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Riga becomes more colourful... but not all like it

It's always interesting to see people of different skin colors in Riga because we have few of them. Today I saw this man (apparently musician) talking to ladies, and thought that I would like to see people of different races and nationalities a bit more often here - Riga feels more cosmopolitan, more like place-to-be with them. But then, after couple of hundred meters I came across a protest action. A bunch of nationalists protested against immigration - which is not even actual for Latvia now. I found more info about this protest action - the real reason of the protest is rumours that Latvia has promised EU to accomodate part of immigrants here... If that is true, then I agree to the subject. Immigration should happen naturally - if Latvia really becomes that rich that someone wants to come here, then it's one thing, if EU artificially forces us to welcome immigrants, then it's completely different thing.

Riga becomes more colourful... but not all like it Reviewed by Ikars Kublins on Thursday, August 18, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. It isn't difficult to get Latvian citizenship. Immigration will be death of Latvia as a national country. Latvians by nationality are only 59,5% of all the Latvian residents. Latvia can become the first state in the EU where ethnic nationality becomes minority. If this will happen there will be no way back!
    I prefer to live in a comparative poor country (comparing to some EU countries, USA) and not in a semi-russian place where I can't live if I don't know Russian language (maybe with an iphone in my pocket).

  2. That's true, I also don't know Russian (and it creates to me many problems to get job already now). But I think that here we are talking more about North African immigrants rather... And they won't speak Russian either :)

  3. and African immigrants are more polite, and they will want to learn Latvian language I hope... so what's better?

  4. Oh well, I'll share with my experience.
    It was winter of 2010. My foreign friend and I we went to a movie theater by the central station. It was midnight when the movie was over, middle of week, we went outside and in front of the entrance an Afro-American person came up to us and asked for directions to some bar in Old town. As I'm not residing in Riga anymore, couldn't really tell directions, so we offered to look for that place together.
    We found it but it was closed. My friend and I we were on our way to bars Leņingrada, so we offered to our new friend come with us. We went, we grab pints with raw beer called brengulis, my foreign guys loved it btw. Then it started, as our new friend obviously had a different skin color and all of us we were talking in English, we got too much attention. The night end up fast because of stinky punks that came up to our table and started to bully us. We bought them beers as they were requesting, wasn't enough. They drank mine (I'm a girl), wasn't enough. They started to pick up the fight. For what? I have no idea. We went outside, changed with contacts and asked our new friend to come out some other time as he was planning to stay in Riga for 6 months. We felt sorry. And then, some drunk kids passed by and started to shout out loud: b*e, you fu*king nigga, go home! For what? Have no idea... it took awhile to convince our friend to come out again. His 6 month business trip end up being 2 weeks. He was too disappointed and didn't feel safe...
    Latvians we are too racist. I am Latvian, too. We gotta stop using terms like "black people", please, at least.

  5. Please tell me this country is not son, is on his way their to play basketball for your country..his friends are from your country and they went to college together in the USA.. we never judge people based on the color of their skin...soooo, insane..we are humans, we are to love one another despite our culture differences. If children can get along why can't adults?

  6. Unfortunately Latvia really is a racist country. I would really like to see it become more open to being a multicultural society. The most multicultural countries are the wealthy countries. When you open your doors to immigration , you will bring in wealth, more jobs, more tourism and greater development for the country.

    I am a caribbean girl and my husband is Latvian. We also have a daughter, so she is mixed, half latvian, she also has Latvian passport but to be honest, i would never want her to go there on her own when she grows up. Tje Latvian people there are not friendly, they stare and they talk and point. I have been to Latvia 3 times since being with my husband, i love him snd i love his family, they are very loving and caring but whenever we went out together to tour around, we would get so many stares, and i felt so uncomfortable. Some girl got upset and shouted hateful words at me in Russian when my husband and i went to Sigulda, i asked my husband what she said and he said that she said ' You couldnt find a better woman? Why must you go out your race?" i was so upset that i wanted to leave right away, i insisted that we leave few days early. For the rest of the trip , i didnt want to leave the house, i cried because i didnt understand why people could have so much hate for someone because they are dark skin. I tell my my husband all the time that he is so much different than them. And his family are great people. I know so many Latvian people here that we are friends with and they are so nice, kind, caring and friendly people, so it makes me wonder, why is it that when we visited Latvia, the latvians there are so mean. Do latvisns just tend to act different when they are in another country, so they fit in? Or are they genuine? My husband islatvian

  7. Anonymous,
    I feel sorry for your bad experience in Latvia, but you must beware of generalizations yourself - if you say "all Latvians" or "Latvia is a racist country" - then it is not very different from someone saying "all dark coloured people are thiefs" just because someone with dark skin robbed he one time. You said yourself - many Latvians are nice, caring and friendly, so why do you draw a conclusion from one accident in Sigulda?

    For the fact that people looking at something, when it's completely different they see every day - it's completely normal and you shouldn't get upset so much about it (pointing and talking is different). Wouldn't in your country noone look if there would appear, for example, a very white-colored eskimo on the street? It's just curiosity and it doesn't always mean something negative.

  8. I just came back from Barcelona with my daughter and people stared a lot, but they didn't call us names. I was just doing research on Riga, because it was in an article for 15 places you should visit. Just changed my mine. Maybe some time in the near future when they have more black people there and not as racist.

  9. Yes, not all black people are thieves. In the media that's what they want people to believe. Unfortunately, a lot of black people are judge wrong in all countries and some countries they are treated worst....

  10. I will say my experience. My wife is Latvian I'm from north Africa my skin is not even close to dark, however, you can say everyone of her family are terribly racist. Her parent think that they are higher level just coz they are not from Africa, they mock black African and think they are slaves monkeys. All the Latvian that I dealt with have a really clear racist look on me when they know where I come from. They are so cold not warm hearted at all, quite rude. Only old women deal good with me coz I have a good talks with her. Ah I forget to say, my wife parent said to her if you will have a son from him "Me" they will not admitted that and they don't want to have such a grandchild coz its a shame for them. I can't find a word to describe this. But it makes me feel disgust.

  11. This guy in the picture is a Brazilian and he probably teaches a Brazilian kind of fight style called Capoeira and those ladies are his students.

  12. Your posts are from 3 years ago and I really want to go but, my friend is from Estonia and he warns me not to go. Has it changed in 3 years or is there still a lot of racism in Latvia?

    1. I am Asian living in Latvia and I have never experienced racism here. Well I read some articles that people have experienced it but i haven't. Also, I personally think that Latvia is one of the least racist countries in Europe. People here are so friendly and open-minded! ( BUT if you see someone smiling in public, it will probably be foreigners because Latvians don't smile unless you start talking to them ahahahahaha).

  13. Guys can someone tell me if the racism issue in Riga have improved , I am a dark young man intending to start my University like in Riga very soon

    1. I am also hoping to get an answer to this question. I am a young black girl also intending to start studying in Riga soon.

    2. Hey guys, I am also of black skin and intending to start my university in Riga soon, is the situation described on previous posts valid as of today?

    3. Well, I would say latvians are not racists. There may be some of course, but there is nothing you should be afraid. But do know that you'll get a lot of looks,that's true. But that's mainly because latvians are not used to see coloured people. An please don't get upset, because it's just a curiosity, when you see someone different. I know Latvian Russians are more close minded, but even latvians have problems with Russians.

  14. All I can say - people with different skin colors are still rare here, and, of course, they provoke curiosity. Sadly, from some part of society, also maybe some kind of racist attitude. But people here in general are calm/introvert, and even if someone thinks something negative about people with different skin color (because of his own complexes or unhappyness) then it usually won't get turned into some kind of action. But you should rather ask these questions to some other non-white people who already living in Latvia, they could share their experience and tell the situation much better.

  15. Reading so many negative comments here about Latvian being racist.

    There’s a question,
    What are Latvian so proud about themselves?

    Skin tones? I’m a Chinese my skin is not even any darker than theirs.
    Even if I was black, so what? Do they think they look the best on the earth or something? Lol seriously? Kidding me? Even if the worlds like a beauty competition, many of Asian will not vote for white peoples looks.

    The beauty of different races is not a fair thing for us to talk about. Just like getting a rabbit into a crowed of chicken, and asked the chicken how they think of the rabbit. Most of chicken like only chicken, because their parents friends and themselves all look like that. You don’t like other races’ look, then keep it to yourself, and understand that if the chicken don’t like the rabbit’s look, it’s not the fault of this single rabbit, it’s just that chicken are being chicken. :)

    So skin tones aside, what can Latvian be so proud of themselves? Their... wealth?
    The answer is:
    ............ lol

    So, WHAT ARE THEY BEING SO PROUD OF ANYWAY? Where does this racism thinking even come from?

    Is it because I was uneducated and being rude and nasty on my journey, so I got treated racially?
    I opened the door for the people who were behind me but no one said thank you.
    I said excuse me and sorry when I had to walk pass them closely in a crowed area, while they did not say anything to each other for the same situation.
    Was I the one being rude?

    I’ve only traveled once to Latvia for a friend’s wedding. I spent two weeks there. Before that I did not even know there’s such a country. My curiosity made my excited about my trip to somewhere remote and new, and expected interesting things there. Some of Latvians were friendly and generous. But I noticed that Latvians are far less smiley and caring than how British treat strangers and other races. It’s not a problem though, as long as they don’t harm others theres no point to request everybody to be perfectly polite. But what I had experienced was way off base, I don’t even wanna talk about it. After a long time now I still can’t get over it. As an Asian I have never ever been treated so badly in any country in my entire life!

    Yes I am still angry but I would not say Latvians are all blah blah blah. I understand the country’s situation, and I understand that the old Latvians can probably never change their mind in this life. But if this still happens to the young generations in Latvia in the future, i would be very disappointed. Black and white is a Stone Age thing now, but I bet if there was a chance some folks in Latvia would still wanna beat up other races like the American did back in 30’s :)

    Latvia didn’t left me with a good impression, the kindness from the good people there couldn’t make my journey any easier. From what I saw, I felt like I was in an old village where people still burn criminals alive.
    I don’t mean to say this to all Latvians here, if you’re Latvian but not a racism, this is not to you:
    Go out and travel.
    China has problems but to be fair, Chinese cities are far more advanced with modern architectures and technologies than the super cities in the west world, like London and Paris. We scan our faces and phones to pay for everything we buy, not through Apple Pay, we have our own platforms. When I say everyone I mean it, even the old Chinese people do the same. From buying a bottle of water to paying your house rent. This is happening while you’re still writing a cheque. Go out and see what’s happening in this world. I don’t mean to show off about how advanced China is now, but if the racisms in Latvia bullying me because they think Latvia is way richer than China? This is the truth I’ll tell, and the truth they’ll see once they step out of their country that has been preserved VERY well.


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