Top 3 reasons black Americans make the best expats
May 23, 2016 at 9:30 am
Here are the top three reasons we as black people make the best expats:
We’re cultural chameleons
We know how to adapt to any situation. Ever heard of ‘code-switching?’ Yeah, we wrote the manual. Unfortunately, as African-Americans, we’re expected to juggle and wear several hats at the same time. Our country tends to impose their views on who they think we are, or who they want us to be; meanwhile, you’re over here just trying to live your life. I get it. Oftentimes, those images are conflicting, even opposing. That said, we are well-versed in moving through a variety of cultural situations and every day brings its unique challenges. If you’ve gone on a job interview, you’ve code-switched. If you have a phone voice then you’ve also code-switched. If you’ve changed your tone while speaking with a store clerk or salesperson, again, you know what it’s like to code-switch. Code-switching in itself is neither good nor bad but a direct response to our surroundings. We evolve and change because it’s what’s required of us. History proves that black people are resilient, strong and above all, know and understand what it means to adapt. We’re also empathetic, respectful of other people’s cultures and sensitive, and that makes us wonderful travelers and expats. We fit in anywhere!
Our culture is widely exported — and people love us!
This goes without saying, as you can turn on any channel or open any magazine and see our culture being appropriated and imitated. However, I’d like to say that there are places where black culture is appreciated without the fetishization and mockery. Remember, not every country rocks up with the same racial and historical baggage we’re so accustomed to in the United States. Ever wonder what it’s like to feel flattered by imitation and not insulted? Yes, that’s an option. It exists, friends.
We have nothing to lose by moving abroad
In case you haven’t read the news in the past 400 years or so, but we’re not necessarily liked, respected, or dare I say, loved by the men. And let’s be honest, it’s mostly men that control our country. We’re basically hunted, despised and treated like a “problem to be solved” in a place where we were not only born but years ago, our ancestors were dragged to (and then built).
You know those awkward parties where one person is trying to dance and be great, but there’s a group in the corner very obviously avoiding them saying “you can’t sit with us”… yeah, I’d leave that party too because it’s pretty obvious that our dope-ass dance moves would be more appreciated elsewhere.
You don’t have to tell me twice! Deuces!
“Life is hard,” “Life is about struggle, it’s no cakewalk,” “It might be hard now, but it will get better.” We’ve been fed these ideas for so long that it’s become natural, almost automatic to swallow it down no matter how much it stinks and how much it hurts. Yo, some of those ideas come from a time when people crip-walked and praise-danced at funerals because anything, yes anything, was better than life itself (and since we’re being honest, not just life, but life for a black person in America). Although we’re not in physical chains, there are tangible residual effects both within the confines of our minds and institutionally.
There are places where black people are allowed to just be. There are countries where men and women of color are seen as they are: beautiful, complex, and worthy of respect. Black people — we make the best expats simply because we’ve seen what rock bottom looks like. Unlike in previous generations, we have the choice to leave and write our own stories.