THE CASE FOR OPEN BORDERS

Why Are Brown Passports Shitty And White Passports Good?

Where you‘re born can shrink your world by 75%

Indi Samarajiva
Jul 18, 2019 · 4 min read

My children have two different passports, making them a sort of case study in the stupidity and ultimate cruelty of passports. My daughter has a white passport, so no visas required. My son has a brown passport and he has to prove that he’s not trying to escape brown-town. I have to sit in consulates and bring sheafs of documents and basically grovel to get him permission to move about the earth.

We accept this as just the way things are, but fucking why? The British didn’t show their passports when they took the wealth out of here, nor the Americans or the Australians when they plundered their new homes.

Why do white people get to be digital nomads and tourists and expats while brown people are supposed to stay still?

This system of oppression persists largely because the oppressed accept and enforce it themselves, but I’m telling you that the empire has no clothes. I can see it because my kids are very similar and they, by bureaucratic quirk, live in completely different worlds.

My son can access 22% of the world without a visa. My daughter can access 94%. This was all determined at their birth. This is our reality and we accept it and we preserve it but I’m telling you to question it. This is not fair. God’s green earth belongs to all of us, not just the rich or the well-born.

In any other context this would be called discrimination, but we just accept it because we don’t even think about it. But isn’t it weird that Sri Lankans or Ugandans can access 20% of the world and Canadians 95%. Of course if you’re a rich Sri Lankan or Ugandan we can make an exception. We claim to be a civilization that doesn’t judge people by their birth or their wealth, but that’s exactly what we do. Our borders are a system that sits in plain sight, keeping the poor and the brown down.

This is wrong. Just because it’s accepted, because everyone is doing it, none of this makes it any less wrong.

A child from Sri Lanka has no less worth than a child from America. They have no less right to travel somewhere, and they have no less right to settle. The world has divided itself up where certain countries have more and certain countries have less, and everybody enforces it together because the rich are allowed through. And people don’t even think about it.

We all just stand in line, always missing a document or a stamp, coming back, paying through the nose, waiting, getting rejected, asking for favors. We have gotten so used to the injustice of borders that we ourselves hold them up. But if you look directly at it, this whole system is an abomination.

We live in a world where certain countries plundered the wealth of others and then closed their doors. Their pollution, however, spills over their walls, warming the entire earth to the point that island nations are over-heating (Sri Lanka) and sinking (the Maldives) right now. In this time between colonialism and climate change, the west is then telling brown people to stay put because we might ruin their countries. Bitch, you ruined the world!

You know what we’re going to do with my son? We’re going to go to white-town and get him the passport he’s entitled to through his mom. Just so he can stretch his feet and move like a human being. But this system is nonsense and we need to look at it, and tear it down. For all the children that aren’t so lucky.

No one’s world should be defined by your passport. And no you don’t deserve whatever privileges you have because of how you were born. We like to think we overthrew ideas of feudalism but we’ve just changed the expression of the same oppression.

History will look back on this time the way we look back on injustices in the past. Like, “oh, certain people couldn’t move because of how they were born? That’s wrong. And people just went along with that?” I have both a brown and a white passport and I can see both sides of this stupid Matrix and I don’t want to go along anymore.

My children are no different than each other and they are no different from other children. We are all God’s children and we all have the right be free and move. Open borders is an idea that’s time has come.

Mr. Visa Officer. Tear down this wall.


Further Reading:
- Bathsheba Okwenje:
Visa applications: emotional tax and privileged passports
- The Case For Open Borders:
Birth
- The Case For Open Borders:
No Children In Cages

indica

Views from the Dirty South

Sign up for Dirty South

By indica

Views from the south, except more personal and less edited. Also perhaps more rambly.  Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Indi Samarajiva

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Founded some stuff, sold one, now writing full time. He/him. Contact: indi@indi.ca

indica

indica

A dirty south perspective on the world.

Indi Samarajiva

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Founded some stuff, sold one, now writing full time. He/him. Contact: indi@indi.ca

indica

indica

A dirty south perspective on the world.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store