“If Trump becomes president, I’m leaving the country.”
We’ve all heard this before. Many of us have said this before. But what does we really mean when we threaten to expatriate? If we move to another country, does that mean we are relocating to the post-racial utopia that is Canada? [Note: This sentence is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. There is no such thing as a post-racial utopia. There racism also exists in Canada. Duh.] Or perhaps we sail back to Mother Africa where we will instantly rejoin the tribes from which we were torn and take our rightful places as heirs to the Zulu throne.
There are many media outlets across the interwebs that sell a life of luxury for black folks traveling abroad. According to the corresponding social media accounts, every day is a Beyoncé video and we slay everything in a white catsuit. And sure, that may be the case for a week or two. Maybe even a few months. But what happens when we the vacation ends and real life begins? What really goes on at the intersection of global mobility and black identity?
Enter The Black Expat (TBE). The website and online community founded by Amanda Bate has filled a huge void in the global mobility and migration communities. Launched in February, Bate began delivering stories from across the black diaspora that explore what it is like to be black and abroad. As an educator with years of experience working with international college students and her own cross-cultural story to tell, this Cameroonian-born career counselor sought out spaces for stories reflecting her upbringing as a Third Culture Kid and cross-cultural adult. When she couldn’t find those spaces, she decided to create her own.
The diverse narratives provided by TBE contributors vary from a Ethiopian/Eritrean-born artist organizer who is adding to color and vibrancy to Minnesota’s Little Africa community, to a Jamaican couple teaching English and teaching their little girl about #BlackGirlMagic in Japan. Black folks are living and thriving abroad, but the experience is not monolithic. There are challenges and, contrary to popular belief, racism does exist outside of the United States of America [insert shocked emoji].
The Black Expat is more than a series of snapshots by the ocean finished with a filter to perfectly capture our melanated goodness. This site serves as a meeting place where readers and contributors alike can share stories and tips of what it’s like to live, work, and breathe while black in all corners of the world. What happens when you need to find a black barber in Italy? What do you do if you’re a black woman who wants to date a black man who wants to date a black woman in Amsterdam? If you’re raising a black child in the Netherlands, how will he know what it is to be woke?
There are many questions to consider when making any life-altering decision. When preparing for any relocation, research is vitally important. Unfortunately, information accurately reflecting what it is like for black expatriates has been a rare find. Until now. Until TheBlackExpat.com turned the expatriation community on its head and began shedding light on black expatriates from all nations. We are telling a new story. Will your voice been part of the new narrative?