? Taken. Snaps? Sent. Notes? Evernoted. I’m a professional. I fulfill my commitments, which is more than I can say for you, taking blurry Instagrams and captioning them with a maximum of three words.

Mount Etna Sunset

It infuriates me what happened that night.

You waited until we spent a few days of us getting to know each other better and were friendly, if not outright friends. You waited until the group had been drinking and your inhibitions were lowered.

You assumed that you were in a “safe” place. A place where you didn’t have to be “politically correct” — excuse me, where you could be openly racist — and people would nod and agree.

Well, you thought wrong. I was there. And if you think I’m the kind of person who stays silent at racism, you don’t know me very well at all.

I find your views repugnant. I find your attitude reprehensible.

What infuriates me the most is that nobody joined me — I was alone in my criticism, the other four silent.

To be fair, two of the other four industry people present were not American, and I understand that even when you share a common language, it’s difficult to ascertain the social mores of race and class when you’re not a native of the country you’re visiting. I don’t hold it against them for not speaking up.

The other Americans? Yeah. You should have said something.

We work in travel. We are supposed to be open-minded, knowledgeable, and sensitive to other cultures. How the hell was it that I was the only person saying anything?!

A few courses in that night, I said to one of the travel industry people, “I’ll be informing the sponsors what _____ said tonight. Will you confirm what happened in case I need you to back me up?”

“No,” the travel industry person replied. “I don’t want to get involved.”

“I think you should get involved,” I said. “You heard everything she said.”

“I think with what _____ said, it’s just a generational thing,” the travel industry person said.

“My mom is ten years older than her and she never would have said that. Never in a million years,” I said. “It’s not like _____’s old and from the Deep South like Paula Deen. There’s no excuse.”

I gritted my way through dinner, my heart pounding the entire time.

And as soon as my professional commitments for the evening concluded, I emailed both the sponsors of this trip and your editor to make them aware of what transpired. This wasn’t to tattle or be vindictive. Both parties deserved to know that they were paying a vocal racist to represent their brand, and that your actions affected the final evening of the trip.

I sent those two emails off immediately.

Oh, and was I ever surprised to hear your editor’s response. The editor of the publication for whom you claimed to be working told me that you had written exactly one story for them, quite awhile ago, and that any claim of yours to have a current contract or assignment with them was a lie.


I expect this from newbies in their early twenties. But you, thirty years older? Liars like you are the reason why freelance writers need to secure verification letters from their editors in order to travel.

I don’t think you realize just how much you damaged your career on this trip. This industry is small. People talk. And on that evening, and the days after, everyone was talking about you.

Oh, by the way, you ruined my night. I hope you know that. But my feelings are trivial compared to the greater implications of your racist comments.

Still, I think there’s hope. Your daughter attends a university in a city where more than half the population is black. I hope that at the very least, she breaks out of her college bubble and gets to know her neighbors personally. People who didn’t have an upbringing like hers. People whom she didn’t get to know while being parented by you.

I hope that she takes this opportunity to learn that people are good, and kind, and important, even though their skin is darker than hers. Because she’s sure not learning that lesson from you.

That’s all I have to say to you.

Corfu View

White Allies: It’s Our Responsibility to Speak Up

Readers, I could have been silent that day. It was certainly the easier option, and everybody else on the trip chose that option. But that would have been a poor choice.

You don’t have to speak out the way I did. I called her out in the way I did because the moment called for it. But what do you do when the situation is more ambiguous? What if a childhood friend who is ordinarily a wonderful person, when walking through a new neighborhood in a city, says, “Are we safe? I’m nervous. There are a lot of black people here.” What do you say to that?

There are two options. To call out: to prominently and publicly call the offender on his or her behavior.

The second option? To call in. Speak to the offender privately, express your concerns, and explain why his or her statement was wrong.

Believe me, I get that it’s difficult to call someone out. As a hardcore introvert, I’m most comfortable inside my head. But this wasn’t about my personal comfort. That rage seething up in me, that boiling blood, gave me the strength to speak out.

If speaking out isn’t the right choice at the moment, that’s okay. Just reach out to your friend when you have a moment alone and say, “Dude, you really shouldn’t say that. That was wrong.” Then have a conversation.

It doesn’t have to be public. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be in person. But say something. Online. Over Skype. Anywhere. Don’t let it go without consequence.

Every time you choose not to get involved, prejudice is allowed to perpetuate. Is it just a comment? No. It’s more than that. Racist words, both of the deliberate kind and the casual kind, lead to reinforcing negative stereotypes.

When the United States elected a black president in 2008, many people said we were now living in a post-racial society. What a myth that was. President Obama’s tenure has brought long-simmering racial animosity to the surface. “Get back in the car,” I worried as he and his wife walked to his inauguration ceremony. “Please, just get back in that car.”

It’s not a postracial society when a disproportional number of black men are imprisoned*, when having a “black-sounding name” prevents young professionals from getting jobs*, when black men, women, and children — yes, children — are being killed by the American police at an alarming rate*. And that’s without taking into account the microaggressions that Latinos, Asians, and other minorities face each day. It’s not a postracial society when KKK-endorsed candidate Donald Trump holding a major party nomination for president.

Please speak up.

I know it’s not easy. But it’s our responsibility, as travelers and as people.

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132 thoughts on “To The Racist I Had the Displeasure of Meeting Recently”

  1. Thank you for writing this Kate. It just reinforces to me that you’re a blogger with strong values and ethics. Online recently I saw another blogger I follow make a racist comment, and I was pleased to see people including you speak up against. Bravo!

      1. I stumbled on your blog because my wife and I are going to Thailand for our birthday(s). All I can say is BRAVO and thanks for speaking up. Now.. back to reading about your recommendations for Thailand.

  2. I Like your blog…love the the way you write and the right & ethic mind you got!
    The world deserve more bloggers like you 🙂

    plus: you’re totally chamin’

  3. Anonymous Blogger

    There’s a good probability this was a racist person, but I also want to caution travellers who are reading this that it COULD also still have been an innocent comment, especially within an international crowd.

    I know these issues are massively sensitive in the US (for understandable reasons) but if that person had come from, say, The Netherlands, that might have been totally acceptable to say in their home country without being immediately thought of as racist, depending on context. It would be the same as saying “oh no, we don’t like blondes” or “that’s not my type”. (If they had actually said the thing about safety though, that’d clearly have been unambiguously racist no matter where they’re from.)

    It probably was a racist comment BUT in some countries it would be totally okay to say you don’t like black people on Tinder while also being 100% a tolerant, non-racist, everyone-loving, fully sensitive person. Some cultures do see themselves as post-racial which makes certain comments very different to them. So if you’re in an international travel group, I hope people won’t jump to conclusions too quickly. The bar for ‘racism’ among Americans for instance is way lower than in parts of Europe, and seemingly racist comments could be coming from people who are legitimately, honest-to-god not racist.

    (Posting anonymously as I fear people could still blindly see this comment as supporting racism.)

    1. Anonymous Blogger

      OK this is embarrassing but after reading the story more closely there’s actually little question this person is a racist. There were multiple opportunities to clarify which weren’t taken. I missed several key details to this whole thing.

      1. I was about to say – one is entitled to have a type when it comes to dating, but it wasn’t even about the person who made the comment, it was about someone else. So that was clearly a racial slur regardless where it came from.

    2. Lol nope. Sure different places have different standards and I’m more sympathetic of someone who grew up in a place where racist bull shit is considered acceptable, but it’s still racist bull shit. Nope you can’t say you don’t like Black people and still be a “tolerant” person.

    3. Agree with Anonymous Blogger. I saw this article on Facebook and expected something pretty heavy – not someone saying they don’t like black guys on Tinder. Like Anonymous Blogger said, it could be like saying you don’t like blondes.

      There is a big difference between saying you don’t like black people period and saying you don’t like black guys while swiping your way through Tinder. Yes, the latter could still be a tolerant person in, for example, The Netherlands.

      I don’t know where this person is from, and she sure doesn’t sound like a nice person. She very well may be racist.

      But I was a little underwhelmed. She likes white guys. Boohoo.

      1. Let me clarify the Tinder situation. ______ and another woman were trying to use Tinder together to bring as many men to the bar as possible. I’m familiar with this concept; in fact, we did it on one of my Central America tours last year.

        This was for the whole group. Not just her personally. And as they Tindered — “yes, no, yes, no” — the only categorical thing she said was, “We don’t like black guys.”

        After I called her out, she had multiple opportunities to say, “That’s just my preference!” or “I didn’t mean it like that!” or “I just meant for dating!” Did she say anything remotely like that? Nope. All she said was “Hey, you cock-blocked me!”

    4. I am Dutch and for me those words are exactly the same in Dutch as in English. I lived in the UK, Ireland and Holland. Why is it discrimination in the USA but not in Holland for you? We learn British English in school and not Dutch English. If I translate it to Dutch I still have the same negative words. I do agree that in some languages you can say ‘hey blondy’ in a nice way (Spanish) but the message from Kate wasn’t about the word blondy. If you have an opinion and work for a company you keep that language for your self. This giel just want to travel for free and lie about her job. I love to write articles for the Dutch tourism industry but I would never lie about my experience or discriminate. Thats why every company should write there ethics very clearly to all of their staff and freelancers.

      1. It’s not about translation. It’s about culture. It’s about how you value certain things, how people speak to one another in a country etc. It has NOTHING to do with translating words.

        It’s fine if you disagree. But your points make no sense.

        We learn British English, not Dutch English? That has nothing to do with it. The same words can work out different in different cultures, that’s what I’m saying. Actually by saying what you say you agree, so thx.

      2. It’s definitely about context, rather than direct translations of English. As someone has pointed out above if the woman had qualified what she’d said was in relation to dating black guys that would have helped. If she’s also made slightly racist comments or done slightly racist things throughout the trip then that adds context as well.

        I’m British by the way, and whilst I acknowledge there are clear differences in race relation between the UK and America, this woman was American. In the past I have stated my dating preferences (normally tending against white guys actually) and see no issue doing it, but not in such an obnoxious way.

  4. As much as you are correct that racist are wrong I think you are a victim of being short sighted. For example it’s bad that someone doesn’t want to “hook up” with black guys on Tinder but if your from the “Deep South” it automatically makes you a racist. This is actually how Obama and his disciples have increased racial tension not helped it.
    Oh and as much as I dislike Trump for President it’s not actually his fault if the KKK endorses him. He doesn’t want their endorsement and they are idiots in my opinion, of course all of us from the “Deep South” just love racist, of course.

    1. You’re confused. It doesn’t matter where you’re from.

      Not dating / talking to / including / serving / socializing with / singing with / shopping with / befriending / drinking with / employing / dancing with etc. someone because of skin color is the definition of racism.

      1. People have their personal preferences. Some individuals are more open then others for various reasons. Would you date someone who is jobless? Who is $100,000+ in debt? Who has no teeth? Maybe, but probably not. This has nothing to do with race. Stop making everything about race!!!!!

        1. Ok, let’s replace the word ‘black’ with – Jewish. Can you now tell me it’s not a racist comment?? I’m interested to hear your thoughts.
          Broad sweeping statements any particular racial or cultural group is racist!
          I’m afraid we don’t live in a post racial society, and race does matter and plays a key role. It’s clearly not an
          issue for you…luck you!!

        2. they weren’t talking about dating… they were trying to invite multiple men to a bar they were going to. Pretty sure some guys they swiped have debt and jobless, or that they probably dont care if he has no teeth.

  5. Oh my goodness, I feel so empowered by your post! As a white woman who recently had the displeasure of conversing with a Portuguese chef in Lisbon recently, I can definitely relate to the non-negociable requirement to say something.

    This man started his conversation by telling me and my boyfriend about his time living in the UK (where we’re from) and also his time living in Brazil, the Middle East, all over the world. This interested us greatly, as you would imagine, and he seemed an interesting character.

    “What do you think about Muslims?” I thought for a second I’d misunderstood him, the language barrier, the rain against the windows, something, but I then realised what I’d heard.

    “What do you mean?”

    “Do you keep up with the news? London now has a Muslim mayor. What do you think about that?” he clarified.

    “I think it’s great” not really knowing much about the appointment since I don’t live in London so not really wanting to go into too many details and show my ignorance.

    “I hate muslims. In 10 years, Europe will be completely Muslim. You watch, honestly, it will happen.”


    Even though no one else was around to hear that comment and he started chuckling as if we would agree with his hatred, how on earth could we laugh it off? How could we not say anything? Myself and my boyfriend responded by saying we we had a liberal viewpoint and welcomed anyone of Muslim faith into Britain, into our city. Our home city has a huge muslim community and I love this fact about it, it’s multicultural and diverse. Hec, our new Mayor is the first one to be openly gay, is married and going through the adoption process and used to be Mr Gay UK. Why would I not want to brag about that to literally everyone?!

    What bothered me the most about his comment was that someone who has supposedly travelled the world, who had learned to cook dishes from all over the world, had this viewpoint. I’m usually of the opinion that the most well travelled someone is, the more open they are to other cultures. But I guess a closed mind is still closed no matter where they happen to be.

    I will certainly continue to speak up against any discrimination in future, with or without an audience.

    1. I feel that your viewpoint is not a liberal one, but more accurately a just and human one. We are all on this planet together and those who respect one another individually are simply being human and just. Thankfully there are more people like you and less of the biased and unjust thinkers out there.
      Hear something racist, say something to educate and eliminate their eliminate voice is my motto.

  6. Bravo! I am shocked to see someone racist working for the “TRAVEL” industry. Traveling is all about reaching out, being out of your comfort zone, breaking down barriers, you know.. travel.

    As for Anonymous and DaninMCI who may think that this is a miscommunication in that the accused offender may intend that she did not want to hook up with black men or they are not her type or that she just doesn’t like black men on Tinder. If that is indeed the case, well, upon Kate’s confrontation, she had the opportunity to clarify her position. Instead, her only rebuttal was: “Hey you cock-blocked me!”

    The accused racist got a chance to speak her mind, she does not even deny that she is a racist, and instead made a fool of herself by going the childish route of retaliating tit-for-tat about blocking a photo. This speaks volumes about her character. That, we found out later, to be consistent with her lying about her employment.

    Even if Anonymous claims that the bar for “racism” varies between cultures (yes, like when white people colonized Africa, Middle East and Asia and claims that their actions weren’t racist because the standards are different with locals)… The accused did not deny she is not racist. The accused definitely crossed the racism line wherever she may be, but especially given that she is American and given America’s history with the black people.

    In addition, don’t forget her statement was: “No. WE don’t like black guys.”

    Who’s WE? White girls? Privileged travelers? How did she presume that everybody in the group didn’t like black guys other than if she perceives that they are above/better than black guys. How is that not racism? This is clearly beyond personal preference.

    1. Anonymous Blogger

      Well, I just read through the whole story again more carefully instead of quickly on my lunch break, and I drop my case entirely. This does sound like a total racist. On my first read I missed the initial ‘confrontation’ in the van, and understood the ‘we’ to mean her/him and a friend sitting next or something and not ‘us white people in this van’. Fuck it, this person is racist and needed to be called out. Sorry for having skimmed over these details, Kate is totally right.

  7. It’s always disappointing when a fellow traveler turns out to be terrible. I feel like as travelers we’re supposed to be open minded and accepting as a rule. But I have also learned that it’s not always the case. I will say that people like this person must have to try extra hard to be ignorant to their own privilege when they’ve seen so much more of the world than most people.

  8. Love this post and love that you refuse to remain silent in the face of racism, however casual.

    As you know, I frequently discuss topics of race and privilege on my blog because as a black woman who travels extensively, racism and prejudice is something I deal with on an almost *daily* basis. So I am naturally compelled to call out/call in this sort of injustice. You don’t have to, but you do. I dig that.

    I wish more people like yourself (white, relatively privileged) did, but they often stay silent (like your colleagues on the press trip) because:

    a) they don’t feel that they are implicated or that it concerns them– they aren’t black/Asian/hispanic/other minority after all, so it’s not their battle to fight.
    b) they don’t want to get involved because it’s too “messy”.
    c) they are completely oblivious as to why statement like that are wrong because “they aren’t even really racist!”
    d) they simply don’t care.

    Regardless, staying silent is being complicit with the inappropriate behaviour.

    (Sad) Fact: we (and when I say we, I mean the most common victims of racism– blacks/ Asians/ latinos) need allies. Allies like you who are white, privileged and able to grab the ears/ attention of other white, privileged people who don’t see why casual statements like you detailed in your post aren’t racist and unfair.

    Because, you see, when I stand up to these behaviours I’m simply an “Angry Black Woman” with a chip on her shoulder. Sadly, I don’t have the ‘credibility’ that you do, which though terrible is a reality I have come to terms with.

    1. I just read your article on casual racism and thought it was interesting – something that needs to be understood more broadly. I’ve already commented on the content in this particular post, but something continued to gnaw at me afterwards. I remembered a comment made by Kate related to her experience traveling with Air China. It struck me as strange at the time and came to mind quickly when I read this post.

      As part of an explanation for why Kate won’t travel with Air China in the future she says, “Second, the flight was filled with mainland Chinese, who have different standards of manners. There was a lot of shouting, shoving, and invasion of space.”

      That feels like a huge generic, stereotypical generalization.

      Given your comments here and your own blog post, I’m curious about what you think regarding this. Is it different than Liz’s Instagram? Aside from it being far less direct, how is this any different than what was said in that van?

      1. That sounds more like a recount of her experience than a generalization. If there was shouting and shoving, then there was shouting and shoving. That’s pretty irrefutable.

        On whether or not the Chinese have different standards of manners, they do. As someone who lived there for ten months, I can testify that what she says is a fact. Her words are not an opinion or a generalization, nor are they actually negative in any way. They are simply true. The standard of manners in mainland China is different. And if Kate doesn’t like the standard of manners, she is an adult and she can decide whether or not she wants to fly that airline.

        1. By all means, she should avoid Air China if she doesn’t like it. My question was related to whether or not the comment about mainland Chinese could be considered casual racism by someone who has written on the subject publicly. And, how the comment differs from the one made in the van. After numerous readings of the post, I still had a hard time understanding if the comment made in the van was truly racism or a woman’s sexual preference. And my reason for wanting an opinion is to understand the situation (and the larger problem) myself. I appreciate your thoughts on it, but wasn’t criticizing Kate’s desire to fly one airline or another.

          To me, the comment read like a generalization. One that struck me as strange when I read it, but now even stranger given the interaction in the many comments here. But, again, I’m trying to understand the notion of casual racism and its forms.

          Saying that folks from mainland China have a different standard of manners, causing them to shove and push in the aisles of an airplane is no different than criticizing them in a hashtag for shoving and pushing their way to get a good photo in New Zealand.

          Kate certainly said it in a less offensive and more professional way, but the underlying message is the same.

          In any event, I’ll continue to learn about this. And this post, along with these comments and responses are all helpful in forming my own opinion and feelings on it.

  9. Hats off to you for speaking up, Kate.

    I also want to add, there are many shades and varieties of racism, all over the world. In the USA, the painful scar of slavery has created tension around relationships between whites and blacks. In other countries, there are historical reasons for racism between different groups.

    In my life, because I live half the year in Canada and half in India — a post-colonial country — I notice a lot of racism among bloggers and in the media that is not so easy to call out. A blogger wrote a post entitled “Why North India sucks” for example which I though was extremely disrespectful. Another blogger who was there a couple of years ago wrote posts filled with terrible judgements. Sometimes it seems because it’s India, westerners feel they can say whatever they want.

    There is an increasing number of articles on the internet that are racist towards white women these days. There was one about how white women shouldn’t be teaching yoga for example. Again, some people think they can say whatever they want about white women.

    I always use the “change the word” test. If you change the word India for Italy in the example above, I wonder of the blogger would still have titled her blog post that way: “Why North Italy Sucks.” Or the person who wrote the article about white women and yoga. Would she have written “Black women should not be teaching yoga.” Simple way to highlight subtle racism.

    1. Thank you for sharing and highlighting your experience with racism in other countries. I agree with you that the historical background of a place outlines the types of racism that may be prevalent in the region. It is interesting that you mention the “white women teaching yoga” phenomenon. I do think it would have sounded unambiguously racist if the author wrote “Black women should not be teaching yoga”. However, black people have not historically colonizing and appropriating culture of the colonized as do white people.

      I don’t disagree that “white women should not teach yoga” is subtle racism, but it may also be a slight criticism on colonialism. The Dutch Rijsttafel is an appropriation of Indonesian culture, adapted by upperclass Dutch ladies, but I don’t think that’s racist. Criticism towards white persons (women) who go to third world countries to volunteer for 2 weeks and do photo ops with barefoot orphans, are in my opinion, a criticism of colonial attitudes and not necessarily racism, if that makes sense.

      Meanwhile, anywhere you go in Asia, Asians are generally openly racist towards black people.

    2. I know, racism does come in so many different forms. I was completely blindsided when I moved to the UK and experienced the anti-Asian racism that fills the country. Asian, in this case, usually meaning South Asian.

      About how white women shouldn’t teach yoga, though, that sounds to me like it’s coming from a cultural appropriation standpoint. I personally see nothing wrong with that (as I’m sure most people agree!) and I think the line about cultural appropriation is whether you’re coming from a place of respect for the culture.

  10. Recently Liz at young adventurous made a public racist comment on Instagram. She offered a weak apology, mainly because people we’re telling her sponsors. I wonder if you would have reacted the same way to her?

    1. What Liz said on Instagram was wrong and racist. How she responded to her readers who called it out made the situation even worse.

      Liz is a close friend of mine and I also mentored her in the past. For this reason, I chose to “call in”, as I discussed in the post — we had a long private discussion about it and I explained why what she did was wrong.

      She seriously f*cked up. She was hurtful and I made sure she knew that. She’s got her work cut out for her in building up her readers’ trust again.

      We’ll see how things are going forward.

      1. I’m so happy to hear that you offered some tough love to Liz. I personally unfollowed all of her accounts after seeing her racist comment and disgusting, pompous responses to her loyal readers. I will never go to her blog again. Total lack of awareness & accountability on her part – very disappointing.

        I love your blog because it’s SO MUCH more than just pretty travel photos and vapid sponsored content. You incite discussion about economic disparity and social injustice. You recommend books and encourage thoughtful, politically informed dialogue through your writing. Never change, Kate!

  11. I don’t want to heap too much more praise on you for something you yourself say is the bare minimu to be a good person but not many people understand that racism is white people’s responsibility to eradicate. Racists don’t listen to people of color. White people need to use their priveledge to make white spaces antiracist

    1. This post is a great example of a generalization and therefore racist. As if only white people are racist please get educated.

  12. If you weren’t already my hero and favourite blogger this would have cemented it. I’m so glad you spoke up in this situation and was brave enough to highlight it as an issue here. I’ve had a similar experiencing with calling out sexist comments or terribly sexist jokes, and when no one backs you up or also calls out it can leave you feeling a little isolated. So good on you for doing the right thing!

  13. Thanks for that Kate. Thank you so much! I recently had a similar issue…well, not with racism but with sexism and it was in a group of friends which made it so awkward but I stood my ground. And as you said, someone very close to me was involved, I spoke up again quietly afterwards telling him he was wrong and hurtful. It is so important we speak up, not only for ourselves but for everyone especially if they don’t have a voice. Thank you!!

  14. Argh, how awful. Kuddos for speaking up…if I were there I would have joined you. My family is mixed so we sure as hell speak up. Living in Hawaii race has never been much of an issue but when we go back to Texas, there’s lots of little things that constantly surprise me.

  15. Racism and bigotry is wrong in all forms as are assumptions of people in geographic areas. I can’t believe anyone uses Tinder to begin with and thinks that you can pick a person on looks and swipe right or left based upon superficial bullshit. Maybe that’s a generational thing, but in any case I feel that the app leads to racism because people limit a potential soulmate based upon color or looks. Also, it’s just as bad to say southern people are more expected to come out with racist statements – I have lived in Texas for 22 years, traveled extensively in the south and find that when I spend my summers up north in my birthplace have encountered more racist comments here in New England in one summer than the totality of comments in the south over 22 years. You are adding to the stereotype and doing an injustice to race relations with assumptions like that. I always speak up and never tolerate it. I have benefitted from formal sensitivity training and learned about micro aggressions and am educated about it which empowers me to speak up. Some people are just ignorant and need an awakening and training. You made a good step towards helping that person realize their hurtful comments and hopefully they will soul search and change their ways.
    Bravo for speaking up, now lay of the broad brush of the south. Traveling there and meeting a few rednecks does not make a racist geographic location.
    Cheers, P

    1. Hey — I never said Southerners were racist. Not at all. This is what I said:

      “I think with what _____ said, it’s just a generational thing,” the travel industry person said.
      “My mom is ten years older than her and she never would have said that. Never in a million years,” I said. “It’s not like _____’s old and from the Deep South like Paula Deen. There’s no excuse.”

      Paula Deen is in her late sixties and grew up in Savannah, which is part of the Deep South, unlike Texas. She grew up during Jim Crow. When it was revealed that she had made racist comments, people were angry — but nobody was surprised. You are a product of your upbringing, and when you grow up in the fifties and sixties in not just the Deep South, but a city that at the time was famously self-isolating, you need to actively work to overcome the prejudices that you were taught as a child. People CAN overcome these prejudices, but it’s not easy and you need to genuinely want to change.

      If the famous TV chef making racist comments had been, say, Giada de Laurentiis, who is a quarter century younger and grew up in Italy and California, people would have been both angry and shocked.

      I mean, if I told you that a Food Network chef said something racist and it was either Paula Deen or Giada de Laurentiis and you would win a million dollars if you guessed correctly, you know you’d pick Paula Deen.

      That doesn’t mean that everyone from the Deep South is racist — far from it! But you can’t deny that the scars from slavery and Jim Crow in the Deep South continue to influence behavior to this day, especially if you’re older.

      1. I have lived in the actual deep south for the past 13 years (Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia), and I can vouch for this. Racism is very prominent, especially (and mostly) in the older generations. I won’t repeat some of the things I have heard, but typically they say something awful and write it off as cute or a joke. The first time this happened, I didn’t say anything. It was an employer, a wealthy white man in his late 60’s, and I was only 20 and “fresh off the boat” from the north. (My work nickname was “Doodle” — as in Yankee, to give you an idea of how far south I was.)

        I can only hope it gets weaker with every passing generation, but 100 years of staunch, deep-rooted elitism is a tough weed to eradicate. Many old-school southerners still believe they were wronged — that a traditional and lucrative lifestyle was stolen from them. Until they can move beyond the victim identity or that generation dies out without passing too much poison to the next, I won’t be holding my breath.

        1. I would like to follow that up though with the fact that there are signs it’s going in the right direction. A recent visit to Thomas Jefferson’s home of Monticello revealed a revitalized program highlighting slavery on the property. And they call it what it was — “Slavery at Monticello.” It was ugly and refreshing in its honesty — something more of us need to see to understand the roots of racism in the U.S.

  16. Couldnt be more on board if I built the boat myself. Speaking out is the only option. I’ve been the lone voice many times because people were too uncomfortable or scared to say something not understanding that their silence is endorsement. The only way to prevent it is to speak. I’ve lost friends, alienated others and made it beyond uncomfortable for myself in many situations. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, clammy hands and ringing in my ears that comes with each time (hate confrontations) reminds me why it’s so important. If the simple act of saying something I believe in affects me that much imagine the power of letting those words go unchecked and spreading because I didn’t speak. So thank you for taking a pubic stance and reminding more people why it is so important we all do. It’s the only way to create change and raise awareness. It is not ok ever.

  17. I’m so proud that you spoke up 🙂

    It’s so common for people to “not want to rock the boat” because they want to avoid conflict. It takes courage to be the only one to speak up, especially when no one is backing you up.

  18. MaryAnn Saffery

    Kudos Kate!

    I truly believe that when “good people do NOTHING, evil prevails. Years ago when the Equal Opportunity in the workplace started. The insurance company I worked for, hired 5 black men for the executive training program. As a recent graduate of the program, some co-workers and I were asked to tutor the newbies.

    Having grown up in an all white suburb, I was curious about these men. One man was from Nigeria and had the most exotic and awesome voice, one grew up on the wrong side of Chicago, one grew up in a rich black family and two grew up hard in ghettos. What they all had in common was fear of white people due to bad experiences. I was shocked into tears when 6 of us went to lunch one day, and were asked to leave because my co-workers made the mostly white customers nervous. I felt so bad I’ve never gone to that restaurant since, These men were really nice guys, husbands and fathers who just wanted to be respected.

  19. Mmmmm WOW, the tinder comment___ made seemed like a dating preference NOT a generalized dislike of Black people. You however, made it into a generalization by your comment about black guys inside.
    This is why the others in the group did not back you up.
    You also made statements of how ” it made YOU feel” photos, waitresses etc. I did not read where the others in the group had any complaints or Ill feelings.
    And really??? bringing up the KKK and Donald Trump. Donald Trump did not seek out this unwanted endorsement.
    What good or purpose did it give you to inform the sponsors of your perception? Did you feel a sense of accomplishment?
    It seems to me YOU were the only one to complain and feel the need to say quips back to _______.
    Were you having a really bad couple of days? Did you need rest? It seems everything annoyed you.
    Next time you may want to write and get out all your angry feelings, sit on it for a few days before you take aggressive action.
    Then delete.
    After reading and re reading your article, _____ intent did not seem racist.
    I enjoy your travel blog and always look forward to your post, but this post made me feel sad for you.

    1. Let me clarify the Tinder situation. ______ and another woman were trying to use Tinder together to bring as many men to the bar as possible. I’m familiar with this concept; in fact, we did it on one of my Central America tours last year.

      This was for the whole group. Not just her personally. And as they Tindered — “yes, no, yes, no” — the only categorical thing she said was, “We don’t like black guys.”

      After I called her out, she had multiple opportunities to say, “That’s just my preference!” or “I didn’t mean it like that!” or “I just meant for dating!” Did she say anything remotely like that? Nope. All she said was “Hey, you cock-blocked me!”

      And by all means, keep on defending Donald Trump. Come on, he played dumb and said, “I know nothing about the KKK.” It took several days before he actually acknowledged that the KKK are not a decent organization.

  20. Thank you for taking a stand on this and writing about it. Racism, even if in jokes, is not something which should be tolerated anymore.

    Respect !

  21. Dorte Christiansen

    It takes a lot of energy and curage to stand up to other people, when you think something is not right.
    And you Kate… you’ve got the curage to do so.

  22. I’m going to be in the minority for saying this but at the end of the day I feel like people are overly sensitive to what people say these days. No one knows what her motivations were by saying that. She might have been trying to get a reaction out of people because she needs attention, maybe that’s her personal preference, or maybe she is in fact racist. Either way tell her to f**k off she isn’t worth your spent energy at the end of the day. Most people are opposed to confrontation by nature so I can’t fault the others for not saying something. I commend you for doing what you felt was right.

  23. Well said Kate! Too often it’s easier to stay silent, and I know I’ve been guilty of that in the past. People need to hear that this kind of talk is completely unacceptable. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Hope you’ve got this one right Kate…

    You clearly didn’t like her from the start.

    You’ve sniped at her blurry Instagrams. Bit Bitchy.

    You seem like you’re gloating in the fact that you’re hurting her career after “exposing” her.

    That selfie in front of a picture of an immigrant in a field is clearly not what you’re making it out to be.

    Not liking Black Guys on Tinder?? Wow. That’s dangerous territory to be calling someone racist.

    Your right, the industry is small. Hope you’ve got this one right…

    1. Sara…I’m with you. Kate is certainly well within her rights to think this woman was racist. I’m from the south as well…one’s views on racism are partially dependent on your upbringing. To me…this woman’s original comment was not necessarily racist but I can see how someone that pretty much identifies as a northeast liberal elite might think so. Kate’s follow up snide comment about checking the place out for black guys is definitely racist in my opinion…and goes farther across the line than not wanting to see particular profiles on Tinder.

      Whether it was or was not racist isn’t really my point though. Kate is well within her rights to speak to the woman about it.

      However…speaking out and publicly shaming her including emailing her editor (who may have been the magazine editor and not the individual she is working with…so just because the chief editor doesn’t know about it doesn’t mean she’s lying) and the trip sponsor is way, way out of line.

      You’re right…it’s a small industry and it is pretty clear from Kate’s writings that she doesn’t like this woman and has already sniped at her photos and lack of professionalism. Given her clear bias…this looks an awful lot like lack of professionalism to me. Sure…speak to the woman but after butt out…it’s not her place to tattle (which is exactly what it was despite her protestations to the contrary) or to attempt to publicly shame this woman and damage her career.

      Careful Kate…I generally like your writings even though I’m not a northeast liberal but a southern middle to conservative side…not Tea Party as those folks go way too far. You’re wrong on this one…not for not liking what she said and not for speaking to her about it…but for belittling and public shaming her and clearly attempting to affect her career…all the while pretty much gloating about it…which is clearly the tone of the post to me.

      1. Dude, if I actually wanted to ruin her career, I would have named her. It would have been easy enough to do that.

        I find it interesting how often you bring up the expression “northeast liberal elite” in your comments. You bet I’m liberal. I’ve been liberal my whole life. Why is the region where I’m from so important? And what makes me an elite, anyway? I’m definitely privileged, and I’m very fortunate to have a college degree and to be self-employed, but what makes that elite, anyway? Most of the time when I hear “liberal elite” it’s from people who look down on education.

        I will add that of all the long-term travelers I know — and that’s several hundreds of people — I can’t name a single conservative. Traveling gives you a newfound sense of the world that doesn’t jive with conservative policies. You see the effects of climate change when you visit glaciers. You see that there are options for strong gun control, like in Japan and Switzerland, that work. You injure yourself in a country with universal healthcare and you’re not bankrupted. Visit almost any country in the world — even Saudi Arabia! — and see that women get paid maternity leave by law. The US is the only industrialized country not to do that.

        1. I think that rather the reason you didn’t name her was because ofd possible legal ramifications…even if you won a libel suit it would still have cost you money to defend yourself.

          I have no issue with people with progressive views…most of them that are less than far left wing are interested in negotiation with those of us with views on the center/right and coming up with solutions. What are typically called NE liberal elites (I didn’t invent the term) are those from that section of the country who just know that they’re smarter than those ignorant right wingers and are convinced that they’re the only adults in the room and the rest of us should just sit down and shut up so that the adults can do what they absolutely know to the core of their being is the right thing to do. The rest of us should just pay our taxes and let the ‘adults’ get on with fixing the problems of the world.

          I have no sympathy for Tea Party people either…they are also not interested in any sort of compromise…but I do believe that far left policies of tax and spend and give the poor people everything they want at the expense of those who have more money…because we all know that they didn’t get it by hard work but by trickery and favored tax policies…well, that idea is just plain wrong.

          However…as I initially said…you have every right to confront the woman. However, it’s very clear from your post that you don’t like the woman, don’t believe she’s a ‘real travel blogger’, and your post is pretty much a public shaming of her. That you don’t have any right to do…when you do that you become part of the problem instead of the solution and demonstrate the typical NE attitude…sit down and let the adults fix things.

          I don’t look down on graduation…got one myself and it allowed me to be a Navy officer and have well paying jobs afterwards in the DC area…which in turn allows me to live in the style of retirement I want to have. Your suggestion that those of us who don’t particularly like ‘liberal elites’ hate education…well, that shows just as much bias as you claim they do.

          Again though…it’s not your taking her on *personally* that I have an issue with…it’s the self righteous attitude against one of those ‘wrong thinking racist southerners’ that’s just as wrong as what you accuse her of.

          You don’t know very many conservative travel bloggers because most travel bloggers are young people…and that age group tends to be liberal because they think they know everything and how to fix the problems of the world…and don’t have much money generally so pay relatively fewer taxes than those with larger salaries and investments. Conservatives generally tend to be older and have more money…which is almost always earned by them and not passed down from the previous generation…and are tired of the tax and spend policies of liberals who are really, really great at spending other people’s money.

          I have no problem paying taxes…but the 1% liberals like to talk about pay the vast majority of all the income tax paid in the country…but the liberals only talk about them ‘not paying their fair share’ and ‘they need to pay more’.

          This really isn’t about liberal/conservative or richer/poorer though…it’s about your post…which as I said makes you guilty of things just as bad as what you accuse her of…but your self-righteousness prevents you from seeing it.

          1. PBI – this isn’t a political thing at all. This is a travel blog. Travel = open your mind and meet different people. Traveling is not marriage. You’re not picking a life partner or voting for president. By that extension, Tinder is also not for picking life partner. YOLO.

    2. You bet.

      About the Instagrams, I should clarify that we were hired on this trip to promote the brand across social media, including Instagram. If all you can muster up is blurry, washed-out photos with three-word comments, that’s incredibly unprofessional.

  25. I am so proud of you Kate! As Kate’s Mom, I just want to say that she did the right thing by speaking up and letting the racist know that it was unacceptable behavior to belittle a whole group of people because of the color of their skin. Do any of us have a choice about our attributes? Did we put in an order with God before we are born for white skin, blue eyes, etc? Of course not. Kate gave the person an opportunity to backtrack and repair her slur. That person did not take the opportunity. The bystanders, yes the bloggers who said nothing, had the opportunity to support Kate, but they did not. It was a missed opportunity. Perhaps, in the future, you will know how to handle a situation like this and act.

    What might have happened if there had been a person of color sitting in the van with you? Would you have spoken up then? Prejudice is learned behavior. You learn it from your family. You also learn to fight intolerance, often from your family. Maybe you missed those lessons. But now, you know what to do. I hope that next time this happens, and it will – you will have the courage to speak up for the disparaged.

    I hope that one day, our grandchildren will grow up in a world that is tolerant. It is possible. I work for the Boston Public Schools and children of all races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, economic back grounds, disabilities, and yes, sexual orientations learn and play well together every day. I know it is possible when I see my students laughing and competing side by side – completely oblivious of their differences. Strive to make change! Kate, I am so proud of you! Stamp out prejudice! Mama

    1. ^^ could your family be more awesome?! Thank you for supporting Kate in all she has achieved and helping her foster such positive values. We’ve all benefited from her work and how you’ve raised her! Thank you!

  26. I believe browbeating someone into my own way of thinking would be another form of discrimination.

    ” I like me a little dark chocolate with my Tinder “

  27. Alexander Buska

    I grew up in communism and can tell you first hand that America’s society today is eerie similar to that of a communist country. You can never be yourself and speak freely because you never know who is the snitch among the people around you. While in communism the state would come after you , now the whole weight of the society is on you should you chose not to be part of the herd mentality.

    I despise racism too, fighting it has cost the lives of many of my people, but what is happening today is completely shameful. The right to speak their mind applies to everyone, regardless of their opinion. We may not agree with them and even find them detesting but it is their right. This was not in a work environment (looking at Tinder) it was a private situation, where everyone should have the right to be who they want without fear of retribution. And you made that your personal agenda, even though reading at your post it seems like you had it for this person from the get go. You are picking on tacky little things and making this a “just war”. Part of you knows you are wrong, hence you decided to post here asking for the herd’s acceptance and approval. You are not right and what you did is shameful. You are attempting to silence someone’s right of expression because it does not agree with yours. That is dictatorship. You did that by going after their income, not by effectively convincing them why their opinions are wrong, which is dirty and just as a disgusting of an act as their opinion. What you did will not change their mind, will only reinforce their opinions, only know they will be more careful.

    If you tomorrow ask why Trump is so popular, rest assured is because of actions like yours. It is because he is someone that can tell all those that have chosen to be more careful: ” It is OK to think like you do”. These people are not necessarily racist, or bigoted, (Hell she just did not want black guys on Tinder), they are people that do not follow the mainstream train of thought. So rather than bringing them to the discussion table and show them why their opinions are wrong by shaming their opinions and forcing them to go silent you are only making matters worse. You single handily created (if not already) another Trump supporter. Freedom of speech does not apply only to people that share the same thoughts as you.

    1. J.D. Benavidez


      Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences of saying things; it means the government can stop you from saying what you want. Anybody can say anything homophobic, racist, stupid, sexist, etc. The rest of us can say that person is horrible. We have the freedom to say that.

      People who like Trump, if they like him because he says, “It is OK to think like you do,” are wrong. They are racist. It doesn’t matter if someone says it’s okay to think it. They are wrong and we shouldn’t stand aside and let trash humans spew garbage all over the rest of us. We should stand up and call them out.

      1. I guess you really need to go and research freedom of speech…it means that (with certain exceptions like “Fire.” in a crowded movie theater) one can say what one wants.

        Another person may not like it…and as I said before Kate is certainly free to do so…and to speak to the woman about it. Getting nasty (i.e., the comment about checking for black guys inside the venue), being a tattletale, trying to affect the person’s career, and public shaming in what is clearly an attempt to minimize the other’s income, voice, and freedom of speech…well, that’s just completely across the line. She does not have the right to do that…but like a very large percentage of what one would categorize as northeast liberal elitists…she’s happy to have freedom of speech as long as you agree with her position. That is most definitely not the definition of “freedom of speech”.

        Yes…if one is offended…stand up and call the other person out in person and attempt to convince them of the error of their ways…but as I said before a large degree of what today is deemed to be the definition of racism is a product of your environment growing up…that doesn’t make it right or wrong…just different. However, attacks of the nature in this post go far, far beyond reasonable discussion.

        1. J.D was correct, Neil. Freedom of speech means that the government can’t arrest you for what you say. It doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want, whenever you want, without consequence.

          If I had called the government to report her, yes, that would be an overreach. But continue believing whatever you want to believe.

          1. Your problem is that you’re wrong and refuse to believe it.

            As I said…you are well within your rights to think she was racist…and well within your rights to speak *to her* about it. Doing this thinly disguised attack piece attempting to publicly shame her and trying to affect her livelihood is just plain wrong.

            Nobody appointed you the racism police. She can say whatever she wants…but who made you the arbiter of what is and isn’t racist and what should be done about it. Typical liberal attitude that every opinion that differs from your own is wrong and should be punished.

    2. Brilliant, Alexander – finally someone said it. I am getting increasingly tired of these self-righteous posts from once popular bloggers.

    3. That’s not what freedom of speech means, Alexander. Freedom of speech means that the government can’t arrest you for what you say. It doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want without consequences.

      It blows my mind how many people don’t understand this.

      Oh, and this WAS a work environment, by the way. We were still on the clock. It was still the middle of the day, working on a campaign for a brand. The fact that they were Tindering in the middle of a business trip was unprofessional, as was getting that drunk in the middle of the day, even though I didn’t explicitly say so in this post.

    4. America is becoming more totalitarian (esp with Trump) and more alike to communist countries (I grew up in a nationalist red wing conservative country). The fact that in USA you can’t criticize the police, the military, and the authority, is very scary. Kids are being forced to stand up and pledge allegiance to the flag is creepy. I had to do that when I was a kid in my country. We stood facing pictures of our leader and sang songs with hands to our hearts. I know when it creeps back in and it is happening now. just you see.

  28. Kate well done on speaking up. It shouldn’t be something that you’re applauded for, it should be second nature for everybody to call out the racist bulls**t and stop small minded statements from being heard, but unfortunately it’s not and people like you, the ones who have the courage to stand up for people despite introversion and company that refuse to, are what is making things better.

    Thank-you for being so brave, thank-you for being so open-minded and thank-you for not only speaking up, but for continuing to after the fact and raising awareness for such an important subject xo

  29. This is just sad. The situation and the person… just sad sad sad.
    How can anyone really still be like this? How have people not realized we are all brothers and sisters just with different outfits and looks? We are all related.
    Just absolutely ignorant and disgraceful… and for this person to be a traveler? I’m scared to know what else she has done or said while abroad. I’m sure she has treated others in other countries with disrespect, from your description, this is nothing new, this is the way she must always act.

    It’s scary. Thank you for speaking up. I tried to put myself in your shoes, and I really think I would have said something as well. I’m pretty outspoken, and for someone to say that so casually like it was nothing, FUCK no. Good work calling her out and reaching out to those who thought they were supporting a good traveler. I don’t wish bad things upon people, but I do hope something hits her hard (figuratively speaking) and she understands the ignorance of her ways.
    Thanks again for speaking up, we need to… Otherwise, the ignorance will continue to perpetuate.

    PS Edna’s post came out just after this one… (well that’s how I saw it on my timeline at least 🙂 ) and I just scheduled both to spread the word. I think your posts will help open SOME eyes, at the least. <3

    1. Thank you very much, Nina! And don’t send any bad vibes toward her. Even without the race and privilege comments, she was extremely unprofessional throughout the trip and if that is how she usually behaves, she won’t be successful in this career.

  30. Good on you Kate!

    I love the fact that you stood your ground when the bus went silent, and also called him out on his bullshit. Do your best to not associate yourself around people like that, I’m sure he also complains about ‘immigrants taking jobs’ or ‘that they should send the refugees back home’.
    People these days are so quick to throw the blame of their own mistakes and piss poor excuse of a life onto other people as if they’re a superior breed. We’re all human, black, green, white, red or blue.

    In Australia we call people like that FLOGS!


  31. I read your original article on this trip and completely agree with your opinion – racism is racism, it doesn’t matter how old the person is. Its a shame that she thinks these little gestures and comments are ok. I’d love to know what blogger it is – I can’t believe she lied regarding her editor.

    1. I’m not going to reveal her. No reason for that.

      Even without the racist comment, she was one of the least professional people I’ve done a trip with and if that is how she usually conducts herself, she won’t be successful in this industry.

  32. Well done Kate for speaking up. In my opinion traveler should mind their words when they are in someone else country as not to get into unnecessary trouble. Once again I salute to you for speaking up.
    Sam Salleh

  33. Marlena Rodriguez

    Dear Kate,

    What purpose do you think this post truly serves beyond pointing fingers at a fellow travel blogger and it reading like some ill written gossip rag about a pampered press trip gone wrong?

    I myself am of a minority, so agree that the racism comments were in extremely poor taste, yet I can’t help but find it comical that you’re sitting there congratulating yourself for writing a 500+ word blog post to single handedly fight racism in America. Get over yourself.

    Imagine someone walking by a car crash, pointing and saying “there’s a car crash.” They are doing nothing to help the situation beyond pointing out the obvious. You sitting at a your complimentary dinner on your complimentary press trip while pointing to a conversation and saying “that’s racist” is quite literally useless. If you want to impact change and actually leverage your following to do good, why not go volunteer with organizations that support minorities? Why not go support not-for-profits fighting to protect the rights of minorities? This reads like a cheap, shock-value story to get attention and comments for something that happened MONTHS ago. What have you done since then to further the equality of races? Do you do anything of substance? Support any communities, organizations, efforts? Chances are, nothing but take on more free press trips. On a final note, you’re right that the industry is devastatingly small. Using your blog, social media and following to skewer another blogger and email their editor is seriously shameless. Grow up, Kate.

  34. I have friends who prefer guys with beards. Some who won’t date a guy shorter than them. It’s a personal preference related to who they are not attracted to. None of us were in that car with you, but I can’t help but read this and wonder if she was stating a personal preference that you used as fodder for a strange, awkward and uncharacteristic blog post. Plus, it’s possible that you have now negatively impacted her income because she prefers to meet white guys on Tinder.

    I agree that racism should be called out – and a public forum with a significant reach is a great way. I tried to feel what you were feeling when you wrote it and just couldn’t get behind it. I worry you’ve missed the mark here and now impacted her income because you’ve decided a comment came from a place of racism without actually talking to her about it.

    Being combative in this situation doesn’t help the cause. I’d find this post significantly more compelling if you’d actually had a conversation with her about her thoughts instead of making your own rude remarks to her as you walked into a restaurant.

  35. Good on you for speaking up
    Kate. I grew up in a pretty racist, close minded New Jersey suburb and comments like this weren’t just acceptable, they were funny, promoted. As a Latina who could and did pass for white, as a young girl raised in a very liberal home, I was always appalled by these comments but at a loss for how to handle them

    I appreciate you clarifying how people
    Should respond. To those thinking you wrote this just to shame
    Someone else, I think your advice on how to handle it, shows that wasn’t the purpose. I give you kuddos for speaking up that night but more importantly for showing this IS racist. It’s NOT acceptable. And it does need to be called out. Especially if people
    Are making their living by traveling and should be open minded to all Cultures.

  36. I have to write something because this and your earlier ridiculousness about the “farmworker” in the background. You are so misguided, Kate, and have chosen a platform that is without foundation.

    I know the person you are referring to but she does not know I am writing this. I was alerted to your accusations by another person on this trip who was shocked at how you have portrayed a totally innocent event. From all accounts, it was you who was unbearable to be around on said press trip and, even though each writer tried to be cooperative, it was you who poo-pooed activities, was rude to waiters, video-ed yourself while others were presenting and jumped in front of others taking photos (that was the “cock-block” not an actual cock block).

    I have traveled with this writer and she is kind and inquisitive. She is the first one to want to get to know locals and local customs. In any sense of the word, she is not a racist.

    If you are taking a photo of a working farm in wine country, by all means get a photo that portrays actual working on the farm. In all of your food and landscape photos, aren’t the ones that get notice the ones with people?! And to show those taking care of the land is compelling. I write about wine, too, and I can tell you that the camaraderie among the management and the workers is one of the most amazing aspects of harvest…and visit any winery website and you will see their vineyard workers highlighted front and center. Many of those that started in that position are in management now.

    And now to this most recent accusation. Surely you have more going on in your life than to dredge up your cruel intentions of several months ago. The person you refer to was not cruising Tinder, but simply looking at another woman’s Tinder account. They said all kinds of things like “no tattoos”, “too short” and the “black man” comment had to with the fact that this guy had no shirt on and was not attractive. Of course, when you piped up saying “you hate black men” no one would react. It had nothing to do with racism, just a preference from what I was told.

    From what I heard you scolded everyone and said “ok you have had fun but we must be mature and nice to the owners of this restaurant.” While uncalled for, that was what you said. Then you yelled to this poor woman “You hate black men!” She said “No” and walked into the restaurant.

    I guess that is when you decided to turn a nice evening into one of rage and vengeance. This writer did nothing to deserve you trying to destroy her and you should never have contacted anyone. Many people are aware of. who you reached out to and it was petty. Why do you have to demean someone else to make your so-called point.

    This attitude kind of works when someone else on the trip told me you have moved to Harlem to be more with the people and less “of privilege.” I have news for you. My very wealthy cousins just bought on W. 134th and balance that with their Hamptons beach house and their upstate property. Harlem has been discovered….a while ago.

    The writer you have slandered has a bevy of attorneys in her family. Although you did not name her, you have named her to her outlets and other writers. Most rejected what you said but no publication likes to be told they have a “racist” contributor. It is a very dangerous allegation. And why would you ever mention a daughter? So unnecessary and mean-spirited and it does seem some of your readers have seen through you.

    1. Hey, anonymous —

      Just so you know, the IP address on this comment shows it was made from _______’s hometown.

      I called you out because your behavior was deeply disappointing, ______. Even in your comment, you don’t acknowledge saying anything in protest but “You cock-blocked me!” I think that speaks for itself.

      If you would like to speak to me directly under your actual name, ______, feel free to email me.

      1. yep. I live near the so-called __________ and she is well-regarded – and it appears that your direct attacks on her character to her outlets have not diminished her writing. But why would you do it if not out of jealousy or spite?

  37. Hi Kate, your post really made tears spring to my eyes. I could really feel the rage you probably have felt in that moment, and it made me so furious and sad at the same time.
    I went to India last month, it was a group trip with people I’ve never seen before in my life. There was this elderly couple who have been all around the globe, but they kept saying things like “For an Indian, our tour guide does quite a good job” or (as an Indian with darker skin colour approached us, which is not common in Northern India) “Oh my God, when I see people that dark, I always feel sick”.
    I was so shocked that people who have been to many different parts of the world already could be so racist, and even without knowing they were. It made me feel pity, because I have never met someone so narrow-minded and dumb. We didn’t say anything to them like you might have, but nearing the end of the trip, it was clear that the whole group was avoiding talking, walking or sitting with them.
    Keep speaking out, and next time, I will do it, too 🙂

  38. Excellent post, and a good reminder. As someone who intensely avoids conflict, sometimes I need a reminder like this to speak up for what is right. I could see myself as one of the people who said nothing out of sheer anxiety to engage in an argument, but your post reminded me that that’s not always acceptable. Great job speaking up for what is right.

  39. Kate did exactly the right thing, and I think she should be praised for making this situation public so that others can be inspired by it, and without identifying the racist person.

    And Kate, please ignore people who are telling you to just stick to travel. I want to read MORE about how politics and social issues intersect with travel, and I really like your perspective on these matters. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading about a Santorini sunset too, but I’m far more likely to comment on and share posts like this one.

  40. Racism is an absolutely disgusting behavior, people should learn to tolerate each other’s differences and just stop judging people for what they look like and try to get to know them a little bit better before starting to rumble racist shenanigans.
    Well done Kate you did what should’ve been done and that’s what everyone should do.

  41. Let’s say this woman is racist. From her comment the most that can be construed is she  doesnt like interacting with black men in a social setting. Is this a nice thing, no. Should she have said it in public, no. However, she didn’t break any laws. She didn’t refuse to hire black people, or deny business, or insult them to their face. She made a poor judgement call, but a fairly small one, and does she deserve to  have her carreer potentially ruined. To have letters sent to TWO of her clients.

    Lots of people have not so great morals, but if they aren’t doing anything illigal, they don’t deserve to be reported.

    What about the person who cheats on their spouse, should that be reported. After all a cheater is also reprehensible.  Or just makes a joke about cheating. Implying that they are a cheater. What about the person who says they don’t want gay kids. That could be seen as someone intolerant toward gay people, should they be reported and fired. What about someone who thinks spanking is okay. They prolly abuse their children, right, so they should be fired.

    If you answer no to any of the above, then what makes being racist worse. If you answer yes, then you are creating a very dangerous society. Should those things be said outloud, no, but if people are in a very social ( even if it’s work) situation, and are drinking, they will sometimes let their guard down and not be pc. Should they be fired for this, and have their carreer ruined. You can call out someone for making you uncomfortable,  and if they persist eventually take action, but if a stupid utterance can cause a person professional damages, people are going to stop talking. If everyone took the actions you took,  people would remain silent in social  situations at work because of fear they will say something wrong.

    You re against racism. Now imagine you are with somebody who is against promiscuity. For the record I don’t think promiscuity is bad, but there are people who would view it as bad racism. This is fact. What if after an innocent comment made by you, they reported you to the client. Now you could say you were in the right, and the client would see that. But even so, being called out for un professionalism is not a good thing, and could have a negative effect on your carreer. When you create an enviroment where personal conversation is reported to the boss, then no one is safe!!!!

  42. I love that you stuck up for what you believe in! The reason I travel is to understand and experience new cultures, as well as help break down stereotypes. This person’s comments would have bothered me too!

  43. I’m having a hard time feeling good about this post. On the one hand, racism should be called out privately and publicly. On the other hand, what made you wait 3 months to post this? I can’t help but wonder if this is just a marketing ploy because of the racism comments across travel blogs following the New Zealand comment.

    With all that said, I have to say, Kate, by contacting this person’s editors/clients/whatever AND publicly slamming her on your blog, I’m really uncomfortable. You didn’t name her, but it’s not hard to figure out who this is, and you ALSO contacted her clients. Should racism be called out? Always. Should you maybe think twice before going to every SINGLE effort to try and destroy a person’s career? Yeah.

    I’m going to echo a lot of these other comments and ask – what are you doing to combat racism besides a short blog post destroying a woman’s livelihood? Maybe you could have used this space to instead feature posts by bloggers of color and the things they’ve said about the rampant racism in the travel industry.

    1. I also have a really hard time with this post. Is it good that you (Kate) stood up and said something to someone (you felt was) racist? Yes, absolutely. You are right that racism should be called out, loudly and publicly, which is what you did. So bravo for that. But posting a story on a popular blog several months after the fact? That feels wrong to me. None of us were there. Your story is entirely hearsay, yet you post enough details that even I – no cyber sleuth, believe me – could figure out who you’re talking about.

      Of course, this is your blog and you can post about whatever you want. You’ve stated you’d like to use your blog as a vehicle to discuss social justice issues, and kudos for that. Social justice is important to me as well. And I believe the point of your post is that we have a responsibility to speak out when we can. Speak up, call in, be an ally. I agree with that point. But you could have made that point without publicly shaming this woman, without attempting to derail her entire career by contacting her editors. If she had posted something on her blog about not wanting to date black men, then by all means, take her to task on your blog – she put it out there on the public record.

      Your point was a good one, but it was drowned out by your public tattling session. How do the details of this story in any way support your point? Couldn’t you have just said “as I referenced in a previous blog post, someone made a racist comment in front of me. Even though it was hard for xyz reasons, I called her out on it loudly and in front of my peers. Why did I do that? Because we all should speak up in the presence of racism.” And then go on to your final few paragraphs.

      Did your story do anything other than point out that someone is (allegedly) an asshole? This woman isn’t running for president, she’s a travel blogger.

      Finally, and I ask this question not as someone who can answer it, because it is not my question to answer: who does your story serve? Who does it help? Is it your story to tell? I ask because as soon as I finished the first few paragraphs of your post, I immediately thought of this essay.

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  45. Kate, I think you need some serious PC detox / deprogramming, especially after reading the description of your knee-jerk reaction and how a simple comment “made your blood boil” and made you physically sick. Do you honestly expect us to believe that you really took the time to think this through and didn’t simply ‘react’ to a person that you didn’t get along with from the very beginning? Because it seems to me that you went on a mission to destroy this woman’s reputation, and all based on the argument that she didn’t defend herself and didn’t deny being a racist after you lost your cool and started accusing her.

    By all accounts, it appears that the woman you accuse of racism expressed a personal preference. There is nothing wrong with expressing a preference and saying you don’t like introvert people, black people, Italian people, fat people, short people, people with big ears, etc. as potential dates or mates. Would you be willing to publicly claim that if a woman doesn’t want to sleep with a black man, then she is racist?

    I’ve noticed on other occasions that you like portraying other people as racist so that you can feel good about yourself and how PC you are, and then to get showered with praise by all the other bloggers, but this is really getting old. You aren’t solving racial relations this way.

    Also, have you thought that maybe people on the van were silent because they rolled their eyes and thought “Oh God, it’s Kate again picking on somebody so she can feel good about herself”? It may not be a bad idea to do a bit more thinking and less “heart thumping” next time something like that happens, because after all, if you just go on with your first gut reaction, you’re not very different from Donald Trump.

  46. Bravo! Well done Kate for speaking up. Travel is meant to broaden the mind, create a better understanding of all cultures and races and as travel writers it is our responsibility to portray this open-mindedness. I am a teacher in an international school and if any teacher made these sorts of comments they wouldn’t have a job for very long. Be strong and keep standing up for what you believe.

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