“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”
I read this quote from the book The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. After reading the book, I saw the quote all over the internet and never understood why it was so popular. Sure marijuana is legal to all, gay pride is a big deal and there’s literally no reason to protest. Amsterdam is a safe place.
Since the age of 15, I dreamed of Amsterdam. Not because I was reading the book of Anne Frank (too depressing), but because I thought it looked beautiful and different. The older I got the more I wanted to go there. Yet something changed in me along the way. I came from being a fearless teen to a worried young adult. What changed is that I moved to United States of America.
I grew up knowing I would go to college somewhere in America. I loved the American culture! I watched all the shows, movies and read the magazines. I still love the creative part of it, but I’ve experienced things that I never thought could happen to me. Racism.
I want to let that word sink in for a second, because people (white & black) sometimes don’t understand how real it is. The reason I say some black people also don’t understand, is because I have black friends who have never experienced racism. They obviously don’t live in the U.S.
Being afraid of racist comments is new to me. I grew up in a Black Country. I was raised to be proud of my skin tone and my ancestors. Nobody was using the N word or putting each other down for their skin color.
Going to Amsterdam, that’s something I was afraid of. I asked questions about equality, race and sexism. I kept asking, “what if I’m the only dark skin girl there?” My best friend was annoyed. She just didn’t understand why I was so worried. Then when I got there, I legit started to count how many black people I saw. No not in my head… out loud! I’m nuts.
Guess what? I lost count. I was told before hand that I would stand out due to my skin tone. I was blending in so much that people were speaking to us in Dutch, trying to start a conversation and asking for directions. Just not what I expected.
I fell madly in love with the Capital of the Netherlands. Not because of the coffee shops or how chill everyone was. The people are genuinely dope! Pun intended. On a serious tone, it is “the city of freedom.”
Finally, I learned that I’m a very patient and welcoming person. Through all the racist comments I faced, that never stopped me from being nice and respectful to strangers. I’ve never judge people by their skin. Yes, I freak out when I see a room of white people and no other race. I’m fearful of certain things, and that’s okay. The world is hateful, and life is cruel. I’m at peace though, because I know there’s way more love in the universe than hate.
That’s part of my crazy Amsterdam story. Thanks for reading!