30 sec reading: The black man


Por Rosa Montero

We are at the restaurant of a German University. A red haired student, and undeniably German takes her tray and sits down at her table.
She then realizes she has forgotten her cutlery and gets up again to pick it up.

Coming back, she sees with astonishment that a black man, possibly sub-Saharian by his appearance, is sitting there and is eating from her tray.
Straight away, the young woman feels lost and stressed . But immediately changes her thought and presumes that the African is not familiar with European customs concerning private property and privacy.
She also takes into consideration that perhaps he does not have enough money to pay for his meal.

In any case, she decides to sit in front of the guy and to smile at him in a friendly manner.
The African responds with another dazzling smile.
The German girl starts to help herself, -sharing the food with the black man with genuine pleasure and courtesy.
And thus, he took the salad, she ate the soup, both took their share of the stew, one took care of the yoghurt and the other of the piece of fruit,
All this peppered with numerous refined smiles – timid from the man and smoothly, encouraging and kind by the girl -.
They eat up their lunch.
The German girl gets up to get a coffee.
And it is then that she discovers, on the table behind the black man, her coat placed on the back of a chair and her food tray untouched.


I dedicated this charming story – furthermore an authentic one – to all who are wary of immigrants and consider them as inferior individuals.
To all these people, who with the best of intentions, observe them condescendingly and with paternalism.
It would be better that we free ourselves of prejudices or we run the risk to make a fool of ourselves like the poor German who thought to be at the height of civilisation whilst the African greatly educated, let her eat and share her meal and at the same time was thinking :; how mad these Europeans are.’

Update 8:00 PM, Jan 19 2012
The original post in Spanish, published a few days ago in the most respected Spanish newspaper EL PAIS: El Negro , says that this is a true story. However, it is not. Check Rosy’s comment below: the story is based in a short movie, winner of Cannes Palme D’Or


  1. Osho Sidhant says:

    Its just too good, reminds me of matin luther king, ” You must never judge a person by colour of their skin or by the attire they put on, but by the content of their character.”

    And character and other virtues are not pasted on the forehead…

  2. Amir says:

    I wish I was a black guy in the German university!

  3. Behzad says:

    haha! I’ve experienced such a condition. “prejudice

  4. elnaz says:

    wow how kind the black man was.sharing his food without complaining.

  5. parviz says:

    some times life ,success and truth is dead behind our decisions….

  6. Autumn Notariano-Frenchman says:

    Reading this allows me to stay and feel the intensity and power of acceptance, seeing through our differences, focusing on the similarities, which is not natural for our culture. I’m grateful everyday, that I chose to go to a small, multi-cultural university, after traveling. Today, I feel as if we’d only be accountable for our educational and economic shortcomings for our past prejudices and those ones we hold close today, that MAYBE, we could begin “something new”, at least honesty. An extra language without the “experience” does not allow us to see. Tourism is but a perspective of the unrealistic. In order to see, feel, hear, understand what we need to do to serve comes with empathy. I had to go. Thank you!

  7. Sara Abebe says:

    Wow, so true

  8. Sobhagya says:

    It depicts the way , two sides behaved . Calmly and Generously !!

  9. eliceia says:

    uau !! uau!! simplismente lindo simples e direto adorei

  10. Elisasmith says:

    I loved it…

  11. Sai says:

    Similar story is from Hindi Movie “Dus Kahaniya” where A Hindu woman trying to avoid even shadow of a muslim finally comes to know the foolishness in her behaviour.

  12. Josefina Camacho says:

    De todos modos nos sirve para reflexionar hasta donde va el ser por el ser…desde Uruguay ..

  13. meann alforque says:

    hahahaha……a cute story that tells a lesson…..everyday we are under God’s mercy…..i have to remind myself to be humble always…….. :)

  14. Akansha says:

    it shows dere r still generous n nice hearted ppl r in dis wrld..who lov n share thngs wid othrs smtimes evn widout sharng a word…

  15. Monica says:

    que curioso me ha sucedido aunque la influencia de aquellos que me hicieron sentir así­ ha subsistido de alguna manera dentro de mis costumbres, por ahí­ dicen el que entre lobos anda a aullar se enseña!

  16. Ali says:

    You can read a Persian translation of this here: http://tinyurl.com/77jstbf

  17. Ali says:

    The original story seems to be published on 2005; check El Pais link (…/elpepiult/20050517…) and the date on the article:
    ROSA MONTERO 17/05/2005

  18. Gonzalo says:

    No debemos olvidar que para Dios, no existen diferencias entre los hombres y El obra sobre todos sin diferencia alguna, incluso, está aun mas presente en los enfermos.

  19. giri says:

    s we need to think more openly, this was good story…both tried to outdo other .

  20. Yan says:

    作者Rosa Montero












    更新:8:00 PM, Jan 19 2012
    故事原本是用西班牙语写的,几天前刊登在知名的西班牙报纸EL PAIS: El Negro 上,并称这是一个真实的故事。事实上,这不是。这故事是根据一部加纳棕榈奖获奖短片改编的。

  21. jitendra says:

    it was very nice and very heart touching story;;