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Diversity on the Camino

Is there anyone here who has never been asked at some point in an albergue or bar on the Camino where they are from?
There are a few of us (Kiwis) on the Camino, but our numbers are still low comparatively I guess, and our accent is different. They ask me, not my husband. I don't think anyone ever asked him directly, I guess culturally he's hard to place - he's not white, but speaks English, but not with a British or American accent.
 
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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?
Great question and a really fundamental and important point. It’s not necessarily that anyone is closing the door, but some people feel that the door is closed or don’t belong. Of course if they feel the door is open, whether they walk through it or not depends on a whole host of things.
 
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.”
OED 2nd Edition 2009 :

"1. a.1.a The condition or quality of being diverse, different, or varied; difference, unlikeness."

And diverse : "1.1 Different in character or quality; not of the same kind; not alike in nature or qualities."
 
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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?
At the risk of my post being deemed argumentative, I would like to say this: I am entitled to think what I like about another member of the forum, and vice versa, but on a flat forum such as this, wireless, with no visual clue as to nuance, humour or just plain human intent on reaching understanding I am not entitled to say what I am thinking.
edit: if my thinking is putting someone in a box of my choosing.
 
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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?

@nycwalking ?
Who was very active in the ‘not serious’ thread, for a start.

I’m not sure nyc would need to post a question - been on here for donkey’s years and walked long before most of us 😉

There’s also @Iriebabel and @KCarole (who started the previous thread referred to above) as well and, hopefully, other forum members.
 
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but on a flat forum such as this, wireless, with no visual clue as to nuance, humour or just plain human intent on reaching understanding I am not entitled to say what I am thinking.
I quite agree
 
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but some people feel that the door is closed or don’t belong.
Is that our problem, or theirs?

Of course if they feel the door is open, whether they walk through it or not depends on a whole host of things.
Of course it does, but perhaps not really so many. If they choose not to walk through, whose problem is it?
 
O
Is that our problem, or theirs?


Of course it does, but perhaps not really so many. If they choose not to walk through, whose problem is it?
It’s no-one’s problem and it not us and them. Just trying to make the Camino a more attractive proposition for a broader group of people. It really is that simple!!!
 
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It’s no-one’s problem and it not us and them. Just trying to make the Camino a more attractive proposition for a broader group of people. It really is that simple!!!
If it is no-ones problem, then surely it isn't a problem, or importantly shouldn't be. A more attractive proposition for a broader group of people? Who are these people and why do they need to be attracted any more than any others?

Increasing numbers are in fact being attracted if we accept the numbers reported. I have no problem with that.
 
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It’s not so much that you want to be attract one group over another, but you need to maybe think a bit differently or work a bit harder to reach folks historically that have not been thinking of a particular activity. It doesn’t mean disadvantaging a group whose decision to do an activity maybe more organic and natural. I guess it a bit like attracting women to be pilots, engineers, bus driver or boxers! (*** Let’s not introduce gender to the topic). No one ever said women can’t apply for these roles not for various reason they felt a degree of ‘outsiderness’!

If nothing else think of the financial opportunity. The amount of money many folks from say China, the Middle east, and India spend in Europe is colossal! Admittedly many won’t be in the target market for the shared dorm and shared bathroom experience, but even if we can grab a small slice of that we could be paying hospitaleros and the mods on here a couple of million USD a year!
 
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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.
As Asians (aka, people of color) we stood out during our Camino. We were often asked where we were from. We didn’t mind and were happy to talk to or engage with anyone friendly enough.

In Moratinos, we had a lovely dinner with a rather diverse group at the Albergue San Bruno: Mary from US, Yanos and Anita from Hungary, Mirae-who’s black from Belgium, and Sasha who’s German but grew up in Spain. I must say, the issue of cultural diversity never came up during the three-hour dinner although we talked about lots of things even non-Camino-related stuff.

We met other Asians, mostly Koreans. Many Koreans we met were girls who live in places other than Korea, like the US, UK, and Australia, most of them were traveling alone and had no issues with it. There was also an elderly gentleman who has lived in Germany for 30 years and has done multiple Caminos.

In Logroño, we met a young Taiwanese couple who were wandering around Calle Laurel, and we greeted and hugged each other like old friends. We met them again in Sto. Domingo de Calzada where I explained the tale of the chickens.

In Burgos, we met two Taiwanese boys (in their 20s) who were leapfrogging to Leon and Sarria after one of them suffered an injury, admittedly because they were rushing.

In Navarette, we met Pancha, an Indonesian lady who said we were the only Asians she had met up to that day. We met her again in Atapuerca and she still said the same thing.

Of course, we met other nationalities, mostly Europeans, the majority of them Spanish. In all our encounters, they were curious about us in a good way but were quite friendly.

In short, we knew and felt we were different from most of the other peregrinos but we took that as part of our Camino experience and I must say it was gratifying in the end.


@nycwalking on the issue of “pilgrimage is for white folks”, I’ve pondered upon this over the years, especially during the times in the past decades when I was trying to figure out what it was that was making me want to walk the Camino so bad. (i.e. Why the dream of doing it stuck with me for 40 years? Was it something I really wanted to do? Or was it just the legacy of a colonialist religious past that managed to bury itself inside my brain and could not be rooted out?) After much thought, I concluded that a pilgrimage on the Camino is something I wanted to do even if I do not know or understand why I wanted to do it. In short, it had nothing to do with whether it was a “white folk” tradition or not. It was just me.

Thanks for reading this far. Buen Camino!

P.S. I've edited this post to add a pic of our dinner in Moratinos, a truly memorable moment.🥰
Mary Yanos Anita Mirae Sasha_Miratinos Oct 19 2023.JPG
 
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I have been advised that I can talk to moderators about my deleted posts. How do I do this?
In the dark blue tool bar, top right, in between your name and the bell symbol (for alerts) is an envelope symbol. Click on that.
 
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In the dark blue tool bar, top right, in between your name and the bell symbol (for alerts) is an envelope symbol. Click on that.
Thanks. I have tried it.
 
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,

I was on a longish train journey in a European country (not the UK) and initially the carriage was full with commuters but it gradually emptied and I found myself sitting opposite a man of colour and so after a while I started chatting to him.

Initially he ignored me and I wondered if my assumption that he spoke English was incorrect but I kept prattling on, commenting about trivial things and eventually he started chatting back.

After a while he asked me where I was from and I told him, Aotearoa New Zealand. He then asked me if it was usual in my home country to talk to strangers on public transport.

I replied that probably not on a bus going to work but on a train and on a longer journey probably yes, it was common.

He then explained that he had come to the country that we were in as a child refugee after trauma in his home country but that he remembered with pleasure that in his original home country that people often greeted each other on the street and talked to strangers and he missed that.

After this our conversation got more convivial and drifted off onto other topics.

Eventually we both got to the end destination and exited the carriage together. On the platform we shook hands and said goodbye. He had started to leave when he turned back to me and said "do you know that in the 35 years that I have lived in this country you are the first person who has ever initiated a conversation with me without being formally introduced beforehand". He then smiled, turned and walked away.

It is very easy to exclude people without being overtly discriminatory.

Mind you , my own country is far from perfect either.

I was thinking of joining an organisation that mainly caters to older men in my home city. I phoned the President to enquire and he invited me to the AGM that was happening shortly thereafter.

I went along to the AGM and when I entered the room where it was being held someone recognised that I was new, came across to greet me, chatted to me in a friendly manner and showed me around and introduced me to some other people there.

I then grabbed a sausage from the BBQ and my companion went back to his group of friends by the door. I was standing, chewing on my sausage and thinking that this was a nice friendly organisation when I looked up and noticed a man of colour enter the room.

I hadn't noticed before but everyone else in the room was white. The coloured guy was hesitant and so I realised that he was also new like me and here to check out the organisation.

I was thinking, you are about to be surprised at how welcoming they are when I noticed that the man who had been so welcoming to me had spotted this new guy but instead of going over to welcome him he turned his back on him instead.

The new guy walked further into the room and I was sure that someone of the many friendly people who I had met would surely go over to him and say hello. But no, all the people who had greeted me warmly ignored the new guy.

I was on the verge of going over to say hello myself when the stranger turned around and walked out.

I mused about this for a while, finished my sausage and then I too walked out and I have never returned.
 
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As Asians (aka, people of color) we stood out during our Camino. We were often asked where we were from. We didn’t mind and were happy to talk to or engage with anyone friendly enough.

In Moratinos, we had a lovely dinner with a rather diverse group at the Albergue San Bruno: Mary from US, Yanos and Anita from Hungary, Mirae-who’s black from Belgium, and Sasha who’s German but grew up in Spain. I must say, the issue of cultural diversity never came up during the three-hour dinner although we talked about lots of things even non-Camino-related stuff.

We met other Asians, mostly Koreans. Many Koreans we met were girls who live in places other than Korea, like the US, UK, and Australia, most of them were traveling alone and had no issues with it. There was also an elderly gentleman who has lived in Germany for 30 years and has done multiple Caminos.

In Logroño, we met a young Taiwanese couple who were wandering around Calle Laurel, and we greeted and hugged each other like old friends. We met them again in Sto. Domingo de Calzada where I explained the tale of the chickens.

In Burgos, we met two Taiwanese boys (in their 20s) who were leapfrogging to Leon and Sarria after one of them suffered an injury, admittedly because they were rushing.

In Navarette, we met Pancha, an Indonesian lady who said we were the only Asians she had met up to that day. We met her again in Atapuerca and she still said the same thing.

Of course, we met other nationalities, mostly Europeans, the majority of them Spanish. In all our encounters, they were curious about us in a good way but were quite friendly.

In short, we knew and felt we were different from most of the other peregrinos but we took that as part of our Camino experience and I must say it was gratifying in the end.


@nycwalking on the issue of “pilgrimage is for white folks”, I’ve pondered upon this over the years, especially during the times in the past decades when I was trying to figure out what it was that was making me want to walk the Camino so bad. (i.e. Why the dream of doing it stuck with me for 40 years? Was it something I really wanted to do? Or was it just the legacy of a colonialist religious past that managed to bury itself inside my brain and could not be rooted out?) After much thought, I concluded that a pilgrimage on the Camino is something I wanted to do even if I do not know or understand why I wanted to do it. In short, it had nothing to do with whether it was a “white folk” tradition or not. It was just me.

Thanks for reading this far. Buen Camino!

P.S. I've edited this post to add a pic of our dinner in Moratinos, a truly memorable moment.
View attachment 160754

Lovely answer.

I guess, “it’s a white people thing”, is a stock answer or thought when we non-whites step out of our perceived limited spaces and into larger arenas. Aka: Expand our horizons.

One of my cousins called her brother-in-law, “white boy” when he took up skydiving. Like my mom, she too is a college graduate.

I will state again by Santiago I think mom had more fun than I with her walking, bus, train, taxi journey from Roncesvalles to Santiago. She also experienced one camino angel aid after the other.

Yes, I encountered racism here and there on camino. Yes, it hurt.

But, overall the Spanish people were just terrific.

My camino angels appearances from first one in 2001 to latest in 2019, made me a believer in the kindness of strangers, and the mystical nature of the way.

I followed your live from camino posts and truly enjoyed them.

Thanks so much for your reply.

Buen camino.
 
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But some of us might wonder why that is the case.
Then if it is that much of a cause of concern for you perhaps do something to change it, if you feel it's due to wrongs. Certainly that would be more effective than just wondering about it and expressing said wonder on an internet forum. I mean anybody can do that. ;)
 
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.
I think it depends upon context. It us one thing to dig deeper in a genealogical inquiry. It is another if the white guy next to you answers "Chicago" and the matter is left there, then the white woman says "Milwaukee" and no more questions are asked, but you say "San Francisco" and the questions continue. That may be a sincere interest in an individual's history, but it is not an interest that is evenly applied.
 
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….
Re: what to do about it.

One reason given was lack of exposure. Those of us who are involved in promoting the Camino (e.g. in Camino associations) can consider where we are promoting the Camino and our events.
 
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Thanks. I have tried it.
I think SabsP gave you the answer right away.

You can use the message function which you report having tried. You have to address your message to a particular moderator or moderators. We can be identified by the word Moderator under our names when we post. I think there is also a list of us on the "Members" page, accessible through a link in the toolbar at the top of the page on the Desktop version of the site.

If you want to communicate with all of us, the easiest way is just to report one of your own posts, using the report link under the post, and write in the report what you want us to read. We can all see the reports coming in.

If you still feel you cannot communicate privately with us, I'm not sure what else can be said.
 
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Then if it is that much of a cause of concern for you perhaps do something to change it, if you feel it's due to wrongs. Certainly that would be more effective than just wondering about it and expressing said wonder on an internet forum. I mean anybody can do that. ;)
I don't think considering why it is the case precludes trying to change it.

I think attempts to change it will be more likely to be successful if we first concern ourselves with why it is the case. Otherwise, we might waste our energy changing things that aren't the problem and ignoring things that contribute to it.

Your mileage may vary, of course.
 
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It’s a shame that some posts on this thread are very confrontational.
I agree. So unnecessary. But, thankfully it’s only a few. The vast majority of participants / posts have demonstrated that it is possible to have a thoughtful and respectful exchange of experiences, ideas and opinions. 🙏
 
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As Asians (aka, people of color) we stood out during our Camino.
I'd tend to disagree. I walked from Santiago to SJPP last year, and I saw, and I met, passed time with, and exchanged views with *many* Asian pilgrims, of all ages, origins, and purposes.

Not infrequently, non-Asians were the minority.

But even so -- we're all just pilgrims, and what we have in common is far greater than what we don't.
 
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It’s a shame that some posts on this thread are very confrontational.
I agree. So unnecessary. But, thankfully it’s only a few. The vast majority of participants / posts have demonstrated that it is possible to have a thoughtful and respectful exchange of experiences, ideas and opinions. 🙏
We have deleted a few of the more aggressively rude posts and would like to repeat the request that if you do not think that this topic is "worthy" of forum discussion, please just ignore it. Ridicule, rudeness, and sarcasm are more problematic than usual when the discussion involves a difficult and sometimes sensitive topic like this. And if you don't think diversity on the camino is an issue, that's great, but no need to show your disdain for those who do.
 
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.
We might have been separated at birth - but we do live in a society where such personal development is (relatively) possible, and to a degree encouraged.

That’s a good thing.
 
I find it interesting that "diversity" is apparently mainly meant to be about skin colour....?

That's a bit confusing to me. The Camino always felt very diverse to me.

I met all kinds of people.

Rich and poor.

Young and old.

Religious and atheists.

(ex-) soldiers and pacifists.

From very fit and sportive to very unfit or even sick (from cancer to mental issues) or disabled, sitting in a wheelchair or walking with a prosthetic leg...

Men and women.

Straight and homosexual.

Highly educated and with very simple education.

Working class, the unemployed, artists, business people...

Different political views.

People from many different countries and even continents.

And yes, people with different kinds of skin colours, too.

Ect.

Is that not diverse?

Am I missing something?
 
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I find it interesting that "diversity" is apparently mainly meant to be about skin colour....?

That's a bit confusing to me. The Camino always felt very diverse to me.

I met all kinds of people.

Rich and poor.

Young and old.

Religious and atheists.

(ex-) soldiers and pacifists.

From very fit and sportive to very unfit or even sick (from cancer to mental issues) or disabled, sitting in a wheelchair or walking with a prosthetic leg...

Men and women.

Straight and homosexual.

Highly educated and with very simple education.

Working class, the unemployed, artists, business people...

Different political views.

People from many different countries and even continents.

And yes, people with different kinds of skin colours, too.

Ect.

Is that not diverse?

Am I missing something?
You’re not missing anything IMHO other than that, in the context that you met all these diverse people you had at least one thing in common - a ‘neutral’ conversation starter of Camino which might have been absent or not apparent in other situations.

If I passed them in the street in daily life I don’t think I would be motivated to strike up a conversation; but in a Camino context I’ve interacted with a more diverse range of people in a day than I would in a year at home.
 
I find it interesting that "diversity" is apparently mainly meant to be about skin colour....?

That's a bit confusing to me. The Camino always felt very diverse to me.

I met all kinds of people.

Rich and poor.

Young and old.

Religious and atheists.

(ex-) soldiers and pacifists.

From very fit and sportive to very unfit or even sick (from cancer to mental issues) or disabled, sitting in a wheelchair or walking with a prosthetic leg...

Men and women.

Straight and homosexual.

Highly educated and with very simple education.

Working class, the unemployed, artists, business people...

Different political views.

People from many different countries and even continents.

And yes, people with different kinds of skin colours, too.

Ect.

Is that not diverse?

Am I missing something?
No you are not missing anything. Diversity cover a multitude of things, many of which you have listed. I guess the title could be ‘sharper’ to indicate it is around one aspect of diversity, and maybe that could be emphasised more as the thread develops.
 
You’re not missing anything IMHO other than that, in the context that you met all these diverse people you had at least one thing in common - a ‘neutral’ conversation starter of Camino which might have been absent or not apparent in other situations.

If I passed them in the street in daily life I don’t think I would be motivated to strike up a conversation; but in a Camino context I’ve interacted with a more diverse range of people in a day than I would in a year at home.
This is true for me, too. The only conversations I have with strangers in my home town are when I see them on my local trail walking their dog. I usually stop them long enough to ask the dog's breed and say they are cute. We have a nice exchange of words before moving on.
I have also been known to strike up a conversation if I see someone walking with a backpack on. In fact, that is how I met a stranger who became one of the girlfriend's I walked the Via Podiensis with.

If I am traveling to a different city I "may" ask someone for directions if I need help, although google has nearly eliminated the need.

Talking with strangers on the Camino is an entitely different bird altogether.🙂
 
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I find it interesting that "diversity" is apparently mainly meant to be about skin colour....?

That's a bit confusing to me. The Camino always felt very diverse to me.

I met all kinds of people.

Rich and poor.

Young and old.

Religious and atheists.

(ex-) soldiers and pacifists.

From very fit and sportive to very unfit or even sick (from cancer to mental issues) or disabled, sitting in a wheelchair or walking with a prosthetic leg...

Men and women.

Straight and homosexual.

Highly educated and with very simple education.

Working class, the unemployed, artists, business people...

Different political views.

People from many different countries and even continents.

And yes, people with different kinds of skin colours, too.

Ect.

Is that not diverse?

Am I missing something?
I think that your long listing of the many ways in which we human beings are different and unique really highlights how the camino attracts a hugely diverse population. But the list also really reinforces for me the one feature in which we are mostly alike on the Camino. So much diversity in so many ways, in fact way more diversity than I typically find in my home environment — except for skin color.
 
Talking with strangers on the Camino is an entitely different bird altogether.🙂

Who will I meet this time is part of reason I return to camino over and over.

I met the three Jesuits on second camino at dinner in Roncesvalles. I was living in NYC at the time. Two of the three also lived in NYC, the other in Baltimore, Maryland. Serendipity.

I am always surprised at the alacrity with which we pilgrims share our lives out there.

Walking for hours a day, communal sleeps, cafe stops brings about an intimacy allowing for sharing.

Outside of camino dorms, most of us wouldn’t normally see Jesuit priests in their skivies.

Walking, talking, eating, laughing, and sharing our lives is so very, very, very nice.

Buen camino to we all.
 
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I find it interesting that "diversity" is apparently mainly meant to be about skin colour....?

That's a bit confusing to me. The Camino always felt very diverse to me.

I met all kinds of people.

Rich and poor.

Young and old.

Religious and atheists.

(ex-) soldiers and pacifists.

From very fit and sportive to very unfit or even sick (from cancer to mental issues) or disabled, sitting in a wheelchair or walking with a prosthetic leg...

Men and women.

Straight and homosexual.

Highly educated and with very simple education.

Working class, the unemployed, artists, business people...

Different political views.

People from many different countries and even continents.

And yes, people with different kinds of skin colours, too.

Ect.

Is that not diverse?

Am I missing something?
I think in this particular thread, diversity is primarily about skin colour, based on the first post. (Note that the thread was retitled by a moderator; perhaps a more specific title could have been chosen.) Other threads on the forum have focused on other types of diversity and inclusion.
 
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I have, so many times. Just a normal part of a conversation amongst strangers embarked on a journey such as the Camino.
I was recently on the GC enjoying the weather, visiting rellies and walking part of the coast. After a short 13klm walk dodging the rain I called into what had become my favourite coffee stop for a Mocha and I was served by a gorgeous young woman with an intriguing accent.

I often think before asking this question but that day I was just too curious and so I asked "where are you from?"

Initially she started off saying "I am Brazilian" and then she caught herself and said "Hey, no, I am Australian!" and it was clear from her face that she was a little annoyed with the question.

In an attempt to lighten the mood I then said in my best faux Ozzie accent "I guess you speak 'strine then?"

Quick as a flash and with a huge smile on her face she said "Yeah cobber, yesterday me and me mate went down the pub to play the pokies and sink a few tinnies"

After which we both had a great chuckle 😁
 
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.
I can totally relate. This was how we felt most of the time. But then we just treated it as part of our Camino experience which in hindsight made our Camino that much more special. Buen Camino!
 
Is that not diverse?

Am I missing something?

As an overweight person on the Camino I was very aware of the fact that I was a minority in the pilgrim community, and on several occasions I felt I was overlooked as a result.

Just because you met all these “diverse” people doesn’t necessarily mean that they weren’t treated differently, if not by you possibly by others.
 
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As a tour guide in Frankfurt, we get people joining our tours from all around the world. I gave up on guessing accents a long, long time ago. For me, what works best is to ask people where they live. Where they are from feels like a personal intrusion. If they want to tell me they are Spanish, even though they live in Iceland at some point during the tour, that is fine, other than that, why is it important to know where people are "From"? I like to know where they live. Do you like the heat of Singapore, or the snowy winters in Sweden, or Carnival in Brazil? People will tell you where they are from during conversation, you don't have to ask them.

My last 2 Caminos were in April & May, last year and this year on the CF. This year, I believe Korea was the #1 nationality during this time period. There was also a group from Singapore walking over the Pyrenees at the same time we were and they were having a blast throwing snowballs and enjoying their first experience with snow. There were a few people from Taiwan, Japan, and India.
Honestly, the only POC I have seen though, on 5 Caminos have been Brazilians or from the UK. Some of the FB Camino womens' groups have a few members that aren't white, but not very many.
 
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.
You are so right , thank you 🙏🏻
 
For me, what works best is to ask people where they live

why is it important to know where people are "From"?

Yeah, horses for courses, as they say.

If it was obvious that the person who I am talking to is outside their country of residence then I might ask where they live but if I am talking to a young woman serving me coffee then I think that it would be a bit creepy if I asked her where she lived.

What do you think? 🤔
 
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Why would you ask the person serving you coffee where they are from?
We are talking about the people walking the Camino, not the people working in the cafe or bar.
 
As a tour guide in Frankfurt, we get people joining our tours from all around the world. I gave up on guessing accents a long, long time ago. For me, what works best is to ask people where they live. Where they are from feels like a personal intrusion. If they want to tell me they are Spanish, even though they live in Iceland at some point during the tour, that is fine, other than that, why is it important to know where people are "From"? I like to know where they live. Do you like the heat of Singapore, or the snowy winters in Sweden, or Carnival in Brazil? People will tell you where they are from during conversation, you don't have to ask them.
Based on our experience, it doesn’t really matter where one is from. As we walk the Camino, most peregrinos become attached to a group or groups of people we walk with or meet at the end of the day in our lodgings or in the same town. There is a spirit of community and camaraderie that allows us/peregrinos to form our own “Camino family”, and we are likely to remain in touch with each other even after the pilgrimage is over. After all, there is something about going through the same experiences, facing the same challenges, and overcoming all odds together that binds people who were once strangers. We met a lot of them, and we intend to stay in touch with some. Some of us even entertain the idea of doing another Camino together in the future.😁 Buen Camino!
 
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why is it important to know where people are "From"? I like to know where they live.
It isn't usually important. Generally, none of our conversation starters are "important" topics. Both of those questions are interesting topics for conversation, and I don't see anything wrong with asking as long as we are not pushy about the answers.

Why would you ask the person serving you coffee where they are from?
Because the conversation led that way. No one is suggesting that it is polite to walk up to a stranger and demand to know where they live or came from.
 
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Yeah, horses for courses, as they say.

If it was obvious that the person who I am talking to is outside their country of residence then I might ask where they live but if I am talking to a young woman serving me coffee then I think that it would be a bit creepy if I asked her where she lived.

What do you think? 🤔
Ask no questions, told no lies. A line from a weekly soap 40 years ago. How dull! I did learn from others about waiting, but in my case, I ask in order to show interest. My accent causes me to be asked many times every day and I have no problem giving an answer.
 
Why would you ask the person serving you coffee where they are from?
We are talking about the people walking the Camino, not the people working in the cafe or bar.
Thanks for clearing that up, I thought that you were talking about people who were on the tours that you work for.
 
Why would you ask the person serving you coffee where they are from?
We are talking about the people walking the Camino, not the people working in the cafe or bar.
Why would you not? A conversation can start from nearly anything.

Did you actually read this thread? I'll be more specific - posts from @DoughnutANZ , numbers 115 and 137 above.
If so think about them in context. It is often said on the forum that the camino is just a metaphor for life. Doughnut, like most Kiwis, talks to people in life, regardless of where he finds them. A point of difference - whether it be an amazing scarf, an incredible hairdo, or a different accent is a fantastic starter for a conversation. I for example might simply start 'wow, I love your accent - where are you from?'
It is highly likely that how you react to somebody on a train or in a cafe will affect how you relate to them on Camino.
Yes the camino is a great leveler. Yes people are more friendly and open on Camino. The key word there is more.

Whilst this thread is specifically about discrimination based on color, others have also brought up other ways in which they have or may feel discriminated against. Being overweight is the most recently mentioned.
And if we discriminate against people on the Camino, then clearly we discriminate against them in a coffee shop or a train.

And remember, the discrimination exists for the person concerned whether it it is real, or simply perceived.
 
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This thread is about people walking the Camino. I only gave an example from my tours. That I thought it was nicer to ask where people lived instead of where they are from.

Then it went down the path of it being creepy if you asked the person serving you coffee where they lived, which is completely out of context now. No one is talking addresses.
Sheesh, it was only a suggestion of how to show interest in the people you meet while walking.

Edit: yes, peterexpatkiwi, I read every single post on this thread. I always do before posting.
 
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Why would you ask the person serving you coffee where they are from?
We are talking about the people walking the Camino, not the people working in the cafe or bar.

Edit: yes, peterexpatkiwi, I read every single post on this thread. I always do before posting.
Then clearly you failed to consider them in context. Otherwise you would not have asked the question you did. They are every bit as relevant as your tour leader example
 
Why would you ask the person serving you coffee where they are from?
We are talking about the people walking the Camino, not the people working in the cafe or bar.
@Jodean, the conversation is going into all kinds of directions now, and replies can refer to quotes where the context is ignored or got lost as it is often case in online discussions. It is sometimes wise to just shrug it off. It will soon scroll off screen anyway.

“De donde eres?” was one of the first sentences we were taught at my Spanish beginners’ course at the Cervantes Institute. I’ve been asked the question on Camino and sometimes I answer with the name of my country of residence and sometimes with the name of my country of nationality, or with the name of the region where I live or where I grew up if that’s meaningful in the given context. I do tailor my answers to my audience. ☺️

“Where are you from?” and “Where are you really from?” can also be understood as, or even meant to be, a question that implies something like “you are not from here” or “you are not one of us” and it can cost you your (honorary) job when it gets into mainstream news, at least in countries that are not perceived as “traditional immigration countries“ which is most of Europe. And the question is usually addressed to first and second generation immigrants.

This is not very relevant for the Camino population as none of us are staying for long, we are foreign people who come and leave again after a few weeks.

I understand the OP’s question to mean how representative the Camino population is. Although I am not sure what the parameters for comparison are. The world’s population? The demographic composition of an individual country? Cultural background, or religious or educational and family background? In any case, the thread has produced a number of posts that I found interesting and useful to read, even thought provoking.
 
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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?
It's not closed to anyone. How would it be? It's there, many routes, many ways to travel it, many types of accommodations and variety of food and can be done on a tight budget as I have met many pilgrims who were on one when walking. It is indeed there for anyone to walk, but if one is not interested in walking it it's certainly nothing to wonder or ponder over. They just don't want to walk it. Nonetheless there's those that just cannot comprehend that and create angst and controversy where there was none.
 
A few thoughts open to challenge and further views.

Firstly sadly the word ‘diversity’ carries a degree of toxicity’. It doesn’t need to of course, but media, politicians and activist groups makes it so. I will leave it there given rule 3. It just about opening things up to welcome a broader group of people.

Also whilst in theory people may have an equal access, subject to finance, visas, etc., for some reason people don’t feel comfortable or that they ‘belong’ and don’t come. I guess a bit like British males being far more reluctant to visit doctors than females or seek counselling for mental health problems despite equal access being offered.

I don’t think anyone is ‘Camino bashing’. The same debate could be had about Everest Base Camp, Kilimanjaro, and Machu Pichu for example.Very
similar demographic. Well maybe a little younger. Watched a few videos on folks climbing K2 and Everest. Again similar demographic. Well maybe a bit richer!! Definetely an over representation of LA surgeons and lawyers. Well it is $100k a pop!

It’s true that certain activities don’t appeal to certain cultures. I lived and worked in India back in the day. My love of walking was seen as crazy even by young, urban, educated professionals. When I asked where to go for a weekend walking trip they kindly offered me their driver.. ‘no need to walk’! I had to have a driver to take me to work as a ‘duty of care’. I often stood him down so I could walk home and pretty much had to sneak out of the office to start my walk. I never got more than 100m before a colleague would bid his horn and insist I get in his car for a lift… ‘no need to walk’. I think that will change overtime. India has a hugely young population with increasing wealth and I have noticed the lack of difference between young white British folks and young folks of Indian heritage.

I think it’s fine to see colour, it about history and heritage. And we need to measure stuff too. To coin a phrase ‘what gets measured gets done’. If we didn’t we wouldn’t know about ‘gender pay gap’ or even that black women in the UK have far poorer health outcomes post childbirth, or that folks with a name that indicates a certain heritage means that are they are less likely to be called for interviews.

Improving the situation for certain groups of folks doesn’t mean disadvantaging others!


I do think the most salient point is around ‘belonging’ I have had many a black friend say ‘that’s for white folks’ over the years! And lots of thing will continue to be ‘for white folks’ for many reasons and preferences, but there is undoubtedly a group who do want to enter the ‘walking world’ but are concerned with ‘belonging’.
 
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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.
Well since we are pondering... I decided to look up the official statistics for 2023. So nearly half of all Pilgrims arriving at the Pilgrims office (and not wanting to get into the whole who picks up the piece of paper debate) are Spanish. In the recordable national statistics there are no African countries, no middle eastern countries and the only Asian country is Korea. Not surprisingly the bulk are European countries, the US, Canada and OZ rounded out with Argentina, Columbia and Brazil. So someone clever can figure out what this all means, but clearly there is a common thread. I wonder if there are statistics for any other notable long distance walks to compare. Coming from a country not recorded, literally on the other side of the globe, I know time and money are a factor, but there are just significant groups of people who have no affinity with either the concept, history or ethno-religious connection. I wonder if pilgrims on the Haj, Tirthayatra or Shikoku have similar concerns ? https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/statistics-2/

BTW I love asking people where they are from and do it regularly in my day job. A lot simpler than the next question - are you a resident or citizen ! I love hearing the stories that brought them to our country and finding out some kind of connection through travel and language. I often ask the origins of an unusual surname, and being a very small country, if they are connected to people elsewhere in the country. Its one of the first questions asked on the Camino and through that I have had some wonderful encounters finding people who are from the same obscure place in the world I've been. I've never knowingly had anyone take offence and nor have I taken it when asked. Maybe, as noted above it s a "kiwi"" thing but I would much rather be asked than mistaken for someone from the West Island - which happened regularly when I lived in the US to which I replied with a grin as they profusely apologised "Oh you Canadians always say that" !

Disclaimer: Humour used
 
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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 met a girl from Atlanta on the Camino in May. She had so many people saying hi to her. I said, how come everyone knows you? She said, because there's no other people of colour on the camino, you cant forget me!
 
I met a girl from Atlanta on the Camino in May. She had so many people saying hi to her. I said, how come everyone knows you? She said, because there's no other people of colour on the camino, you cant forget me!

I can relate to her experience.

But, it’s neither good or bad, just reality.

Had a great time on 5 camino, racism here and there, but overall quite, quite nice.

I can’t post anymore on this. A stressor.

Life is great.

Praying to go on camino again: ASAP.
 
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A selection of Camino Jewellery
Just for the sake of completeness: You are recorded ;),
You've made my day...I knew we'd be in there somewhere, just haven't hit the critical mass ! A highlight of my VDP was walking with Mohammed form Morocco - a regular caminoist - who, despite being paler than I, courtesy of burns suffered attempting a summer VDP, brought a huge amount of colour to everyone's experience through his wisdom and personality. Regrettably, I am unable to spend Christmas in Morocco with him this year. My own pre-conceived ideas of the Camino envisaged it full of the aged/retired and it was totally refreshing to experience the diversity of age and the colour that brought to the experience. I really feel the families formed of diverse backgrounds, ages and nationalities and everything that goes with that is the strength of the camino experience.
 
You've made my day...
You saw my statistics post ;). I deleted it because I felt it was too boring and too irrelevant. But I am happy that you saw it and got something out of it :).

Here’s a way to view all the pilgrims by country/nationality data: In the País section, switch from “Grafico” to “Tabla”. You can then scroll through the table from España to Zambia and to the handful of countries/nationalities with no Camino pilgrims in 2023.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Well since we are pondering... I decided to look up the official statistics for 2023. So nearly half of all Pilgrims arriving at the Pilgrims office (and not wanting to get into the whole who picks up the piece of paper debate) are Spanish. In the recordable national statistics there are no African countries, no middle eastern countries and the only Asian country is Korea. Not surprisingly the bulk are European countries, the US, Canada and OZ rounded out with Argentina, Columbia and Brazil. So someone clever can figure out what this all means, but clearly there is clearly a common thread. I wonder if there are statistics for any other notable long distance walks to compare. Coming from a country not recorded, literally on the other side of the globe, I know time and money are a factor, but there are just significant groups of people who have no affinity with either the concept, history or ethno-religious connection. I wonder if pilgrims on the Haj, Tirthayatra or Shikoku have similar concerns ? https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/statistics-2/

BTW I love asking people where they are from and do it regularly in my day job. A lot simpler than the next question - are you a resident or citizen ! I love hearing the stories that brought them to our country and finding out some kind of connection through travel and language. I often ask the origins of an unusual surname, and being a very small country, if they are connected to people elsewhere in the country. Its one of the first questions asked on the Camino and through that I have had some wonderful encounters finding people who are from the same obscure place in the world I've been. I've never knowingly had anyone take offence and nor have I taken it when asked. Maybe, as noted above it s a "kiwi"" thing but I would much rather be asked than mistaken for someone from the West Island - which happened regularly when I lived in the US to which I replied with a grin as they profusely apologised "Oh you Canadians always say that" !

Disclaimer: Humour used
West Island? I feel a sheep joke coming......:p
 
You saw my statistics post ;). I deleted it because I felt it was too boring and too irrelevant. But I am happy that you saw it and got something out of it :).
Not at all...have you not read some of the posts 🤣 When you have one person from Zambia and 195,000 from another kind of highlights things. I think most interesting was the comparison between Ireland and the UK given population. I thought your post was also Magnificent !
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I'm a visible racial minority of about 10,000 to 1 where I live, as an immigrant to (rural) Japan. With that in mind, I've been viewing this thread with interest.

In my situation, I very much appreciate Japanese people who treat me with 'color blindness' and do not constantly raise the issue of race/ethnicity when we interact. To their credit, most Japanese (although clearly aware that I am not ethnically Japanese) treat me first and foremost as a neighbour, colleague, family member, or customer rather than as the White Guy.

However, after spending well over thirty years here and having adopted and adapted to the language, habits, values, and norms of my new home, I am annoyed when some cannot get over my visual foreign-ness and feel compelled to remind me of my 'actual' identity -- the very definition of not being inclusive. Such people tend to be very awkward in their interactions with visibly 'different' people and annoying to deal with, as they simply cannot regard you as anything except a generic 'foreign person'. This serves not as an affirmation of my dual identity but as erasure or othering -- a reduction of who I am to the colour of my skin.

This manifests itself in several ways. For example, when I go to a public office to resolve a problem and the official dealing with me decides in advance that the problem is cultural, that as a visibly non-Japanese person, I can't or won't understand the issue correctly. Or when a visibly foreign person is denied an apartment because he or she 'won't know how to separate the garbage correctly' because 'they don't do that in their culture.'

Underlying this behaviour is a belief that I am somehow indelibly tied to my racial identity, That race = culture, and that this very static category of 'culture' represents 'who you are', ignoring the dynamic mix of diverse characteristics that make up an individual.

If you don't find the above sentiment to be compelling, consider my son: Japan-born, raised, and, as you can guess, a cultural and linguistic native -- but one who looks far more Western than Japanese (his mother is Japanese). Again, while most Japanese immediately recognize him as one of them and treat him with colour-blindness, there remain a few diehards, such as the guy at his workplace, who views every proposal my son makes as being from 'a Western perspective' and is certain that my son must always be fundamentally adhering to his 'foreign' identity.

Indeed, I am not a minority on the Camino -- but I think some of the perspectives expressed in this thread need to be rounded with a broader view of race, identity, and being a minority. Anglo-American parameters on this issue cannot be easily mapped on to the rest of the world.
 
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no African countries, no middle eastern countries and the only Asian country is Korea.
2022 stats : Israel 912 pilgrims, Japan 473, Indonesia 201, Malaysia 146, Hong Kong 106, Turkey 80, Armenia 76, Azerbaijan 68, Morocco 52, Angola 51, Lebanon 46, Thailand 37, United Arab Emirates 35, Iran 31, Saudi Arabia 28, Iraq 28, Swaziland 21, Egypt 19, Kenya 18, Cameroon 15 ... and so on and so forth.
 
2022 stats : Israel 912 pilgrims, Japan 473, Indonesia 201, Malaysia 146, Hong Kong 106, Turkey 80, Armenia 76, Azerbaijan 68, Morocco 52, Angola 51, Lebanon 46, Thailand 37, United Arab Emirates 35, Iran 31, Saudi Arabia 28, Iraq 28, Swaziland 21, Egypt 19, Kenya 18, Cameroon 15 ... and so on and so forth.
Yep....huge numbers ...I was referring to the major contributing countries as per the link. 18 amongst 443,000 over 12 months I think highlights the OPs observation. Fully aware there are other nationalities in minor numbers including my own. The micro is lost in the macro.
 
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Yep....huge numbers ...I was referring to the major contributing countries as per the link.
No, you said "none". And that's just wrong.

There are relatively few pilgrims from those places, but personally I am always happy to meet one of them on the Camino.
 
No, you said "none". And that's just wrong.

There are relatively few pilgrims from those places, but personally I am always happy to meet one of them on the Camino.
I think if you look back you will find that that was in one of Blister Bill's original posts, when all he had seen was the main statistics page - which indeed shows zero, ie, none.
This was before he was made aware - by @Kathar1na I think - of the breakdown which shows the smaller numbers. I can't remember exactly what those numbers are bunched into on the main page, probably 'other'.
And if @chinacats 'quick mental maths' is correct, 176 is a very very small percentage - less than 0,05 percent of my mental maths is correct!
 
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And if @chinacats 'quick mental maths' is correct, 176 is a very very small percentage - less than 0,05 percent of my mental maths is correct!
A small % is radically different to "none" -- and even the small and incomplete section of numbers that I quoted for 2022 is larger than 176. And that's just Africa. From the Middle East including Israel it's four figures ; and from non-South Korean Asia as well.

I met a few Japanese pilgrims last year, and even one Chinese one.

And as far as country is concerned, even though it's not my Nationality, I was 1 of 1 in 2005 ; 1 of 3 in 2022, and I met one of the other 2 as we came upon one another on our Ways back, as at least 2 of every 3 pilgrims from this place last year were extreme long-distance ones. (don't know how I was inscribed after the 2014, but that one was from Lourdes)
 
I think if you look back you will find that that was in one of Blister Bill's original posts, when all he had seen was the main statistics page - which indeed shows zero, ie, none.
Thanks Pete, unfortunately I think the point is now lost. If we are being pedantic I didn't say "none" as I am fully aware there are others walking the Camino having walked with people from a host of countries including South and North Africa, the Baltics, Scandinavia, Iceland, Israel, Japan and NZ that didn't make the @1% cut I was using before @Kathar1na pointed out how to find them :). My language was imprecise and I apologise for any confusion created. The point is (was) the numbers become insignificant. 90% of pilgrims come form 20 countries. 10% come form the rest of the world combined. And that's before you take into count population sizes (like the over 1 billion people on the African continent) which I thought just reinforces the OPs question/observation. I suppose overlaid with the fact 50% of pilgrims walk the CF and (31% start in Sarria) and the fact that 93% of overseas pilgrims walk from April to October your chances of meeting a <1% nationality on the VDP in winter might be statistically slim, but obviously there are numerous variables.
 
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Is there anyone here who has never been asked at some point in an albergue or bar on the Camino where they are from?
Of course but it is the follow up question: But where are you really from? or But where are your parents from? or But where were you born? that can be insulting because you are essentially saying that for some reason (usually skin colour or accent) you don't think they are really "from" their answer to the first question. I was born in the US but have lived in Canada most of my life. I am white. No one ever asks me a follow up question. But there are many many people (so many it's a meme!) that find these questions insulting so I don't ask it because I don't want to insult anyone even unintentionally. ESPECIALLY since these questions are usually asked when you first meet someone and are treading carefully on lots of issues because you want to make a good impression. "But I didn't mean to insult anyone!" Well, if you knew that a lot of people find the follow up questions insulting and continue to ask those questions, then you did knowingly insult them and that is very rude.

Sorry about all the "you"s. I don't mean you specifically, Lindsay53, just those that don't understand why they shouldn't ask the follow up questions.
 
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Of course but it is the follow up question: But where are you really from? or But where are your parents from? or But where were you born? that can be insulting because you are essentially saying that for some reason (usually skin colour or accent) you don't think they are really "from" their answer to the first question. I was born in the US but have lived in Canada most of my life. I am white. No one ever asks me a follow up question. But there are many many people (so many it's a meme!) that find these questions insulting so I don't ask it because I don't want to insult anyone even unintentionally. ESPECIALLY since these questions are usually asked when you first meet someone and are treading carefully on lots of issues because you want to make a good impression. "But I didn't mean to insult anyone!" Well, if you knew that a lot of people find the follow up questions insulting and continue to ask those questions, then you did knowingly insult them and that is very rude.

Sorry about all the "you"s. I don't mean you specifically, Lindsay53, just those that don't understand why they shouldn't ask the follow up questions.
I must admit I have yet to hear anyone ask someone ‘where are they really from’? Has anyone else? There was a high profile instance of this in the UK recently along these lines but that’s about it!
 
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.
Here's a short comedic video about "but where are you really from?"

Blimey! Thanks for sharing! Very effective video! Thankfully I have yet to come across anyone saying to anyone ‘where are you really from’ , but I am well versed in folks making assumptions about nationality!

I am English, but my my parents are Irish -and gave me an Irish name so people assume I am Irish. I don’t get annoyed by much but when people make an assumption based re nationality I bite. One person seemed to be obsessed in telling me about how Ireland were performing in a rugby match and I had to tell her I had only been to Ireland a couple of time and that was to watch England play football!!

Never assume a nationality based on name, accent or colour!!
 
I must admit I have yet to hear anyone ask someone ‘where are they really from’? Has anyone else? There was a high profile instance of this in the UK recently along these lines but that’s about it!
Sadly I have, worse still back home in NZ. By somebody who was himself an immigrant of just a few years standing.

A little background: as most of you are probably aware New Zealand is extremely culturally diverse. Amongst the mix is a number of Chinese immigrants, who first came over during the Otago gold rush back in the 1860s. Those that stayed worked incredibly hard, and many families ultimately became very successful.

Some years ago New Zealand opened up our universities to overseas students - paying of course ( we are a mercenary bunch at times). We had a massive influx of Chinese students.

'New' immigrant meets my Kiwi colleague of Chinese decent.
Yes, you guessed it. Firstly the newbie complimented my colleague on her English. Then he asked her where she was from. When she answered truthfully, he asked her where she was really from.

At which point she got a little tetchy and pointed out that she was born here as was her father, and his father too. Then she dropped the bombshell - "oh by the way - my father? - he's your boss. Clearly you haven't met him yet".... and walked away.
 
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I think it depends upon context. It us one thing to dig deeper in a genealogical inquiry. It is another if the white guy next to you answers "Chicago" and the matter is left there, then the white woman says "Milwaukee" and no more questions are asked, but you say "San Francisco" and the questions continue. That may be a sincere interest in an individual's history, but it is not an interest that is evenly applied.
Hello David, without any desire to beat a dead horse, as a genealogist what is of primary interest is family roots, not a city of birth of a living person. I tell people I have an interest in family history, a particular interest in where family names come from, etc. My questioning is applied evenly for those people who have names I have never heard before and when the opportunity for a conversation presents itself.
 
My observations -
I walked several days with a dark-skinned woman.
We frankly discussed her experiences of racial (and gender) discrimination both on & off the Camino - but keeping to the Camino situations- I observed the challenges she faced related to discrimination everyday I was with her. We discussed the issues at length.

I also observed discrimination against those of Asian descent. And while staying at a Pilgrim donativo, I was shocked by a particularly nasty comment made to me by a volunteer hospitalitera regarding my Korean pilgrim sister.

As an American I came to realize on the Camino that some people were prejudging me and/or avoiding me because of my nationality. This was confirmed by a few of my non-American walking partners who told me some Europeans actively dislike Americans. Of course I knew this long ago. Actually experiencing this dislike on the Camino though left me disheartened and ultra sensitive to perceived slights.

Somehow the people of the world must learn to get along. I have no answers.
 
Thank you but I meant had anyone here heard it as opposed to it being a media story!
Yes, last summer on the Meseta. My husband and his two new friends were waiting for an albergue to open. Resting out of the sun, they ordered Aquarius in a bar. The bartender made conversation. Where are you from? My husband, white, answered with the US. His fellow pilgrims, of color, answered with Canada. That's when the bartender said no and asked where they were really from. It hurt them, although they also loved the pilgrimage very much, both before that point and after. The wonderful moments were certainly numerous and outnumbered that incident to them. I don't really know what else to say, when so many other valuable thoughts have been added on this thread. I am sensitive to it on the Camino now, intentional or not, and it is not just media stories.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Asking someone where they are from is perfectly acceptable if it can be reasonably assumed that those others come from elsewhere. That means it is a norm on the Camino and at gatherings such as conferences, when meeting other travelers abroad, and even at universities, where students and faculty are often from far afield. Of course, such questions should, and usually do, transcend race.

However, my case is a bit unusual (as you may have read in my earlier post, I'm a permanent resident of Japan) in that I regularly get asked where I'm originally from, by both Japan-based foreigners and natives alike. Depending on the context, I'll usually respond with something like, 'Miyazaki, but I was born and raised in Canada'.

On the Camino, I knew that it might seem odd to fellow pilgrims if I answered 'Japan' to the same question, and I didn't want to be smug or self-righteous about catching them out in some 'micro-aggression' as I knew it was reasonable for them to be a bit confused. As a result, I always answered 'Actually, Japan, but I'm originally from Canada' which served its purpose well.

Of course, this is quite different from asking where visible minority people are originally/really from in settler countries or former colonial powers, where various ethnicities may well have lived for generations.
 
I then grabbed a sausage from the BBQ and my companion went back to his group of friends by the door. I was standing, chewing on my sausage and thinking that this was a nice friendly organisation when I looked up and noticed a man of colour enter the room.

I hadn't noticed before but everyone else in the room was white. The coloured guy was hesitant and so I realised that he was also new like me and here to check out the organisation.

I was thinking, you are about to be surprised at how welcoming they are when I noticed that the man who had been so welcoming to me had spotted this new guy but instead of going over to welcome him he turned his back on him instead.

The new guy walked further into the room and I was sure that someone of the many friendly people who I had met would surely go over to him and say hello. But no, all the people who had greeted me warmly ignored the new guy.
Sadly, there are many places in USA where that would happen. In contrast, I have twice found myself the only white in a black church and been treated like part of the family.
 
Well since we are pondering... I decided to look up the official statistics for 2023. So nearly half of all Pilgrims arriving at the Pilgrims office (and not wanting to get into the whole who picks up the piece of paper debate) are Spanish. In the recordable national statistics there are no African countries, no middle eastern countries and the only Asian country is Korea.
For what it's worth, the full-year statistics for 2021 are https://catedral.df-server.info/est/peregrinaciones2021.pdf

Pages 9-16 show one or more pilgrims from at least 27 African countries. More than a hundred fifty countries (some of them are parts of a larger country). In terms of numbers, the first Asian country is Korea in 25th place. If it seems that pilgrims are mostly white, perhaps that is because Santiago is in a mostly white continent.
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
I am often amused and curious when I hear different accents, especially on the Camino, so sometimes I am inclined to ask the question "Where are you from with your interesting accent?", especially if we have already started a conversation. At home it is a rare thing, but on the Camino (Frances in particular), I have asked it a number of times with walkers coming from numerous countries. No one seems to have minded my asking, or considered it invasive to their privacy. I usually follow up with something friendly to say.
 
I am often amused and curious when I hear different accents, especially on the Camino, so sometimes I am inclined to ask the question "Where are you from with your interesting accent?
On the first day of my only visit so far to the USA a bank worker in Havre (Montana) told me that she loved my Scottish accent. I replied that it was the only one I could do and I'd been practicing for years to get it just right.
 
Be part of the Camino Cleanup team! Help us pick up litter from Ponferrada to Sarria.
Always getting mistaken on my accent west coast USA. I have a very London/southern accent but often mistaken for Australian! Very common!
On a visit to Australia I won full marks from a young Canadian woman for correctly spotting her nationality from her accent. Apparently I was the first person in three months who hadn't instantly assumed she was from the USA. Having a mother-in-law raised in Toronto might have helped. :)
 
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.
One extra vote for Uganda! My wife is Ugandan and last week we completed the Camino from Lisbon to SDC in 22 days. In March this year we completed the Primitivo. A person's colour means nothing to us - and it made no difference at all to our experience (a refreshing change from some other parts of the world).
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Loved Uganda when I had the opportunity to visit. My dad was actually born in Uganda, I've still got a table that was made from a tree out of the garden, in Jinja. The table was hand crafted by an Italian prisoner of war. (Long story).
I couldn't find the place unfortunately, both my time and my funds were limited but I absolutely loved what I saw of the country, and generally found people very welcoming.
 
On the first day of my only visit so far to the USA a bank worker in Havre (Montana) told me that she loved my Scottish accent. I replied that it was the only one I could do and I'd been practicing for years to get it just right.
The very first person I spoke to on my only visit so far to Scotland (Edinburgh) was the clerk at the front desk of my hotel. With a sly wink I said: "Wow I love your Scottish accent what part are you from?"
His reply: "Czech Republic".
 
The very first person I spoke to on my only visit so far to Scotland (Edinburgh) was the clerk at the front desk of my hotel. With a sly wink I said: "Wow I love your Scottish accent what part are you from?"
His reply: "Czech Republic".
I never assume I know, or try to guess an accent. I only ask the person where they are from if I am curious. It's up to them to answer however they choose. I've never yet had anyone seem offended and it often has led to further enjoyable conversations.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
On my first Camino I met people from over 40 countries, and on my second, over 30. All heights, weights, personalities, hair colors, skin colors, and size of feet. I have travelled a lot and nowhere have I found the level of diversity in both landscape and people that the Camino provides! But I think I understand what the OP was getting at--and it is a reminder that while the Camino is theoretically open to all, all people from all countries do not have the same privilege that allows for travel. May we never take it for granted.
 
The very first person I spoke to on my only visit so far to Scotland (Edinburgh) was the clerk at the front desk of my hotel. With a sly wink I said: "Wow I love your Scottish accent what part are you from?"
His reply: "Czech Republic".

When I was a hospie in Ponferrada a group of young pilgrims from the US in their twenties told me my English was excellent.

They then asked my nationality.

I chuckled and said “USA”.

I had a wee bit too much fun answering their question.
 
I speak with an accent and people often ask me where I’m from. I don’t mind; I tell them I am originally from the West Indies. Since I am white, and the majority of the inhabitants of the West Indian islands are dark skinned, people assume that my family must come from somewhere else, and I get the usual questions including, “But where were your grandparents born.” (I am eighth or ninth generation born in my West Indian island.) I find it annoying when I have to explain that people from the West Indies come in every colour, and every shade in between.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
One thing about inclusion on the camino... And I'm not talking about race, but rather those with physical challenges. I have a dear friend from childhood who is a doctor, brilliant, and she cannot walk. Yet she travels the world... one time, I spent a week, on the Norte, documenting all the paths one may encounter if they were confined to a wheelchair (hers would sport electric motors). I was amazed at how much care/seeming importance Spain places in general on supporting the disabled. Way more than at home.

For example, I think of that bridge over the railroad tracks just before Astorga on the Frances. The green one. I used to curse that bridge, for all its gradual slopes, seemingly adding unnecessary distance and engineering for a weary perigrino... but then I realized my friend could cross it. I really respect Spain for their efforts. I may be ignorant, but I notice a difference there.
 

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