Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Grass is Always Greener... Where Race Doesn't Matter

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

I think having a brand new baby to introduce to the world makes you re-evaluate everything in your life. Suddenly the choices you make, from eating that extra cupcake to whether you send you kids to private or public school, seem to be so much more important. Likewise, watching the news and reading the paper I'm so acutely aware of what a f__ed up nation we're living in these days. So, my last post on moving to Barcelona was actually not just a fantasy. I was thinking seriously of uprooting the family, throwing everything away that we've created here and moving to Spain.

But then I saw this article about a Black man who recently decided that after moving to France in 2004 that he was coming back to the US of A because like it or not, life was just better here.

Now, of course everyone can have a bad day or a bad experience and decide life is going to be better somewhere else, but I was truly thinking about the violence, the guns, the flash mobs and that damn Tea Party when I was making my case for moving to Europe.

Perhaps because I only average two hours of sleep at night, however, it took me an extra day to remember that England is burning due to race/youth riots. Norway just experienced a horrific attack from a crazy man afraid of foreigners and all over Europe they're struggling with immigration issues, massive xenophobia, racism and economic disaster waiting to happen. So, where is this Utopia I'm hoping to find? Canada maybe?.

I will say this. If Mickelle Bachman becomes president in 2012 you can forward all of my mail to the North Pole.



Wendy (Colombia Mami) said...

Nowhere is prefect. I grew up in the south surrounded by racism that I thought was wrong. Many of my peers did too. But very rarely would a white person would educate/inform/go off on on someone else that spouted racism crap. My high school was an even mix of black and white.

In the Air Force,saying racist stuff would get your in deep trouble.

But the best thing I ever witness was at a convenience store in college. At the time, I was living in Iowa and the town was 98% white. Many of my college friends worked at this store and we would hang out there. A customer comes in and says the N word. (don't even remember what he was talking about now) He was surprised to an angry mob of his "fellow white people" toss him out the door!

Generally what I noticed in Iowa was that even though very white many folks just would not tolerate racial ignorance. Many elder Iowans would talk about the anti-german movement (anti immigration) in the early part of the 20th century that did away with German/English education etc.

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

People are people every where, and I think, if you look for it, you'll find hate and ignorance and greed. And if you look for it, you can also find compassion, kindness and generosity. The vitriol spinning around on American news media these days show just how easily we could have (and have had) an incident like London's riots and Norway's bombings. But then, in every day life, we see individuals treating each other with love and compassion. We hear individual stories of sacrifice and generosity. You can't run away from humanity - or you could, I suppose, but that wouldn't be very fun either and you'd be missing out on a lot of the good of people too.

Thai people, for example, are known for their smiling welcome and their tolerance for others. Their generosity and ability to anticipate and meet your needs can wow you. But stay here long enough and you'll see that tolerance is mostly just on the surface, as a form of conflict avoidance. If you get close enough to see how Burmese refugees are treated here, you'll see the ugly racist side of Thai people too.

I haven't been to Spain so I can't say anything about what it'll be like for you there. (Though from what I hear, Spain does have a problem with racism, but it stems more from racial ignorance than racial hatred, per se.) But I imagine there are many potential positive benefits to living there, especially with giving your kids access to another part of their heritage and family. I can't tell you whether the pros outweigh the cons, but I would say, if you all really want to go to Spain, don't let fear be what stops you. .

Itsbugart said...

"Norway just experienced a horrific attack from a crazy man afraid of foreigners"

I just want to clarify that Breivik is NOT mentally ill; he is a bona fide fascist. He has made this abundantly clear, even setting up an electronic "press kit" before hand. The youth camp was targeted precisely because these young people chose to spend part of their summer vacation in workshops and lectures instead of at the beach or playing computer games. They wanted to learn how to have a positive impact, how to make their communities better places to live and work for everybody, regardless of race, class, gender, etc.

In short, this was no random act by a mentally ill man. It was every bit as politically motivated as 9/11.

Itsbugart said...

Here's a good analysis of Breivik and the whole anti-islamist movement:

It is in Swedish but you can get a reasonably decent translation through Google Translate (or similar program). LOTS of good points here!!!

Alicia said...

There is an article in the Afro Europe blog ( from a British black woman who speaks about the difference between being black in the UK and being black in the US that probably could shed some light on the issue of black Europeans.

Anonymous said...

Let's be real race matters to you, thus it will matter wherever you go. This were to be true even if you found a magical land where people actually believe the the truth: Race is a lie, a social construct.

Anonymous said...

In the final analysis, it all comes down to what you can afford. Money talks.

april jazer strozier said...

yes I was thinking about moving to Canada as well

Gilly B said...

I agree, nowhere is perfect. But the Norway tragedy was due to ONE mans effort, which he was able to execute so fluidly precisely because their society doesn't usually have incidents like happen and the police weren't prepared. London, too, is always subject to violence particularly from and amongst young people, but the riots recently weren't solely youth orientated and certainly not a race issue- cuts to social benefits, a perception of loss due to the economic environment and plain old opportunism (a thief by any other name!) were largely at play (*I'd also add some people are getting a rude awakening from their state dependent attitude or that of the generations before them 'expecting'). It's about personal choice- where you'd prefer to be, for your own reasons.

Best to you and the family. I'm enjoying the blog :)

Anonymous said...

I bet you he would want to be a white person in Africa, instead of a black person in Europe(where blacks have much more political power and clout than whites in Africa).

Any actual racial hatred in Europe is a direct result of the government, why anyone of any race would blame the native Europeans for wanting to preserve their heritage after being FORCED to accept foreigners with the DELIBERATE intent by the govt to destroy that heritage is completely beyond me.

anyone who looks down on 'racist' native Europeans really should look in the mirror because white people as a whole do not have the assured existence as a race like most non whites do .

Anonymous said...

correction: wouldn't want to be a white person in Africa