Last night I caught the overnight bus from Nuremberg to Florence, this experience traumatised me, not because of the long hours but because of what happened on the trip.
Leaving Munich we were pulled over by an unmarked police car, which I assumed was for a random document check. But, instead of going through and checking everyone, they singled out two African guys. These two guys were taken off the bus, while the policemen put on those ominous white gloves and subjected them to a thorough and humiliating search.
I love police, they do an amazing job of keeping us all safe and protected, but the way that they treated those two guys was not in line with protection, and I felt that they were disrespectful.Â Walking back up the bus the poor guys stared stoicallyÂ at the floor,Â blistering with shame.
Is there a known problem with African smugglers? I don’t think they would be a very successful business plan, given that they are the target of suchÂ scrutiny. Â At the very least they could haveÂ pretendedÂ to check some of our passports.
The worst thing was being ‘reassured’ by the driver that this was ‘tutti normali’ – does that really happen all the time to non-white people?
I took some (terrible quality) photos, the first is the search, and the police, the third was from the next rest stop, I asked if they minded the intrusion. Â They were fairly pragmatic about it, such nice guys, they could easily be your next door neighbours.
This also happened to two Nigerian ladies in my cabin on my overnight train from Paris to Venice. It was awful, but they both seemed pretty calm about it, as it happens so often, which was what I thought was the most horrifying part.
Tullia, have you heard of Jane Elliott? Check her out. she’s done some interesting experiments on how racism is still prevalent in today’s world….very subtle but steady profiling.