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Diversity on the Camino

pelerine

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Another one, year after year...
Hello! I was having a problem of how to formulate a title for this thread. Have been looking at one of my old blogs and noticed mentioning my coming across a person of colour (a gentleman). We discussed umbrellas because he had noticed that I was carrying the same umbrella as he was carrying. I would like to throw a question to our community. We mention Japanese, South Koreans(?) etc. But the question of colour never comes up. Apart from this once I have never seen any person of colour on any of the caminos I walked - have not yet walked the CF. Has anybody here met a person of colour on a camino?
 
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Hello! I was having a problem of how to formulate a title for this thread. Have been looking at one of my old blogs and noticed mentioning my coming across a person of colour (a gentleman). We discussed umbrellas because he had noticed that I was carrying the same umbrella as he was carrying. I would like to throw a question to our community. We mention Japanese, South Koreans(?) etc. But the question of colour never comes up. Apart from this once I have never seen any person of colour on any of the caminos I walked - have not yet walked the CF. Has anybody here met a person of colour on a camino?
I haven’t, no, in 3 caminos! There are lots of articles in the UK press about minority ethnicity groups not partaking in activities that seem to have overwhelming white participants, especially regarding walking and countryside. It’s a very complex and nuanced subject and It can get weaponised/politicised, like everything, but there are some good folks out trying to move things along. It goes a lot deeper than the Camino of course….that said I have spent most of my life in very diverse communities, and the lack of diversity from an ethnicity standpoint on the Camino was what I expected in line with below articles, though it took a lot of getting used to!! I am currently spending an extended period in Spain and the lack of diversity is very noticeable (if you come from London anyway!!!) so it’s a whole raft of things!


 
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Hi
Yes this September on the French way met a guy who had walked from Stuttgart he helped me navigate a very busy bar and found me a table he was leaving as i arrived so only a brief chat.

Later on after Ponferrada i walked for a while with a group of ladies from the USA; usual chat about Camino!(where are you from, how far have you walked) but that was it.


I think it could perhaps be more about people being aware of Camino i live in Lincolnshire UK.
About 5 weeks ago i met a guy who was the first person in my town that i have spoken to in the last 4 years
that new what the Camino was! (population approx 25000)
 
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I correct myself: when walking the Inglés last month I met a very dark lady pausing in a bus shelter. “Oh!” the German lady I happened to be walking with cried “Alessandra from London!” They had met, obviously. I took their photograph and they talked for a while. Then we continued without Alessandra from London and I never saw her again.
However now I have remembered her I contacted her and we will meet when next I am in London.
 
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No offense to the OP but this a rather silly thread. Also I have observed and met on my Caminos pilgrims of all ethnic backgrounds, demographics, religions, gender, age group, height, weight, job variety etc.
It's quite the mix. You just gotta look.
 
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On my last Camino Frances walk in September I met two women colleagues walking together - one Belgian and the other from Uganda. But the very fact that the Ugandan woman so easily comes to my mind a couple of months later probably reflects that she was something of a rarity amongst the pilgrims I met.
Indeed. I don’t see it as a Camino issue I guess, but it is of course noticeable on the Camino if that makes sense. I see similar on other hikes, outdoor activities(i.e visiting National Trust properties in UK, or even backpacking round South America and SE Asia for example). ‘We are where we are’ and I see it as an opportunity to broaden the demographic rather than necessarily a criticism of what’s past, although of course there is plenty of things that will contribute to where we are today.
 
But the question of colour never comes up. Apart from this once I have never seen any person of colour on any of the caminos I walked - have not yet walked the CF. Has anybody here met a person of colour on a camino?
Why does skin color matter to you? A pilgrim’s skin color means nothing in God’s eye, though to some people it means a great deal.

I believe in and pray for Dr. Martin Luther King’s words to become a reality. “I have a dream that … little children will … be judged not for the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
 
Why does skin color matter to you? A pilgrim’s skin color means nothing in God’s eye, though to some people it means a great deal.

I believe in and pray for Dr. Martin Luther King’s words to become a reality. “I have a dream that … little children will … be judged not for the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”


I completely agree but I really believe the OP asks a genuine question.
It is good to hear some sociological and socially relevant explanations without reducing our thoughts to generalities and simplicity.
 
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Why does skin color matter to you? A pilgrim’s skin color means nothing in God’s eye, though to some people it means a great deal.
I don't think that it matters to @pelerine - it's just that she has noticed a big lack of diversity on the Camino, and wonders why.
 
Please, people, if you do not want to participate in the discussion, don’t participate. No need to disparage and trivialize the sincere questions of others. This is a serious topic that has been raised in other similar settings — the US National Park Service has been wrestling for years with the fact that both the workers and visitors to the parks are disproportionately white. Any of us who have walked a camino have surely noticed the same phenomenon in terms of racial preponderance. It isn’t a bad thing to think about why that could be.
 
Please, people, if you do not want to participate in the discussion, don’t participate. No need to disparage and trivialize the sincere questions of others. This is a serious topic that has been raised in other similar settings — the US National Park Service has been wrestling for years with the fact that both the workers and visitors to the parks are disproportionately white. Any of us who have walked a camino have surely noticed the same phenomenon in terms of racial preponderance. It isn’t a bad thing to think about why that could be.
Indeed, and it’s an equally big point of discussion across equivalent bodies in UK. The data is very clear. Good to explore some thoughts.
 
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I have a wonderful virtual friend "of color" and she participates quite often on this forum. We daily play "Words With Friends" (an online scrabble game) which has a chat box, so we have gotten to know each other better through that connection.
If she happens to see this thread, possibly she may choose to reply on how she first heard of the Camino and decided to walk it several times. I think she has shared her story a few times in the past.
 
Has anybody here met a person of colour on a camino?
I thought back on this … and in many thousands of kms on various caminos I can recall meeting and spending time with just two people of colour - one young French man and one young American woman.

And thank you for the links @TravellingMan22 🙏 I’ve since found other articles on the topic.
 
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There are so many more pilgrrims in the CF, more than on any other camino. I have not yet walked the CF. So maybe I am not "qualified" to discuss this topic...
 
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Hello! I was having a problem of how to formulate a title for this thread. Have been looking at one of my old blogs and noticed mentioning my coming across a person of colour (a gentleman). We discussed umbrellas because he had noticed that I was carrying the same umbrella as he was carrying. I would like to throw a question to our community. We mention Japanese, South Koreans(?) etc. But the question of colour never comes up. Apart from this once I have never seen any person of colour on any of the caminos I walked - have not yet walked the CF. Has anybody here met a person of colour on a camino?
Yes, I took him with me last time, my husband. We're very different walkers though, he's of the plan and book-ahead school, I'm of the wing-it, make it up as you go school. Being coeliac, he's a lot harder to feed as well.
He loved it and cant wait to go back now.
People remembered us because I'm extremely fair (and skin cancer prone) and we often notice the involuntary surprise when people realise we're together.
 
It’s an interesting question which I’ve come across in various contexts before and which finally resolved to focus on opportunity vs uptake.

A mountain rescue team of which I was a member for many years was discouraged from applying for public (lottery) funding because our client base (those in need of assistance) were not sufficiently ethnically diverse. We did not discriminate - if you needed help, you got it.

At the time I lived in a part of the UK with a substantial south Asian population who appeared to me to be very ‘urban’ - but guess what, a full generation later and that population’s sons and daughters are starting to be more rural and choosing to be out and about in the hills - and it’s great to see. In time everyone adapts and discovers for themselves, their locality.

Back on topic: I don’t keep count; but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen and interacted with a wide range of nationalities, ethnicities and whatever other divisions we choose to highlight.

My only concern would be that the door is always open. Who chooses to walk through it is beyond my influence.
 
By the way I try not to offend anybody. I just thought we might ask ourselves why we are not more diversified and what can be done about it. Will discuss this with “Alessandra from London” when I meet her.
It is a good question and as noted upthread, it has a nuanced answer. There are some socio-cultural issues, and some economic disparity ones that apply to groups even though individuals may easily vary. But here’s 1 thing: many Euro-Americans grow up with leisure time and “outdoor access” that minoritized groups do not. As a “habitus” — being ‘outdoorsy” is for those who can afford it, are sent to things like summer camps… and something similar applies to the idea of being able to go on a retreat (Dunno about here you live, but where I live, retreats range from a few hundred to about 2000 dollars for a week-end to 2-weeks of dedicated time to follow one’s spiritual needs). If one is not habituated to such things as “features of life”, then things like train fares and overseas airfares can be real barriers to entry onto long outdoorsy privileges.
As a 2nd thing, knowing that a pursuit is overwhelmingly populated by a single group to which one does not visually belong can be a social barrier to entry.
And the 3rd thing is the problem of the expense for the gear (while I know that one can find affordable gear, it’s also probably going to be less comfortable, heavier, more water permeable etc).
… One reason I really like Decathlon is that they are committed to making durable gear that is not wildly expensive. One reason I chewed out the board of MEC (when it was still a co-op in which members like me had votes) for the “inclusivity in advertising” campaign is that they really thought just adding BIPoc models to their ads would “encourage BIPoc people to get outdoors more”… it was condescending and tone-deaf.
And to some degree, I am reminded of the old satirical blog “Stuff White People Like” (which included things like having 5 different kinds of salt in the pantry.
Of course it was about white people of a particular economic standing, and obviously plenty of white people around the world can’t afford such nonsense… ( I love this nonsense… but could not always)…
Finally… I wonder if to some degree the perceived whiteness of Caminos in particular (but not of long walks and hikes, perhaps) has to do with not being good at recognizing various “hybrid” cultures of peoples… Brazilians, spring immediately to mind.
Related tangent… on my first Camino Portugues, I started from an Ibis hotel closer to Lisbon than to Porto, and the hotel was hosting a conference of specifically Black professionals. I have never seen such a thing in all the hotels I have visited anywhere else, and I found this conference — of raising each other up and building on the success of this population in the South of Portugal to be extremely encouraging.
….And I noticed that as I walked Northward, I saw fewer and fewer African-Portuguese…. And I have not been able to formulate any particular account for that as to my mind Portugal is a very small country in which it would seem easy enough to migrate all over it. But it is entirely possible that there is an insularity in the north that I can only guess at.
 
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The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
An interesting thread for me but I find myself coming at it from a different angle. I’m from one of those “ethnic” groups that no one will notice unless I reveal it. If I do reveal it there is always someone in the room that will be outraged by my presence. It doesn’t matter that I’m unlikely to park my Varda on their front lawn, kidnap their children or eat their dog. None of that matters. Once revealed I am anathema.

So, sticking with this week’s acceptable terminology, I’ve encountered three persons of colour in some ten Caminos. One was a professor of theology, one was an engineer at NASA and, one was a Somali boat migrant heading north from Malaga as fast as he could go and so grateful for yellow arrows and Albergues and anything and everything that giving him most of the cash I had seemed inadequate.

My inclination is to accept that the bias of the Caminos de Santiago will be to the white European and white English speaking populations because that is the population that it reaches. You may encounter persons of colour but there’ll be few of them and the underlying crunch of that isn’t Camino it’s our whole culture. Them don’t do that, and why would they
 
On Frances in 2021 I met two people of African descent, both of whom were Dutch. East Asia was well represented with Korean, Japanese, Chinese (from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and USA) and on Ingles this year I met 2 Pinoy sisters.

Camino appears to not be very racially diverse. It may be due to location, where Europeans and North Americans may be more familiar with the routes due to word or mouth, celebrities mentioning it. films, church groups or hiking/walking groups. Or maybe it is just not well known outside of certain bubbles. World Youth Day is very diverse and well attended, so it's not like Catholicism is lacking in some locales.

Part of it may be the perceived time commitment if starting from SJPdP, and I will admit to not knowing that there was a shorter possibility when I started actively planning my first Camino and was shocked that only 100km counted! I had read dozens and dozens of posts about the crush of pilgrims from Sarria to Santiago but somehow had missed the fact they were starting in Sarria. I frequently see posts asking how people manage to coordinate 6 weeks off work and them being told that some people do it in stages over years or only walk 100km and those titbits are news to them as well.

Maybe Camino needs a brand ambassador to hang out in schools and community halls in African countries to wax poetic about how they walked across northern Spain and how life changing it was.

I was very happy on Camino to meet so many people from so many different countries (Norway to Israel, Ecuador to Hong Kong) and to hear so many languages being spoken every day.
 
I am sensing condemnation in some posts because the Camino is not as 'diverse' as it should be. Given that it started out as a Catholic pilgrimage of relevance only to European Christians it's not surprising that character is still reflected today. Even so there are still large numbers of non European and non Christian pilgrims, so I don't think a perceived lack of diversity is really an issue.
 
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I have a wonderful virtual friend "of color" and she participates quite often on this forum. We daily play "Words With Friends" (an online scrabble game) which has a chat box, so we have gotten to know each other better through that connection.
If she happens to see this thread, possibly she may choose to reply on how she first heard of the Camino and decided to walk it several times. I think she has shared her story a few times in the past.

To one and all, I didn’t happen upon this thread, Chrissy told me about it on: WWF.

CC, sometime next year we MUST leave our virtual existence and meet up.

Although, as Trecile knows currently I am quite reluctant to meet anyone “new”.

After a year-and-half on steroids in order to preserve life the 80 pounds gained and toothsome smile lost have made me meet and greet shy.

Methinks one reason few non whites walk may simply due to lack of happenstance exposure. That’s how all those Koreans discovered it a program in their nation. I met Brazilians who read Paulo Coelho’s book on topic. That was their entre to The Way.

Many Americans found the Camino via: Rick Steves, The Way, friends, et cetera.

But, for persons of color there maybe added bits and bobs to hinder sewing up a camino completion.

In 2000, I was teaching Sunday School at a predominantly white Episcopal parish. The rector’s wife was walking the way for her first time for her 50TH b’day. My way onto the way.

I investigated the route. Then, I decided to walk August 2001with mom insisting on going along for my protection. Or, so she said. She was 70 only walked a single orbit within the nearby mall, to my very, very professional dancer shape 39.

At that time my mom was: a college graduate from a PWI, (predominantly white institute), a divine nine (9) sorority girl. She was retired and had already traveled to Notre Dame, Vatican, Portugal and Spain, Canada, and so on.

However, however!

Her comments the first few days were interesting. From Roncesvalles to somewhere just after Pamplona she said often: “pilgrimage is for white folks, let’s leave and go to Greece”. Does every African-American feel this way? I neither know nor can speak for them. But, that’s what my well traveled mom said to me.

Once we reached Santo Domingo de la Calzada we’d worked out her bus train journey, while I walked, overcame communication problems via Internet Cafes and our Lozano guidebooks.

To this day, by the time I walked into Santiago where she’d spent a week awaiting me I don’t know who had more more fun on pilgrimage. She or I.

Also, when a white person walks into foreign predominantly white territory such as the way, concerns might revolve around fitting in, getting along, navigating the experience, budgets, can I really do this.

For me, I too have those concerns but they’re colored, pun intended, by notion of acceptance. It’s a back of brain issue but one nonetheless.

On my second camino in 2002 by day three or four I was greeted with tons of greetings and salutations from other pilgrims. The white American Jesuits with whom I was walking asked me how come so many folks already know you. I stated the obvious, I am the only person who looks like me out here.

One day those same Jesuits entered a store in a small town while I sat outside resting. Upon leaving they asked me if I had any problems on camino due to my race. I said: “no why”. They proceeded to tell me the proprietor expressed contempt towards them for walking with “la morena”.

I consider myself profoundly lucky to have had the exposure I have had. My dad insisted I attend a predominately black elementary school grades: 3-6. My mom insisted I attend the predominantly white junior high. And, my last two years of high school two races vied for predominance: Asians and Hispanics with Blacks and Whites rounding out the numbers.

And yet, even there…. There were two brainiacs at my high school a black girl and a white guy.

One day I overheard the chemistry teacher, a white guy, say to his colleague: “because of the brilliant black girl he will never again believe blacks can’t learn”. My jaw dropped. A: he’d thought blacks couldn’t learn? B: it took brilliance to show him otherwise. Sad.

These repeated experiences year in year out color travel decisions. I can’t speak for all persons of color.

Although, in general for many of us our actions regarding travel in country or without are colored by color. In the USofA blacks are still challenged when we’re at restaurants, hotels, motels. Idea being “you” should not be here.

Travel anywhere means persons of color often ask themselves if I go will I be received? If not, about it, what will I do?

While I am yapping away. I took a few years on this platform before I made my ethnicity known. I thought long and hard. I knew I would be become the other. Did I wish that for myself. Finally, I decided this is who I am within and without with the content of my character as part of the package.

Anyway, back to my original statement. On forum it seems as if everybody in the world knows about this great walk.

Yet, we all know that’s not so. How many of us of all cultures, nationalities, ethnicities have met others within our non peregrino circle who have walked the way?
 
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Thank you @nycwalking for sharing your experiences with us.

Usually in these types of threads pilgrims of white European descent will say that there is no prejudice at all on the Camino, but it's something that we cannot know since we can't experience walking "in your skin."

And one of these days we will get together when I'm visiting my daughter in LA!
 
To one and all, I didn’t happen upon this thread, Chrissy told me about it on: WWF.

CC, sometime next year we MUST leave our virtual existence and meet up.

Although, as Trecile knows currently I am quite reluctant to meet anyone “new”.

After a year-and-half on steroids in order to preserve life the 80 pounds gained and toothsome smile lost have made me meet and greet shy.

Methinks one reason few non whites walk may simply due to lack of happenstance exposure. That’s how all those Koreans discovered it a program in their nation. I met Brazilians who read Paulo Coelho’s book on topic. That was their entre to The Way.

Many Americans found the Camino via: Rick Steves, The Way, friends, et cetera.

But, for persons of color there maybe added bits and bobs to hinder sewing up a camino completion.

In 2000, I was teaching Sunday School at a predominantly white Episcopal parish. The rector’s wife was walking the way for her first time for her 50TH b’day. My way onto the way.

I investigated the route. Then, I decided to walk August 2001with mom insisting on going along for my protection. Or, so she said. She was 70 only walked a single orbit within the nearby mall, to my very, very professional dancer shape 39.

At that time my mom was: a college graduate from a PWI, (predominantly white institute), a divine nine (9) sorority girl. She was retired and had already traveled to Notre Dame, Vatican, Portugal and Spain, Canada, and so on.

However, however!

Her comments the first few days were interesting. From Roncesvalles to somewhere just after Pamplona she said often: “pilgrimage is for white folks, let’s leave and go to Greece”. Does every African-American feel this way? I neither know nor can speak for them. But, that’s what my well traveled mom said to me.

Once we reached Santo Domingo de la Calzada we’d worked out her bus train journey, while I walked, overcome communication problems via Internet Cafes and our Lozano guidebooks.

To this day, by the time I walked into Santiago where she’d spent a week awaiting me I don’t know who had more more fun on pilgrimage. She or I.

Also, when a white person walks into foreign predominantly white territory such as the way, concerns might revolve around fitting in, getting along, navigating the experience, budgets, can I really do this.

For me, I too have those concerns but they’re colored, pun intended, by notion of acceptance. It’s a back of brain issue but one nonetheless.

On my second camino in 2002 by day three or four I was greeted with tons of greetings and salutations from other pilgrims. The white American Jesuits with whom I was walking asked me how come so many folks already know you. I stated the obvious, I am the only person who looks like me out here.

One day those same Jesuits entered a store in a small town while I sat outside resting. Upon leaving they asked me if I had any problems on camino due to my race. I said: “no why”. They proceeded to tell me the proprietor expressed contempt towards them for walking with “la morena”.

I consider myself profoundly lucky to have had the exposure I have had. My dad insisted I attend a predominately black elementary school grades: 3-6. My mom insisted I attend the predominantly white junior high. And, my last two years of high school two races vied for predominance: Asians and Hispanics with Blacks and Whites rounding out the numbers.

And yet, even there…. There were two brainiacs at my high school a black girl and a white guy.

One day I overheard the chemistry teacher, a white guy, say to his colleague: “because of the brilliant black girl he will never again believe blacks can’t learn”. My jaw dropped. A: he’d thought blacks couldn’t learn? B: it took brilliance to show him otherwise. Sad.

These repeated experiences year in year out color travel decisions. I can’t speak for all persons of color.

Although, in general for many of us our actions regarding travel in country or without are colored by color. In the USofA blacks are still challenged when we’re at restaurants, hotels, motels. Idea being “you” should not be here.

Travel anywhere means persons of color often ask themselves if I go will I be received? If not, about it, what will I do?

While I am yapping away. I took a few years on this platform before I made my ethnicity known. I thought long and hard. I knew I would be become the other. Did I wish that for myself. Finally, I decided this is who I am within and without with the content of my character as part of the package.

Anyway, back to my original statement. On forum it seems as if everybody in the world knows about this great walk.

Yet, we all know that’s not so. How many of us of all cultures, nationalities, ethnicities have met others within our non peregrino circle who have walked the way?
I just love this post so much, and I’m so delighted you chimed in as I hoped you would — for I cannot think of another regular poster with a Black avatar. Thank you.
 
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Thank you @nycwalking for sharing your experiences with us.

Usually in these types of threads pilgrims of white European descent will say that there is no prejudice at all on the Camino, but it's something that we cannot know since we can't experience walking "in your skin."

And one of these days we will get together when I'm visiting my daughter in LA!
Exactly so… same for the trepidations of queer folk (many of whom are, indeed, religious) being legitimately fearful that the Camino is not socially safe territory.
Given the facts of queer churches, of All Inclusive Masses in the Catholic Church, of queer friendly reform synagogues… I am myself sad when I think of people in my own broad community who are (I think quite rightly) worried about homophobia and transphobia on the Camino (more so than any worries about these kinds of things in Spain — which I have experienced to be more “modern” in its thinking than the Camino corridor can be.
And I am trying very hard to frame this as a discussion about safety, security and feeling welcome… and a sorrow that strangers in a host country, can make a particular journey within that country feel more risky than travelling to the country itself.
Perceived risk? Maybe that is only what it is… but if it is merely perceived, then it is up to us to make sure that we are welcoming… of BIPoc, of the invisibly “different” amongst us…, of differences in ability/disability that is perhaps not easily romanticized and fairly easily ostracized…
In other words, I just want more people to have a “buen camino” if they wish for it.
 
It is a valid question, a casual observer (i.e. me) cannot fail to notice that the vast majority of pilgrims are white (or if you prefer the term ´Caucasian´). Why is this? It might be useful to start by looking at nationalities rather than race or ethnicity. Most pilgrims are from western Europe or North America. There are very few pilgrims from Asian countries because most Asian people belong to one of the other major religions: Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism. As if to confirm this, the one Asian nationality you will meet a lot of is South Koreans and South Korea is one of the few Asian countries with significant numbers of Christians. With regard to Africa, significant numbers of Africans are Moslem, the entire north of Africa is almost exclusively Moslem, so unlikely to undertake the pilgrimage to Santiago. But the biggest reason for Africans not to go on pilgrimage is probably cost, they simply cannot afford to travel overseas. In fact, practically all the Africans I have met on camino were white South Africans, many of whom can afford to travel overseas. Latin America, however, is almost exclusively Christian and mostly staunchly Roman Catholic. There are certainly Latin Americans on the camino, especially from Brazil, but not as many as one might expect. Once again, cost would be a significant factor.

This leaves Europe (including the UK), the USA and Canada. As the result of immigration (in some cases historically forced), all of these countries have large non--white communities. In the case of the UK, people of south Asian ancestry are mainly Hindu or Moslem. The Afro-Caribbean community are certainly mostly Christian if they are religious at all but belong to protestant churches with no strong tradition of pilgrimage. It is worth pointing out that British people of whatever race are under-represented on the camino. In France, many of the non-white community are Moslem, and this is often the case with ethnic minorities in other European countries.

The biggest outlier would seem to be the US with a large population of black and Latin people. Latin people from the States are common on the camino, not surprisingly. If few disproportionately few black Americans walk the camino I would suggest it is due either to cost or, again, black Americans who are Christian are likely to belong to Protestant churches and so less likely to go on pilgrimage.

It could be that we are asking the wrong question, rather than why do so few people of identity X walk the camino, why do so many people of identity Y do it?

But there is the elephant in the room. One possible reason for black people (or ´persons of colour´) not to walk the camino is fear of prejudice, discrimination or worse. I do not have an answer to that, especially as there is racism everywhere, probably less on the camino as the pilgrim is mainly interacting with other pilgrims and hospitality workers both of whom have good reason not to show any racist feeling they have (if any), but it is a reality. All I can say is that it is everyone´s responsibility to counter any form of racism and say to you, what ever your identity, I and I hope everyone on this forum will do their best to make you feel as welcome and comfortable on the camino as anyone else.

Buen Camino
 
Travel anywhere means persons of color often ask themselves if I go will I be received? If not, about it, what will I do?
What an engaging and, for me, possibly confronting post. When I read the OP I thought, "It's true, I have never seen a black person on camino". But disturbingly, I had never even noticed the absence and therefore it had never occured to me to ask the question, why not?
 
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No offense to the OP but this a rather silly thread
This is the second comment I've noticed where you start off with "no offense", then proceed to say something offensive. Don't engage if it's irrelevant to you.

A pilgrim’s skin color means nothing in God’s eye, though to some people it means a great deal.
I invite you to reflect how and why the misguided platitude "skin color means nothing" (link included) is really a form of erasure. People of color have vastly different experiences than folks like myself (in this case, a white woman). To not acknowledge skin color is to not acknowledge someone's background, reality, experience, story etc etc. Quoting Dr. King is nice, but lest we forget, he was a radical and many people wanted him dead.

Usually in these types of threads pilgrims of white European descent will say that there is no prejudice at all on the Camino, but it's something that we cannot know since we can't experience walking "in your skin."
Precisely!
 
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Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
There have never been many blacks on the Camino, nevertheless I saw a larger number of black pilgrims on my last Camino than I ever had before ; and not just in raw numbers terms from walking from Santiago to SJPP, but (except in Winter) I'd see a black pilgrim on the Francès every few days, which has never been the case before, even during previous shorter journeys in "reverse". Used to be one every 7 to 10 days or so.

Having said that, I saw none at all on the Portugues last year, indeed very few blacks or North Africans even among the residents of the country.
 
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Camino appears to not be very racially diverse. It may be due to location, where Europeans and North Americans may be more familiar with the routes due to word or mouth, celebrities mentioning it. films, church groups or hiking/walking groups. Or maybe it is just not well known outside of certain bubbles.

This reminds me....passport privilege. By and large the global south does not have the same kinds of mobility as the global north. For instance, if you hold an Indonesian passport, the hoops (and costs) one has to endure in order to obtain a visa to the EU (or US) is mindboggling.
 
There have never been many blacks on the Camino, nevertheless I saw a larger number of black pilgrims on my last Camino than I ever had before ; and not just in raw numbers terms from walking from Santiago to SJPP, but (except in Winter) I'd see a black pilgrim on the Francès every few days, which has never been the case before, even during previous shorter journeys in "reverse". Used to be one every 7 to 10 days or so.

Having said that, I saw none at all on the Portugues last year, indeed very few blacks or North Africans even among the residents of the country.

I have seen four Blacks on camino all guys: two African-Americans, a New Zealander, and Mauritius. Hated to tell him I never heard of his country until I met him.

A few months ago, Noire Pilgrim by Shirley J posted videos on YT about her Camino Mozárabe.

There’s a young black woman who posted her camino this year or last on YT I lack the patience to look her out.
 
A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
To one and all, I didn’t happen upon this thread, Chrissy told me about it on: WWF.

CC, sometime next year we MUST leave our virtual existence and meet up.

Although, as Trecile knows currently I am quite reluctant to meet anyone “new”.

After a year-and-half on steroids in order to preserve life the 80 pounds gained and toothsome smile lost have made me meet and greet shy.

Methinks one reason few non whites walk may simply due to lack of happenstance exposure. That’s how all those Koreans discovered it a program in their nation. I met Brazilians who read Paulo Coelho’s book on topic. That was their entre to The Way.

Many Americans found the Camino via: Rick Steves, The Way, friends, et cetera.

But, for persons of color there maybe added bits and bobs to hinder sewing up a camino completion.

In 2000, I was teaching Sunday School at a predominantly white Episcopal parish. The rector’s wife was walking the way for her first time for her 50TH b’day. My way onto the way.

I investigated the route. Then, I decided to walk August 2001with mom insisting on going along for my protection. Or, so she said. She was 70 only walked a single orbit within the nearby mall, to my very, very professional dancer shape 39.

At that time my mom was: a college graduate from a PWI, (predominantly white institute), a divine nine (9) sorority girl. She was retired and had already traveled to Notre Dame, Vatican, Portugal and Spain, Canada, and so on.

However, however!

Her comments the first few days were interesting. From Roncesvalles to somewhere just after Pamplona she said often: “pilgrimage is for white folks, let’s leave and go to Greece”. Does every African-American feel this way? I neither know nor can speak for them. But, that’s what my well traveled mom said to me.

Once we reached Santo Domingo de la Calzada we’d worked out her bus train journey, while I walked, overcome communication problems via Internet Cafes and our Lozano guidebooks.

To this day, by the time I walked into Santiago where she’d spent a week awaiting me I don’t know who had more more fun on pilgrimage. She or I.

Also, when a white person walks into foreign predominantly white territory such as the way, concerns might revolve around fitting in, getting along, navigating the experience, budgets, can I really do this.

For me, I too have those concerns but they’re colored, pun intended, by notion of acceptance. It’s a back of brain issue but one nonetheless.

On my second camino in 2002 by day three or four I was greeted with tons of greetings and salutations from other pilgrims. The white American Jesuits with whom I was walking asked me how come so many folks already know you. I stated the obvious, I am the only person who looks like me out here.

One day those same Jesuits entered a store in a small town while I sat outside resting. Upon leaving they asked me if I had any problems on camino due to my race. I said: “no why”. They proceeded to tell me the proprietor expressed contempt towards them for walking with “la morena”.

I consider myself profoundly lucky to have had the exposure I have had. My dad insisted I attend a predominately black elementary school grades: 3-6. My mom insisted I attend the predominantly white junior high. And, my last two years of high school two races vied for predominance: Asians and Hispanics with Blacks and Whites rounding out the numbers.

And yet, even there…. There were two brainiacs at my high school a black girl and a white guy.

One day I overheard the chemistry teacher, a white guy, say to his colleague: “because of the brilliant black girl he will never again believe blacks can’t learn”. My jaw dropped. A: he’d thought blacks couldn’t learn? B: it took brilliance to show him otherwise. Sad.

These repeated experiences year in year out color travel decisions. I can’t speak for all persons of color.

Although, in general for many of us our actions regarding travel in country or without are colored by color. In the USofA blacks are still challenged when we’re at restaurants, hotels, motels. Idea being “you” should not be here.

Travel anywhere means persons of color often ask themselves if I go will I be received? If not, about it, what will I do?

While I am yapping away. I took a few years on this platform before I made my ethnicity known. I thought long and hard. I knew I would be become the other. Did I wish that for myself. Finally, I decided this is who I am within and without with the content of my character as part of the package.

Anyway, back to my original statement. On forum it seems as if everybody in the world knows about this great walk.

Yet, we all know that’s not so. How many of us of all cultures, nationalities, ethnicities have met others within our non peregrino circle who have walked the way?
Good, I was waiting for you to show up. Your style is inimitable! Thanks.
 
To one and all, I didn’t happen upon this thread, Chrissy told me about it on: WWF.

CC, sometime next year we MUST leave our virtual existence and meet up.

Although, as Trecile knows currently I am quite reluctant to meet anyone “new”.

After a year-and-half on steroids in order to preserve life the 80 pounds gained and toothsome smile lost have made me meet and greet shy.

Methinks one reason few non whites walk may simply due to lack of happenstance exposure. That’s how all those Koreans discovered it a program in their nation. I met Brazilians who read Paulo Coelho’s book on topic. That was their entre to The Way.

Many Americans found the Camino via: Rick Steves, The Way, friends, et cetera.

But, for persons of color there maybe added bits and bobs to hinder sewing up a camino completion.

In 2000, I was teaching Sunday School at a predominantly white Episcopal parish. The rector’s wife was walking the way for her first time for her 50TH b’day. My way onto the way.

I investigated the route. Then, I decided to walk August 2001with mom insisting on going along for my protection. Or, so she said. She was 70 only walked a single orbit within the nearby mall, to my very, very professional dancer shape 39.

At that time my mom was: a college graduate from a PWI, (predominantly white institute), a divine nine (9) sorority girl. She was retired and had already traveled to Notre Dame, Vatican, Portugal and Spain, Canada, and so on.

However, however!

Her comments the first few days were interesting. From Roncesvalles to somewhere just after Pamplona she said often: “pilgrimage is for white folks, let’s leave and go to Greece”. Does every African-American feel this way? I neither know nor can speak for them. But, that’s what my well traveled mom said to me.

Once we reached Santo Domingo de la Calzada we’d worked out her bus train journey, while I walked, overcame communication problems via Internet Cafes and our Lozano guidebooks.

To this day, by the time I walked into Santiago where she’d spent a week awaiting me I don’t know who had more more fun on pilgrimage. She or I.

Also, when a white person walks into foreign predominantly white territory such as the way, concerns might revolve around fitting in, getting along, navigating the experience, budgets, can I really do this.

For me, I too have those concerns but they’re colored, pun intended, by notion of acceptance. It’s a back of brain issue but one nonetheless.

On my second camino in 2002 by day three or four I was greeted with tons of greetings and salutations from other pilgrims. The white American Jesuits with whom I was walking asked me how come so many folks already know you. I stated the obvious, I am the only person who looks like me out here.

One day those same Jesuits entered a store in a small town while I sat outside resting. Upon leaving they asked me if I had any problems on camino due to my race. I said: “no why”. They proceeded to tell me the proprietor expressed contempt towards them for walking with “la morena”.

I consider myself profoundly lucky to have had the exposure I have had. My dad insisted I attend a predominately black elementary school grades: 3-6. My mom insisted I attend the predominantly white junior high. And, my last two years of high school two races vied for predominance: Asians and Hispanics with Blacks and Whites rounding out the numbers.

And yet, even there…. There were two brainiacs at my high school a black girl and a white guy.

One day I overheard the chemistry teacher, a white guy, say to his colleague: “because of the brilliant black girl he will never again believe blacks can’t learn”. My jaw dropped. A: he’d thought blacks couldn’t learn? B: it took brilliance to show him otherwise. Sad.

These repeated experiences year in year out color travel decisions. I can’t speak for all persons of color.

Although, in general for many of us our actions regarding travel in country or without are colored by color. In the USofA blacks are still challenged when we’re at restaurants, hotels, motels. Idea being “you” should not be here.

Travel anywhere means persons of color often ask themselves if I go will I be received? If not, about it, what will I do?

While I am yapping away. I took a few years on this platform before I made my ethnicity known. I thought long and hard. I knew I would be become the other. Did I wish that for myself. Finally, I decided this is who I am within and without with the content of my character as part of the package.

Anyway, back to my original statement. On forum it seems as if everybody in the world knows about this great walk.

Yet, we all know that’s not so. How many of us of all cultures, nationalities, ethnicities have met others within our non peregrino circle who have walked the way?
Wow!...Just Wow!
The post of any year!
Something worth reading and rereading. ♥️
And more importantly....understanding.
You are a treasure!
 
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Anyway, back to my original statement. On forum it seems as if everybody in the world knows about this great walk.

Yet, we all know that’s not so. How many of us of all cultures, nationalities, ethnicities have met others within our non peregrino circle who have walked the way?
Firstly, and most importantly, thank you NYC for sharing your perspective. As a traveller of many years standing I like to think that I am always 'open and inclusive' - whatever that means - however you have most definitely given me food for thought.

I agree completely with the comment above. 12 months ago I knew nothing about the Camino. As I have mentioned elsewhere I knew about pilgrimages but nothing about the pilgrimage to Santiago.

I first found out about it via YouTube. (Which I was also new to!). A handful of people in my wider circle knew about it, but it was never discussed. My parents knew about it, my father's godmother had driven the camino (from England) with four old nuns many, many (50?) years ago. And apparently 'ancestors' of mine have walked the Inglès. (Odd, because we're not Catholic) But I only discovered that when I mentioned that I was going to do it.
I discovered that my wife had known about it because amongst her things I found an old CD of Hape's Jakobsweg ( Camino ). Hape is a famous German actor and comedian; the book, CD, and subsequent movie are the equivalent of Martin Sheen's 'The Way'. Although to a German probably better!
Again although many know about the camino here in Germany I've never heard it discussed. None of my greater circle here have done it nor do they know anybody that has - well, other than me!
And yet on both my caminos this year I met Germans. There are quite a few Germans on this forum.
Apparently Brazil and Korea have their equivalents of 'The Way'. (Although I must admit, I have met both Chinese and Taiwanese however I have yet to meet Koreans on Camino !).

I too have seen a handful of YouTube videos from persons of colour. Perhaps as they're viewed and shared we will start to see the Camino more truly reflect the world's population.
 
(Although I must admit, I have met both Chinese and Taiwanese however I have yet to meet Koreans on Camino !).
You probably didn't walk the CF in winter then. Koreans were the largest single nationality recorded by the SJPDP pilgrim office for the first three months of this year. With Americans a close second place. But walking in January this year I estimate that about 1/3 of all the pilgrims I met were Korean but I can't recall meeting a single person from the USA. Timing seems very important.
 
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To one and all, I didn’t happen upon this thread, Chrissy told me about it on: WWF.

CC, sometime next year we MUST leave our virtual existence and meet up.

Although, as Trecile knows currently I am quite reluctant to meet anyone “new”.

After a year-and-half on steroids in order to preserve life the 80 pounds gained and toothsome smile lost have made me meet and greet shy.

Methinks one reason few non whites walk may simply due to lack of happenstance exposure. That’s how all those Koreans discovered it a program in their nation. I met Brazilians who read Paulo Coelho’s book on topic. That was their entre to The Way.

Many Americans found the Camino via: Rick Steves, The Way, friends, et cetera.

But, for persons of color there maybe added bits and bobs to hinder sewing up a camino completion.

In 2000, I was teaching Sunday School at a predominantly white Episcopal parish. The rector’s wife was walking the way for her first time for her 50TH b’day. My way onto the way.

I investigated the route. Then, I decided to walk August 2001with mom insisting on going along for my protection. Or, so she said. She was 70 only walked a single orbit within the nearby mall, to my very, very professional dancer shape 39.

At that time my mom was: a college graduate from a PWI, (predominantly white institute), a divine nine (9) sorority girl. She was retired and had already traveled to Notre Dame, Vatican, Portugal and Spain, Canada, and so on.

However, however!

Her comments the first few days were interesting. From Roncesvalles to somewhere just after Pamplona she said often: “pilgrimage is for white folks, let’s leave and go to Greece”. Does every African-American feel this way? I neither know nor can speak for them. But, that’s what my well traveled mom said to me.

Once we reached Santo Domingo de la Calzada we’d worked out her bus train journey, while I walked, overcame communication problems via Internet Cafes and our Lozano guidebooks.

To this day, by the time I walked into Santiago where she’d spent a week awaiting me I don’t know who had more more fun on pilgrimage. She or I.

Also, when a white person walks into foreign predominantly white territory such as the way, concerns might revolve around fitting in, getting along, navigating the experience, budgets, can I really do this.

For me, I too have those concerns but they’re colored, pun intended, by notion of acceptance. It’s a back of brain issue but one nonetheless.

On my second camino in 2002 by day three or four I was greeted with tons of greetings and salutations from other pilgrims. The white American Jesuits with whom I was walking asked me how come so many folks already know you. I stated the obvious, I am the only person who looks like me out here.

One day those same Jesuits entered a store in a small town while I sat outside resting. Upon leaving they asked me if I had any problems on camino due to my race. I said: “no why”. They proceeded to tell me the proprietor expressed contempt towards them for walking with “la morena”.

I consider myself profoundly lucky to have had the exposure I have had. My dad insisted I attend a predominately black elementary school grades: 3-6. My mom insisted I attend the predominantly white junior high. And, my last two years of high school two races vied for predominance: Asians and Hispanics with Blacks and Whites rounding out the numbers.

And yet, even there…. There were two brainiacs at my high school a black girl and a white guy.

One day I overheard the chemistry teacher, a white guy, say to his colleague: “because of the brilliant black girl he will never again believe blacks can’t learn”. My jaw dropped. A: he’d thought blacks couldn’t learn? B: it took brilliance to show him otherwise. Sad.

These repeated experiences year in year out color travel decisions. I can’t speak for all persons of color.

Although, in general for many of us our actions regarding travel in country or without are colored by color. In the USofA blacks are still challenged when we’re at restaurants, hotels, motels. Idea being “you” should not be here.

Travel anywhere means persons of color often ask themselves if I go will I be received? If not, about it, what will I do?

While I am yapping away. I took a few years on this platform before I made my ethnicity known. I thought long and hard. I knew I would be become the other. Did I wish that for myself. Finally, I decided this is who I am within and without with the content of my character as part of the package.

Anyway, back to my original statement. On forum it seems as if everybody in the world knows about this great walk.

Yet, we all know that’s not so. How many of us of all cultures, nationalities, ethnicities have met others within our non peregrino circle who have walked the way?


Thank you for your wonderful words, nyc!!
I, too, was hoping you’d come on and tell it like it is.

There is probably also an element of class/wealth to this. Sadly, I’ll bet @Tincatinker ’s Theology professor and NASA engineer would have met with more acceptance on camino than the Somali boat migrant.
 
I have a problem: I cannot distinguish colours.
Only human beings.
I think I understand your positive intention with this statement. You are saying you don't distinguish on the basis of colour - not that you don't see colour. You treat people as you find them, not based on their 'colour'.

Differences in skin colour - and other physical attributes - are plain to see, and not things that need to be denied. The problem is when people are judged or treated differently based on those attributes.

Regarding a discussion about 'not seeing colour' - the article provided by @truenorthpilgrm and referenced by @David Tallan is well worth reading. 🙏
 
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A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
You probably didn't walk the CF in winter then. Koreans were the largest single nationality recorded by the SJPDP pilgrim office for the first three months of this year. With Americans a close second place. But walking in January this year I estimate that about 1/3 of all the pilgrims I met were Korean but I can't recall meeting a single person from the USA. Timing seems very important.
Doesn't surprise me -- though walking in "reverse" towards your own early January start from SJPP late last year (from my POV), I'd say 1 in 6 were Koreans or other Asians (there were quite a few Japanese in December, and even some expat Chinese, and some ethnic Asians from the West).

Most were still Spanish, which the SJPP stats will simply not reflect, as Spaniards tend to start in Spain, and not from SJPP.

I met many English-speakers last November and December, though the Americans were one minority among several.

Still, by far the largest national group of pilgrims on that Winter Camino were the Spanish. Many French too.
YMMV of course ...
 
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Doesn't surprise me -- though walking in "reverse" towards your own early January start from SJPP late last year (from my POV), I'd say 1 in 6 were Koreans or other Asians (there were quite a few Japanese in December, and even some expat Chinese, and some ethnic Asians from the West).

Most were still Spanish, which the SJPP stats will simply not reflect, as Spaniards tend to start in Spain, and not from SJPP.

I met many English-speakers last November and December, though the Americans were one minority among several.

Still, by far the largest national group of pilgrims on that Winter Camino were the Spanish. Many French too.
YMMV of course ...

I walked winter/spring 2014 February to April.

I met quite a few Koreans. One of them told me their university break happened in winter. That’s why so many walk then.
 
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I've seen people of color on each of 3 Camino's. The most memorable was on CF in 2016, - a lady barrister from London with a booming voice and very strong, very loud opinions that you couldn't hide from. She seemed to enjoy attention, while her teenaged kids kept a lower profile.
 
To one and all, I didn’t happen upon this thread, Chrissy told me about it on: WWF.

CC, sometime next year we MUST leave our virtual existence and meet up.

Although, as Trecile knows currently I am quite reluctant to meet anyone “new”.

After a year-and-half on steroids in order to preserve life the 80 pounds gained and toothsome smile lost have made me meet and greet shy.

Methinks one reason few non whites walk may simply due to lack of happenstance exposure. That’s how all those Koreans discovered it a program in their nation. I met Brazilians who read Paulo Coelho’s book on topic. That was their entre to The Way.

Many Americans found the Camino via: Rick Steves, The Way, friends, et cetera.

But, for persons of color there maybe added bits and bobs to hinder sewing up a camino completion.

In 2000, I was teaching Sunday School at a predominantly white Episcopal parish. The rector’s wife was walking the way for her first time for her 50TH b’day. My way onto the way.

I investigated the route. Then, I decided to walk August 2001with mom insisting on going along for my protection. Or, so she said. She was 70 only walked a single orbit within the nearby mall, to my very, very professional dancer shape 39.

At that time my mom was: a college graduate from a PWI, (predominantly white institute), a divine nine (9) sorority girl. She was retired and had already traveled to Notre Dame, Vatican, Portugal and Spain, Canada, and so on.

However, however!

Her comments the first few days were interesting. From Roncesvalles to somewhere just after Pamplona she said often: “pilgrimage is for white folks, let’s leave and go to Greece”. Does every African-American feel this way? I neither know nor can speak for them. But, that’s what my well traveled mom said to me.

Once we reached Santo Domingo de la Calzada we’d worked out her bus train journey, while I walked, overcame communication problems via Internet Cafes and our Lozano guidebooks.

To this day, by the time I walked into Santiago where she’d spent a week awaiting me I don’t know who had more more fun on pilgrimage. She or I.

Also, when a white person walks into foreign predominantly white territory such as the way, concerns might revolve around fitting in, getting along, navigating the experience, budgets, can I really do this.

For me, I too have those concerns but they’re colored, pun intended, by notion of acceptance. It’s a back of brain issue but one nonetheless.

On my second camino in 2002 by day three or four I was greeted with tons of greetings and salutations from other pilgrims. The white American Jesuits with whom I was walking asked me how come so many folks already know you. I stated the obvious, I am the only person who looks like me out here.

One day those same Jesuits entered a store in a small town while I sat outside resting. Upon leaving they asked me if I had any problems on camino due to my race. I said: “no why”. They proceeded to tell me the proprietor expressed contempt towards them for walking with “la morena”.

I consider myself profoundly lucky to have had the exposure I have had. My dad insisted I attend a predominately black elementary school grades: 3-6. My mom insisted I attend the predominantly white junior high. And, my last two years of high school two races vied for predominance: Asians and Hispanics with Blacks and Whites rounding out the numbers.

And yet, even there…. There were two brainiacs at my high school a black girl and a white guy.

One day I overheard the chemistry teacher, a white guy, say to his colleague: “because of the brilliant black girl he will never again believe blacks can’t learn”. My jaw dropped. A: he’d thought blacks couldn’t learn? B: it took brilliance to show him otherwise. Sad.

These repeated experiences year in year out color travel decisions. I can’t speak for all persons of color.

Although, in general for many of us our actions regarding travel in country or without are colored by color. In the USofA blacks are still challenged when we’re at restaurants, hotels, motels. Idea being “you” should not be here.

Travel anywhere means persons of color often ask themselves if I go will I be received? If not, about it, what will I do?

While I am yapping away. I took a few years on this platform before I made my ethnicity known. I thought long and hard. I knew I would be become the other. Did I wish that for myself. Finally, I decided this is who I am within and without with the content of my character as part of the package.

Anyway, back to my original statement. On forum it seems as if everybody in the world knows about this great walk.

Yet, we all know that’s not so. How many of us of all cultures, nationalities, ethnicities have met others within our non peregrino circle who have walked the way?
Thanks so much @nycwalking for this beautifully crafted and considered post. And thanks @pelerine for starting the conversation.

Like others, I vividly remember the small number of persons of colour I met on my Caminos. It's something I've often thought about, wondering (and in one case asking) what it was like for them.

It's important to have these learning conversations, especially if we don't see e.g. race. colour, neurodiivergence, gender, sexual orientation as a 'thing.' There's more to diversity and inclusion than an honest belief that we treat everyone the same.
 
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This reminds me....passport privilege. By and large the global south does not have the same kinds of mobility as the global north. For instance, if you hold an Indonesian passport, the hoops (and costs) one has to endure in order to obtain a visa to the EU (or US) is mindboggling.
I hadn't even considered the needs for visas! I wonder if there will be less North Americans on Camino when the EITAS comes into being.
 
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I wonder if there will be less North Americans on Camino when the EITAS comes into being.
ETIAS is not a visa. It is a simple online registration that takes minutes in the vast majority of cases, and costs only a few Euros. I cannot imagine it would cause any change in the number of travelers. Many countries already have similar systems in place.

Edited to add: Let's not get into further discussion of ETIAS here. If you want to, search "etias" in the Search box and read all of those posts carefully, or go to this recent thread.
 
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The Camino is very diverse indeed, people from so many nations and peoples but if this new meaning to diversity - white/brown skin is meant then yes, the Camino is not diverse. In fourteen years I have met only two pilgrims with originally African heritage and none from the Indian sub continent.

I find this question fascinating because I have been pondering a similar thing here in England. My hobby is metal detecting and I went to a big weekend camping rally at the end of summer, nearly a thousand of us - very diverse in the sense of participants from just about every European nation plus some Americans and Canadians.
On the Friday night in the big marquee there was a stand up comedy night .. every single comedian made jokes about the lack of diversity ... I looked around, some 600 in the marquee, and every face was a white face and I have been wondering about this ever since.

In England we have a large proportion of citizens who originally came from the West Indies, Indian sub continent, various African nations, etc. Many have been here so long that there are grand children, great grand children, so they are all British and I just assumed that we were culturally integrated .. but we obviously aren't!
Detecting isn't club, you buy a detector, go to a rally, simple as that, but in over 30 years I have only met one detectorist with brown skin (Brixton, London) - in my country born and bred Brits with African or Indian sub continent or Arab, or Chinese do not go detecting .. but I now realise almost none of them are bird watchers, hikers, ramblers, canoeists, canal boat owners, motorhome owners, campers, holiday cyclists - and I have no idea why - my point is that it isn't just the Camino -

My question is - what do the people in these mini societies within society do in their leisure time? Where are they? Where do they go to enjoy themselves, to share with others?

On Camino, and in the mentioned outdoor leisure activities in my country there would be absolutely no bar or resentment if they joined in - why would there be?

We have seen gay people on here asking if they would be "ok" on Camino - so sad that they feel the need to ask - but I cannot remember one question from someone of a heritage that has given them a brown skin ... so maybe not just the Camino - maybe the forum too?

Sorry to have gone on but I have been pondering this for a while .. could it possibly be that due to the history of white Europeans there is an inbuilt residual conditioning to avoid us? to keep to themselves? That they don't 'trust' us in some way? Or is it just a cultural thing? If so I find it terribly sad - there are only humans on this planet.
 
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No offense to the OP but this a rather silly thread. Also I have observed and met on my Caminos pilgrims of all ethnic backgrounds, demographics, religions, gender, age group, height, weight, job variety etc.
It's quite the mix. You just gotta look.
Agree!
 
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I walked winter/spring 2014 February to April.

I met quite a few Koreans. One of them told me their university break happened in winter. That’s why so many walk walk then.

Are you an actor - an American tv series I think then? If so I met you in Puenta la Reina and at Eunate.
 
I cannot remember one question from someone of a heritage that has given them a brown skin ... so maybe not just the Camino - maybe the forum too?
Here's a thread with that very question, and predictably the first few responses from non black members say "of course not," though I don't know how they can be so sure.
 
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Thanks, @trecile, for looking that up. It's the one I was thinking of yesterday.
I just finished reading that entire thread (again), and there were several posts from people who had experienced some degree of racism on the Camino. It's not always (or usually) overt, but small things can add up. Kind of like "death by a thousand cuts."

I think that these two posts can give us some food for thought, particularly the parts that I bolded.

I don't think it is so strange for people in marginalized groups to wonder how inclusive and welcoming the camino is. I guess, for those of us who like to think that the camino is one of the more welcoming and inclusive spaces, it may seems strange. Of course it is! No one will have any problems! Some of the replies on this thread (including one from a few days ago) indicate that isn't the case and the question is reasonable. It is just our privilege that makes us so confident that it is a non-issue.

This came up before and I think it is a legitimate question for a non-white pilgrim to ask. But I would strongly suggest that it can only be answered by other non-white pilgrims. As a white person, we don't see the many ways that discrimination can be perpetrated or felt. I think it is insensitive to pretend that we can.
 
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There are plenty enough black and brown people on the Way, we see at least a couple every week in the high season. More and more each year. A large number of them are from the USA. I met a couple from Mauritius this year, and a lady from Ivory Coast, and two sisters from St. Kitts... nice.

I don't think a couple a week is diversity weighed into a quarter of a million a year, sorry.
 
The Camino is very diverse indeed, people from so many nations and peoples but if this new meaning to diversity - white/brown skin is meant then yes, the Camino is not diverse. In fourteen years I have met only two pilgrims with originally African heritage and none from the Indian sub continent.

I find this question fascinating because I have been pondering a similar thing here in England. My hobby is metal detecting and I went to a big weekend camping rally at the end of summer, nearly a thousand of us - very diverse in the sense of participants from just about every European nation plus some Americans and Canadians.
On the Friday night in the big marquee there was a stand up comedy night .. every single comedian made jokes about the lack of diversity ... I looked around, some 600 in the marquee, and every face was a white face and I have been wondering about this ever since.

In England we have a large proportion of citizens who originally came from the West Indies, Indian sub continent, various African nations, etc. Many have been here so long that there are grand children, great grand children, so they are all British and I just assumed that we were culturally integrated .. but we obviously aren't!
Detecting isn't club, you buy a detector, go to a rally, simple as that, but in over 30 years I have only met one detectorist with brown skin (Brixton, London) - in my country born and bred Brits with African or Indian sub continent or Arab, or Chinese do not go detecting .. but I now realise almost none of them are bird watchers, hikers, ramblers, canoeists, canal boat owners, motorhome owners, campers, holiday cyclists - and I have no idea why - my point is that it isn't just the Camino -

My question is - what do the people in these mini societies within society do in their leisure time? Where are they? Where do they go to enjoy themselves, to share with others?

On Camino, and in the mentioned outdoor leisure activities in my country there would be absolutely no bar or resentment if they joined in - why would there be?

We have seen gay people on here asking if they would be "ok" on Camino - so sad that they feel the need to ask - but I cannot remember one question from someone of a heritage that has given them a brown skin ... so maybe not just the Camino - maybe the forum too?

Sorry to have gone on but I have been pondering this for a while .. could it possibly be that due to the history of white Europeans there is an inbuilt residual conditioning to avoid us? to keep to themselves? That they don't 'trust' us in some way? Or is it just a cultural thing? If so I find it terribly sad - there are only humans on this planet.
Different cultures, different countries, different ethnicity have different interests and hobbies. I think that's a difficult thing for a lot of people to grasp and in their minds they feel that there's some sort of nefarious reason why they don't see people from other demographics doing something that they do. It's like they just can't fathom that maybe they're just not interested in it. Perhaps the same with walking the Camino. Perhaps walking the Camino is just something that mainly certain demographics want to do.
 
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“Where are you from?” is probably one of the most often asked questions on Camino. Pilgrim friends of color have shared how it gets uncomfortable when that question is repeated. “But where are you really from?” or “Where is your family from originally?” I can see how such questions may be meant in innocence, especially when you’re in a small town talking to a bartender or such, but I know how it can be perceived with pain - giving the hurtful impression of not belonging to your own home/town/country based on skin color. That's one I am especially sensitive to now.
 
Can I add into this again? Forgive me.
I am white English, nearly 76 now so brought up and educated in the then best Grammar school in London, 625 boys, masters wearing mortar boards and black gowns and all male and plenty of caning, in the last years of the British Empire educational system (you can imagine what we were taught about the world and the peoples in it? )- and reading the @nycwalking post again (for the fourth time) I now realise that my point of view on this subject is probably hopelessly invalid, invalid because I am white and English and old school and don't have to live with (or even notice) the small and 'insignificant' slights that people of colour have to endure every day - probably much more in the USA than elsewhere.

Here's the thing - my only racist 'insignificant' story. Many decades ago I was in Casablanca, Morocco, and I met an American guy, from LA .. he was broke (had run out of cash until the banks reopened after a holiday, no cashpoints back then) so I suggested we went for a cup of tea.
We went to a cafe with outdoor terrace and sat outside and I ordered - merely because it was my invite. The waiter seemed 'normal' but when he returned he placed a tea in a cup and saucer with tea spoon, with a small plate with a biscuit on it at my new friends' place, and to me set down a cup of tea, no saucer, no spoon, no plate with biscuit, and walked away.

My new friend didn't notice until I pointed it out to him and then he roared with laughter, it choked him up. Why? Because he was a young black guy and what the waiter had done was to treat me the way black people get treated all the time, because he and the waiter were black and I was white. He told me that this was the first time in his life that this had ever happened.

That has never left me, and, pondering more, maybe I do actually know why there are almost no metal detectorists who are black, and why so few on Camino - not because of those of we to whom it isn't important but because of all those others, Spanish and pilgrims, who would do those daily tiny slights that cut so deep.

So my thoughts. If I am wrong here I apologise. :-(❤️
 
Can I add into this again? Forgive me.
I am white English, nearly 76 now so brought up and educated in the then best Grammar school in London, 625 boys, masters wearing mortar boards and black gowns and all male and plenty of caning, in the last years of the British Empire educational system (you can imagine what we were taught about the world and the peoples in it? )- and reading the @nycwalking post again (for the fourth time) I now realise that my point of view on this subject is probably hopelessly invalid, invalid because I am white and English and old school and don't have to live with (or even notice) the small and 'insignificant' slights that people of colour have to endure every day - probably much more in the USA than elsewhere.

Here's the thing - my only racist 'insignificant' story. Many decades ago I was in Casablanca, Morocco, and I met an American guy, from LA .. he was broke (had run out of cash until the banks reopened after a holiday, no cashpoints back then) so I suggested we went for a cup of tea.
We went to a cafe with outdoor terrace and sat outside and I ordered - merely because it was my invite. The waiter seemed 'normal' but when he returned he placed a tea in a cup and saucer with tea spoon, with a small plate with a biscuit on it at my new friends' place, and to me set down a cup of tea, no saucer, no spoon, no plate with biscuit, and walked away.

My new friend didn't notice until I pointed it out to him and then he roared with laughter, it choked him up. Why? Because he was a young black guy and what the waiter had done was to treat me the way black people get treated all the time, because he and the waiter were black and I was white. He told me that this was the first time in his life that this had ever happened.

That has never left me, and, pondering more, maybe I do actually know why there are almost no metal detectorists who are black, and why so few on Camino - not because of those of we to whom it isn't important but because of all those others, Spanish and pilgrims, who would do those daily tiny slights that cut so deep.

So my thoughts. If I am wrong here I apologise. :-(❤️
Did you pay the bill?
 
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There are plenty enough black and brown people on the Way, we see at least a couple every week in the high season. More and more each year. A large number of them are from the USA. I met a couple from Mauritius this year, and a lady from Ivory Coast, and two sisters from St. Kitts... nice.
My 2012 "Camino Family" about to set out.... A moment - and a photo - that I treasure!
(That's Anniesantiago kneeling in the foreground.)

View attachment 160745
Sorry, but since you have walked the Camino since 1977 and can only find one pic from 11 years ago pretty much substantiates the OP's point.
 
My 2012 "Camino Family" about to set out.... A moment - and a photo - that I treasure!
(That's Anniesantiago kneeling in the foreground.)

View attachment 160745
What an attractive group of happy pilgrims! I notice the Reverend R. is the only man in that group of eight ladies. 😉
 
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I'll chirp in with my own experience with diversity on the camino, to further underscore the lack thereof.

On my 5 caminos (3 CF, 1 Finsterre, and 1 Le Puy), I only saw ONE young black woman, and she was from Portugal, by way of west Africa, I believe.

Other people of color included a few from Mexico, and of course from Korea (who experience their own unique racism on the camino--just saw an instagram post where a few Spanish ppl were being horribly racist to a young Korean woman while she was stamping her own credential).
 
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Pilgrim friends of color have shared how it gets uncomfortable when that question is repeated. “But where are you really from?” or “Where is your family from originally?”
Yes! The "no, but where are you FROM from?" is seen as a demand for one to account for themselves, when they've already given the answer. It may not be the interrogator's intent, but the unconscious bias could feel like "to what extent do you belong?"

My Irish ancestors landed in Chicago at the beginning of the 20th century, yet no one asks me that question.

*Editing to add: my friend is of Tlingit/Haida nation descent (Southeast Alaska Native American) and she gets the "where are you FROM from" question (along with "you're so exotic looking"). Her answer: "I've always been here; my people have existed on this land a millennium before America became America".
 
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Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
I am a genealogist and I often ask individuals what their heritage is and/or where their ancestors came from. Color is misleading and is NOT a reliable characteristic to evaluate or determine where one might come from. Please don't assume these types of questions are anything but a valid or sincere interest in an individual's history.
Lastly, I refuse; I reject en toto the demand to see life through a racial lens. I have lived throughout the world. I grew up excluded from the "in" group. That rejection was not my problem, but the result of the evil of humanity, the carnal man. That was my chosen perspective - righteous or evil. Holiness is found everywhere and has nothing to do with race, creed, or religion. I seek out holiness and that which inspires me. I have been inspired in a mosque, a mountain top, a humble church, and a grand cathedral.
 
The question ¨where are you from?¨ is nearly always offensive because it assumes that the answer is ¨not here¨, in other words you are marked as an outsider before you even open your mouth to speak. ¨No, but where are you really from?¨ obviously exacerbates the offence. Ironically, one of the few contexts where it is acceptable to ask where someone is from is on camino since a a pilgrim is, by definition, from somewhere else. Acceptable, that is, if the first answer is accepted.
 
indeed very few blacks or North Africans even among the residents of [Portugal].
To clarify one portion of this -- the great majority of the blacks I did come across in Portugal last year were of Brazilian origin, and native Portuguese speakers, rather than Africans.
 
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For me the question "where are you from" is fine if the other person has an accent and it's a token comment in a conversation vibe. I would also be asking as an immigrant myself seeing as I am Brit living in Canada.
 
To clarify one portion of this -- the great majority of the blacks I did come across in Portugal last year were of Brazilian origin, and native Portuguese speakers, rather than Africans.
Portuguese is spoken by a large number of people in Angola, Mozambique, Sao Tomé e Principe, the Cabo Verde islands and Guinea Bissau either as a first or second language. When I lived in Portugal it was fairly unusual to meet Brazilians at all but quite common to meet both black and white people from one of the former Portuguese colonies, especially in Lisbon and Oporto.
 
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I often ask people where they are from, including if they have an accent I cannot identify. It has nothing to do with the colour of their skin, and certainly is not asked in order to exclude them. I ask because I am interested in them and their experiences. I am interested in people who move from one country to another, or learn different languages.

Added: Obviously, context and tone are extremely important, and one must judge when and where this question - or any other personal question - is appropriate.
 
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I just looked at some easily available stats, by nationalities. The majority that walk the Camino are Spanish at 70%. Other UK and European 15%.
The remainder from the Americas, Asia and Pacific, Australasia. That is, places where Christianity became established.

Those from diverse origins are most likely to come from those countries. So it's likely that the Camino is as diverse as it can be.
 
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I am glad this thread is still hanging on... it has exercised my mind since I first saw the title. Every last one of us is a stranger in a foreign land. That is as much as I can say without writing a book. Once more, thanks to the op and the many thoughtful and open posts from others. As for relevance, to the camino of life...👏
 
I thought l thought I would look up the OED definition of diversity… it says

“diversity” is defined as “the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.”

It we cannot talk about that then it’s poor show.

It’s a positive thing not a negative thing.

Maybe we will reach some broad thoughts. Maybe even ways the ‘Camino ’ can buck the trend and achieve a level of diversity that other hikes cannot. Maybe it has the iconic status to do that! It wouldn’t be easy and it might not be free… who holds the budget?!!!
 
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I just looked at some easily available stats, by nationalities. The majority that walk the Camino are Spanish at 70%. Other UK and European 15%.
The remainder from the Americas, Asia and Pacific, Australasia. That is, places where Christianity became established.

Those from diverse origins are most likely to come from those countries. So it's likely that the Camino is as diverse as it can be.
And I think that almost all are urban people.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
It we cannot talk about that then it’s poor show.
I tend to agree, however such topics raise lot of ire and promote torrid disagreement, which is a good reason for them being excluded from this forum.
 
I often ask people where they are from, including if they have an accent I cannot identify. It has nothing to do with the colour of their skin, and certainly is not asked in order to exclude them. I ask because I am interested in them and their experiences. I am interested in people who move from one country to another, or learn different languages.

Added: Obviously, context and tone are extremely important, and one must judge when and where this question - or any other personal question - is appropriate.
Last paragraph 100% nails it!
 
I thought l thought I would look up the OED definition of diversity… it says

“diversity” is defined as “the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.”

It we cannot talk about that then it’s poor show.

It’s a positive thing not a negative thing.

Maybe we will reach some broad thoughts. Maybe even ways the ‘Camino ’ can buck the trend and achieve a level of diversity that other hikes cannot. Maybe it has the iconic status to do that! It wouldn’t be easy and it might not be free… who holds the budget?!!!
Thank you for this definition.
In the past we also had threads about different social backgrounds, for example incomestatus. Seeing I do not want to hijack the valuable post from the OP I am not going into detail.
Especially as colour and incomestatus are not always linked ( might be in some some countries of course ).

What I just want to make clear is that as a cisgender white female , living in a country with decent social security and a job that makes me middleclass ( oh I dislike that description ) I know I am privileged.
I will never completely understand what it does to a person when you are treated different in a bar or club due to your colour. I will also not understand what it means to stand in line for a foodbank.

IMO these important themes are not about " woke " or " cancelling ".

Call me naive but I still believe we can solve lots of world issues with respect, listening to the other , kindness, compassion and simple and honest humanity.
Humour and context can help too...

If this is too much rambling, please mods, intervene.
 
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such topics raise lot of ire and promote torrid disagreement, which is a good reason for them being excluded from this forum.
In fact, what we want to exclude from the forum are the insults and personal arguments. If we can discuss these topics in a respectful way, then we all learn.
 
I have begun to think that the thread has answered my question about the lack of diversity on the caminos and the possible reasons for it - a lot of food for thought. What to do about it was my other question. No answer so far and while we think about it maybe we will calm down and reflect and let the thread lie dormant (like so many other threads) until somone comes up with a positive idea how to be more inclusive….
 
I tend to agree, however such topics raise lot of ire and promote torrid disagreement, which is a good reason for them being excluded from this forum.
I understand your view. Conscious of rule 3 but we are conditioned to think of diversity as controversial, ‘PC gone mad’ and so on. Understandable as many of us are bombarded with it every day via the media. It’s doesn’t have to be that way.

All we are discussing is that some folks feel the ‘Camino door’ may not be open to them for various reasons, how do we open that door to them, and bring them into the fold.
 
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All we are discussing is that some folks feel the ‘Camino door’ may not be open to them for various reasons, how do we open that door to them, and bring them into the fold.

Is this really the case? Is the camino door closed to anyone at all? If you pay attention to threads such as "True Pilgrim", then it would seem that some narrow minded pedants may wish to exclude some potential pilgrims, but really how widespread is this attitude?
 
I have been advised that I can talk to moderators about my deleted posts. How do I do this?
 
I have been advised that I can talk to moderators about my deleted posts. How do I do this?

I just wanted to advise this. Right upper corner site you will find an envelop.
Click on it and start a private conversation with a mod. Or report your own post so it will come to their attention.

Please be not the reason this thread will get closed.
 
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Thank you for this definition.
In the past we also had threads about different social backgrounds, for example incomestatus. Seeing I do not want to hijack the valuable post from the OP I am not going into detail.
Especially as colour and incomestatus are not always linked ( might be in some some countries of course ).

What I just want to make clear is that as a cisgender white female , living in a country with decent social security and a job that makes me middleclass ( oh I dislike that description ) I know I am privileged.
I will never completely understand what it does to a person when you are treated different in a bar or club due to your colour. I will also not understand what it means to stand in line for a foodbank.

IMO these important themes are not about " woke " or " cancelling ".

Call me naive but I still believe we can solve lots of worldissues with respect, listening to the other , kindness, compassion and simple and honest humanity.
Humour and context can help too...

If this is too much rambling, please mods, intervene.
It’s a great post and I will relate an experience. I am not remotely suggesting it gets anywhere near anything based on ethnicity but try this…

I am 57, white, male, working class, heterosexual, I eat meat, like football, drink alcohol and so on. I have always ‘swam’ in the mainstream. Never really felt that I was an outsider, always felt included.

I am from poor and social housing background. Never really gave it a thought as so were everyone else I knew.

But when I started working, I met a very new group of people, middle class people, very different to me! I liked football they didn’t, I drank beer, they drank wine, I went for a 2 week ‘jolly up’ in Ibiza, they went riding and skiing, They went to dinner parties, which I had never heard of. They owned their own properties, had big bookcases, and so on!

I felt really different, weird, not part of it. No one was being remotely unwelcome, in fact everyone was so nice. They were very inclusive but I did become a bit of a curiosity!! But there was a reluctance by me to step fully into the conversation. My weekends were very different to theirs! No one was excluding me. It has stayed with me. I think of diversity and inclusion with this in mind.
 
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