When we travel abroad for vacation or extended stays, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of new experiences. It’s easy to slip into the illusion that every night is date night or every afternoon is leisure. There is one thing black folks cannot forget:
You Need To Put The Work In Everyday.
You may enjoy traveling. You may enjoy living it up. But the last I checked, our race is the most economically and politically disadvantaged in the world. As a collective we do not have much power and influence over world affairs. This means that while as an individual you may have some money in your pocket, a college education, and maybe a prestigious career, you will be viewed as a member of the group who is at the bottom. And some people may say things directly to you that you find disrespectful. You may have people treat you with disdain. This might happen while you are traveling and living well. You may get it at the airport, the coffeeshop, the post office, the clothing store, the jewelry shop, or the museum.
So what is the work I’m talking about? Even though we need to improve our financial power, it’s not just economic. It is about our internal work. We must work to connect with each other and protect each other, especially when we are in foreign lands and feel alone or out of place. We must put in the work to keep our dignity at all times. Do not tolerate harmful stereotypes. Do not tolerate being mocked. Stand up for yourself and other black people.
If you are working or studying abroad, you earned your spot. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Remind yourself of your goals and keep your faith in your ability. This is the work. The mental work. Set an example for your friends and family. You can face adversity. You can face anything. If someone says or does something disrespectful have the strength to set them straight. Then move on with your life. Don’t let their words or actions ruin your day, your vacation or your experience. Don’t give them control over your mental state. Stay focused.
Carry yourself with pride. Let your aura shine. Your blackness is a gift.