Why Africans stare at other Africans on Mass Transit?

Here’s another one…you’re standing uncomfortably in the metro, bus, tramway, train or any other public transportation (probably thinking about how you’re gonna sort out your papier situation lol) when you feel someone staring. And no, it’s not that sexy, tattooed belly button, half black half Chinese chick you always fantasize about lol. Instead it’s a dark blue skin brother probably from Burkina Faso (lmao this is so wrong) looking at you and wondering whether you were his childhood neighbor or not. By now you both pretty much figured out that you come from sub-Saharan Africa. How do you react? Well, civilized people would just nod (as to say “hey I know you know I’m African, hello but now let’s both move on with our lives” lol) if dude wasn’t smiling at you, which is kinda creepy. Anyways, why do we stare? For a variety of reasons, often when we immigrate to western countries our social circle noticeably shrinks so any chance we get to meet or see someone who may be African we get all excited and shit. Another reason could be that we suspect the person has traits common to a certain ethnic group in our country or anywhere else on the continent. So what do we do? We stare at that person, burning to ask him/her where she’s from just satisfy our curiosity. Take for instance this Nigerian dude at work; we’re both standing by the elevators for a couple of minutes and of course he was trying his best not stare but whatever…so he finally pops the question:
– Nigerian dude: “are you Nigerian?”
– Me: “No I’m from DRC”
– Nigerian dude: “oh ok…”
– Me: “ok…”

And that was that, not a single word exchange after that. It was as if being from Nigeria was a prerequisite for a conversation or something…

2 Responses to Why Africans stare at other Africans on Mass Transit?

  1. Mala says:


    I am from India and I live in Switzerland. I can assure you it’s right the same with Indian people. In the tramway or bus any Indian woman will stare at you to figure out the following things:
    1. Are you from the same community (Bengali, Punjabi, Gujrati etc.)
    2. Are you from the same caste
    3. How come you wear those expensive clothes
    And they will also not smile, and not say a word… that’s really creepy…

    BTW, I love your blog, it’s just hilarious!!!

  2. Papa Shongo says:

    Ah ah ah, you’re a funny one yourself Mala! Thank you for sharing. I guess this ‘creepy’ phenomenon also occurs with other ethnicities uh? I think this is a consequence of being in a foreign place and not finding the same points of reference. So essentially you’re lost and the only way to get back to your comfort zone is by trying to put labels on other people that might look like you. Does that even make sense? lol

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