Thursday, February 23, 2012

Traveling While Black

This evening I read an article in Ebony about "Why Black Youth Must Travel". It interested me, because of how much I love studying cultures and languages from around the world.

I'm a bit disappointed that the author didn't address how the travel disparity is significantly affected by safety issues associated with being a person of color. Let's face it. If something happens while you're traveling the world and you don't look like Natalee Holloway, you can forget about contacting the consulate or your representative in Congress. You're on your own and you'd better have enough money to pay for whatever it will take to get you out of trouble and back safe at home.

We're also far more likely to receive a negative reception in many parts of the world, especially Europe. We're not exactly the desired market that tourism departments are hoping to attract.

These things can make travel a much less appealing idea for those who, though young, are already hip to the reality that the "black tax" extends beyond the borders of the USA. As a middle-class parent, I'd love to see my child travel overseas. It's not a matter of availability of funds, for us. I'm just not going to use my funds to send my precious, queer (young) woman of color alone into a world that is especially predatory towards people like her.

I like the idea of travel and do it as much as I can. However, I'm a realist and I know what a difference it makes for having a white husband by my side when I do it. My contribution to today's black youth will travel overseas when we can do it as a family

1 comment:

Fly Girl said...

I don't think you should limit your or your daughter's travel experiences because of perceived trouble. I travel for a living and I rarely have any of the issues that I face in the U.S. My 15-year-old daughter also travel, she went to London last year and there was never a problem. I think that racism in the U.S. is generally more toxic and apparent than in other places, in my experience. So please don't let your doubts stop you, get out there and travel!