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Be the Change You Want to See

Updated: May 24, 2021

Until I had the opportunity to travel outside of the United States I did not realize what it meant to be black, at least not fully. Trips to Caribbean left me feeling proud and excited about what life could be like. Travel to Eastern Europe had its own surprises but not the ones I initially expected. The most rewarding of all was traveling to Africa for the first time and I truly did feel "at home". I have seen other blogs where Afro-Americans have said, "I'm not black in Africa" and I totally understand what this means.

In Africa, I'm a man. Strange looks in stores and the awkwardness that you feel and can only experience as a black person in America is unique. Subconsciously humbling oneself when you walk into a store. For instance, If I have on a pair of shades or a hoodie, when I walk into a public building I feel the need to talk off the glasses or pull down the hood before entering or getting to far inside. I subconsciously know that people are looking at me and expecting me to do something, even though that is not in my nature and the farthest thing from what I would do. It doesn't matter, I premature comply to avoid conflict or even further suspicion.

Art by Ivan Arenas


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