(Guardian Inspire) – In April 2015 upon arriving in the Republic of Ireland from Germany, an immigration officer granted me a 30 days stay, after the usual entry review.
I then proceeded to the customs area to clear my luggage when a white custom officer pulled me out of the line and told me frankly, among other things, that “black people are not welcome here”.
The rest of my experience with this racist man is too lengthy to share here, but I will do so in a subsequent article.
Nonetheless, I was so shocked by the officer’s racist rant that I subsequently filed a complaint with the European Ombudsman Office.
However, after some time, it became obvious that you should not expect a white Office to sanction a white man for being openly racist towards a black man.
By most accounts, Black people are the least defended people in Europe when it comes to the justice system. So it was very stupid of me in the first place to expect that anything rewarding would have come out of my complaint.
Simply put, their sarcastic silence told me that that was the end of that matter.
But what I do know is that Ireland is a country that black people definitely need to avoid, even if it is the last place on earth where you can get a drink of water.
My experience in Ireland was not the only indication that black people are an unwelcome race in most parts of Europe.
While traveling from Morocco to Amsterdam (Holland) a year earlier, I was the only Black man standing in an immigration line when a white officer invited me out of the line and took me to a re-enforced Office.
In that office, I noticed several other black men from different countries expressing their frustration at being pulled out of the immigration lines because they were black.
In that office, two immigration officers came to me and asked what was the purpose of my trip. In response, I took out a copy of one of my books on slavery, which was entitled “Child of A Slave”, and give a copy to him.
He immediately seems to realize that I knew what they were doing; – which was racially profiling black travelers.
He quickly scrolled through the book for a few seconds, examined my passport, asked a few more questions and said I was free to go.
I then asked him why there were only black people being flagged for review by them, but he did not answer. So I left, thinking that it might be best not to irritate him, lest he might find some frivolous reason to detain me.
After all, the book that I had given to him with a battered black child on the cover, had made it clear to him that they need to be more fair and humane to those black men and women that they have stuck in that room.
See a copy of the book on Amazon HERE.
(Interestingly, Google has added the same book “Child of a Slave – by Dennis Adonis” to its list of acclaimed historical pieces on trans-Atlantic slavery).
But my experiences with racial degradation is not limited to those two places alone.
In Egypt, being the only black man waiting to board a flight from Cairo to London, an Arab immigration officer pulled me out of the line and placed all of my visas under the microscope.
He told me in a rather degrading term that black people come to Egypt from a selected list of African States, and tries to flee to England with forged visas, passports etc.
Even though I protested the man’s use of racial overtone’s to make his point, he didn’t care less.
I then had to sit in the waiting area for more than twenty minutes for him to contact UK immigration authorities all the way back in London to find out if I actually had the right to be in England.
In the end, he handed me my passport and said I was free to board my flight to London Heathrow.
But even so, London itself can be another headache.
After all, while I would hate to admit it, England, the European country that I loved the most, have not treated me any better.
All of my books, more than twenty of them, except Child of Slave, are on sale in every country in Europe, with at least a dozen of them available at bookstores within all of the airports in England.
However, this has never saved me from being racially profiled, sometimes painfully.
Because for whatever reason they may be, every time I arrive at a UK airport, I always notice a bunch of black guys, even some with British citizenship, stalled up at the airport, while the officers go to and fro verifying whatever they have to.
I often nodded at the sight of it because I know that I am definitely the next black guy that would have to sit with the others for another twenty minutes before they can return my passport and say, welcome to London Mr. Adonis.
In reality, England itself is not much different from the England that the late E.R Braithwaite had to deal with when he penned the famous book, “To Sir With Love”.
From what I know, England seems to silently encourage strong profiling of black people in the immigration system, though in a covert way.
That is why, as a black man, I had always been cautious enough to walk deep in the corner when traversing the streets of London. Otherwise, I am certain that even if a white man accidentally bounced into my path, the police might seek to lock me up instead.
So even in the middle of all of your happiness to relax a bit on European soil, as a black man, you are always silently filled with fear, knowing that you are not much of a welcomed guest, in any case.
Sometimes I wish that someday somehow, all of this racial hostility that mankind holds towards each other would miraculously come to an end; but that’s an impossibility. Because on the other side of it, we are also responsible for many of these things that continue to happen to us, as we often create our own share of despicable problems.
I personally lack the ability to hate, and would not encourage my children to racially profile anyone, regardless of the colour of their skin, race or creed. Hence, I am finding it difficult to actually reconstruct the mindset of a racist person.
But maybe time and repeated experiences might probably help me to do so, someday I guess.
Nonetheless, it will be untrue to say that all of the countries or all of the people in Europe are racially overcharged.
Because at the same time, there are many white people and white-owned organizations that are not known to be hostile to anyone, regardless of their race.
As a matter of fact, some of my best friends in Europe, and some of the people that I have befriended in the past are whites who were more than happy to lend me a helping hand.
All of the companies that publish and distributes my books globally are white-owned. They never rejected me because of my race.
But if I am to speak well of a country in Europe that is more tolerant of black people and much more welcoming to black immigrants, then my own experiences would strongly push me to say Germany.
My point, however, is that racial profiling remains a silently endorse element in most parts of Europe, as is evident in a number of cases that would never make it to the mainstream media.
And one of those cases in point happened to one of my best friends from Guyana, who was assaulted in England while visiting a friend several months ago.
He was walking through a predominantly white neighborhood in London one evening when a group of white children threw spoilt eggs at him while using racial slurs, simply because he was black.
No one was ever arrested or sanctioned for the assault.
He has since returned to Guyana.
I am now guessing that deep down inside, he has probably recognized why the racist customs officer in Ireland had told me that “Black people are not welcome here”.