Several weeks ago as I was saying bye to friends who had decided to relocate back to their Caribbean isle; I lamented my inability to do the same due to the crime and racism/colourism on mine.
Fast forward a week and there was the vote to leave the European Union by the UK and the subsequent xenophobia, My emotions spiral into an abyss mirroring many others who unlike me were better able to articulate the feeling of being publicly whipped naked in a hail storm while hungry and being told all will be well. I thanked Divine Wisdom for me choosing not to vacation in my adopted home this summer but what about in the long run, when the GCC and I decide to part company…
My American colleague asks me about considering the USA as a place to set up home and I tell him how I once had a NY dream that involved living with my grandmother in Brooklyn, going to college in up-state Syracuse and working for Essence magazine. This was interrupted by my parents’ decision to move to the UK. Since then I’ve viewed America as Europeans do, with prejudice (I know), suspicion and superiority because of their two-week holidays, no statutory maternity pay and the death penalty in several states. We joke about ‘the-ranting-man-who-could-be-President’ and then with more sobriety I add that the land of the free filled me with fear being the mother of two black sons.
Fast forward a week and my daymare became the reality of two more mothers of black sons.
Another colleague is considering Australian citizenship. She was born here and will forever retain nationality of her parents’ birthplace. It’s not Syria yet it’s not a place she wants to return and raise her family. I find it hard to consider Australia – that island is too far from the other islands I call home and then there are the Aborigines.
Fast forward a week and I have just finished reading ‘The Invention of Wings’ by Sue Monk Kidd set in the 1800s as the Abolition of Slavery movement gets going in the USA. Just over two centuries ago. A long time ago or not so long ago? On both sides of the colour and gender lines, folks fought for progress, railing and rallying against the status quo. Feels familiar…
Fast forward a week or two and my boys will hopefully be off to Ghana to see family. Ah Ghana! And suddenly things don’t look so dark.