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Moving Abroad As A Black American Completely Changed My Perception Of Blackness

I moved abroad for the first time in the year 2013. I probably would not have considered doing so long-term if it had not been for the many inspirational Black women I’ve met during my travels. It was during that time that I began to study the drastic differences in attitude, self-esteem and awareness between women who have lived outside of the USA for an extended time, newbie and frequent travellers, and those who didn’t see a value in traveling far away from home – much less abroad. I, myself, have fallen into each of these categories in a decade.

I can recall an interview in which the actor Wood Harris stated his theory about why so many British actors are deservedly cast as Americans and excel in their roles. He goes on to say that Europeans, both Black and white, grow up with the truth about Africa’s contributions to the world. For example, the Greek, Roman, and Iberian empires have all been dramatically influenced by the Moors who contributed the gift of written language, numbers, bathhouses, architecture, infrastructure, food, and universities. In contrast, he continues “...but in America, they pretty much don't give you the real story at all. You’re slaves and masters. It’s a big difference that makes the Black Americans grow up with a built-in inferiority switch that is always in the shadows if you believe you come from slavery.”