The Next Great Migration

I love learning about The Great Migration. Thus, the opinion piece The Next Great Migration caught my eye. In short, it encourages Blacks to live abroad in order to experience more freedom and less racism.

My thoughts are as follows:

As a Southern Black woman living abroad, I more or less agree with what Williams wrote. I found the piece beautiful and persuasive. Just like with The Great Migration and its mass exodus from the South to northern and western destinations, sometimes people have to vote with their feet. The key, for me, is when he wrote that Black expatriation should be “tempered by a healthy skepticism toward the idea of finding utopia anywhere.”

Leaving won’t cure all ills. Here in Venezuela, for example, I’ve yet to experience “being treated first and foremost as Americans and not as blacks.” While studying abroad in Australia, I endured racist comments during a night out.

Because of my color, people in Venezuela are always surprised that I’m American. They think I’m Haitian, Trinidadian, or Jamaican. I’m very aware of the fact that I’m almost always the darkest person in an area, and it’s something that hasn’t stopped me from entering spaces where people who look like me generally have not gone.

In short, I’m all for leaving the US for a short or extended time period. Surrounding race, the US is a gravely ill society; being distanced from the race problem has helped my own psyche and expanded my viewpoints surrounding race. People just need to be realistic as far as why they’re leaving and not have the “grass is greener” mentality. Otherwise, they may find themselves disappointed and clamoring to go right back home.

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