We're excited to see the increased numbers of Black travel, especially considering Ghana is listed as #4 on CNN List of Places to Travel in 2019. However, Travel Noire recently published an article recommending cities and countries Black dollars should not support. With Tanzania listed, Gloria Mangi, the founder of African Queens Project, felt there should be a discussion at large about dismissing African countries under the guise of no research.
An Open Letter to Travel Noire
Dear Travel Noire,
I was disappointed after reading an article published on your site and authored by reporter Mitti Hicks “These Cities and Countries Don’t Deserve Your Black Travel Dollars in 2019.”
In this list, Hicks condemned 5 cities and countries – Thailand, Rio de Janiero, Brazil, Zakynthos, Greece, Israel, and Tanzania based on ‘some incidents and laws passed this past year that deserve more than just a side-eye.’ While these few acts were perpetuated by a select group of people and are indeed causes of concern, they are not the reflection of the country as a whole. What if the international community judged the United States of America on the same standards as you are judging us?
Travel Noire was created by a proud African woman determined to encourage people that look like her to see the world. When I initially came across the article, I was increasingly curious to see who made the list and the justifications supporting it.
As I read the list over and over, I was taken aback by the places mentioned, but I was stunned to see that Tanzania had made the cut because of the act of one government official who was not supported by most of the Tanzanian government or its people. Is this the same Tanzania that is considered the most peaceful and calm nation in East Africa? Are we talking about the same country that has a lesser weapons imports and is ranked in the top 10 African countries by the 2018 Mo Ibrahim report when it comes to personal safety and national security? Tanzania annually reports a low level of violent crimes, homicide rates, and political terror scale and has seen a decline in external conflicts fought compared to other African countries.
Since reading this article a popular saying came to mind, “The self-righteous scream judgments against others to hide the noise of skeletons dancing in their own closets.” While America has a closet full of skeletons including racial profiling, discriminatory laws and policies by government officials, racially motivated killings, and an openly racist and misogynist president – should we instead be spending our black dollars here? As a media community, we should be careful with what we are recommending for the culture and choose wisely with firm justification.
I founded African Queens Project for brown and black women to have a space where they can feel beautiful and constantly connected to Africa as a homeland. Let there be no confusion, Africa is home Mitti.
If we are to move forward as a people, we need to acknowledge not just our most endearing qualities, but all our faults and mistakes as well. It is important to hold one another accountable, but that accountability must run both ways. Condemning a city or a country based on the poor actions of a few takes away from a progressive discussion.
Tanzania, and Africa, has its challenges however, we are a resilient yet peaceful people that have been welcoming foreigners with open arms and an open heart. We will continue to do so despite this questionable list.