I Want To Go Somewhere Far

Chinese Street Lanterns” by Elvir K on Flickr.
I arrived in Beijing about a week ago and did not know what to expect.

I have heard that Chinese people can be racist.

But that was mostly from heterosexual cisgendered white males from the US with very little understanding of racism or prejudice.

As a Black American, those accusations didn’t hold much water. On my first day when the first person I met was surprised I was from America because of the color of my skin, it was nothing new to me. While living in Japan for four years many people had the same assumption that all Americans are white.

Even if Barack Obama is president, Will Smith continues to make blockbusters and at least in China the NBA is extremely popular.

These moments of confusion and the opportunities to teach people a little bit about the diverse country I call home is one of the reasons I decided to move so far away.

China is changing fast and the impact it has on the next 20 years, as the world shifts, is tremendous.

There is a lot of pressure here to be on my best behavior, because for some of the people I meet, whether from China or other foreigners living in China, I will be the first Black American they meet.

I know that there will be lots of chances to engage, share, and teach each other about our backgrounds, our families, and our beliefs.

In the end all of us human beings are unique.

If we believe everything we see on TV and decide to never leave our protective bubbles, we will remain ignorant of the beautiful world around us.

As an avid believer in the power of travel and cultural immersion, I want to share my journey with people and motivate them to get out of their comfort zones.

Listen to this week’s episode, Episode 113 — Land, Spaceship, and Lyndon B. Johnson:

Written by Bashir of Comatose.

Comatose is a weekly series of amusing anecdotes, insightful commentary, and pithy stories. Every week three contributors are featured in short segments. The segments, though often unrelated, are tied together using music and narration to set the scene. Relax and enjoy the ride while listening to topics as varied as love, birthdays, and reciprocity.

You can find Comatose on Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, and Stitcher.

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