Feeling Pretty White Bread

Since I started college, I’d always pride myself on my diverse group of friends. One night, a bunch of us went out to Ihop. We took a look around and realized that we pretty much look like the United Nations.

Another time, years later, a small group of us was hanging out, engaging in shenanigans. One of our newer friends, a white guy, looked around and said, “Man. You guys make me feel pretty white bread.”

I looked around, and I realized I was the only black friend – black as in, not mixed.

All of my biracial and multiracial friends are beautiful and come from interesting families. Thinking of it that way, it’s kind of hard not to feel like a ho-hum plain Jane.

I mean, take ice cream, for example. I always opt for the most delicious mixes of flavor.

But I have to remember that vanilla and chocolate are still classic flavors.

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Where Do I Go From Here?

I noticed that some Americans really like to ostracize other Americans. I often hear the phrase, “Well, if you hate it here so much, you should just leave.”

Yes, leaving is definitely an option. Another option is stopping to wonder why these people are so unhappy in this country.

Look, I’m American, born and raised. I love America with all its free speech and ubiquitous free wi-fi. But… I also know that America is pretty fucked up.

We were the 18th country to legalize same-sex marriage (took along enough), and people are still fighting it tooth and nail. Many people are using the same excuses that were used when interracial marriage was illegal.

On a related note, a surprising amount of people are unable to separate church and state. To some, a completely secular government would be the end of times. Fire and Brimstone!!

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Apparently this is what they think a secular government would look like.

Little do they know, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, and many other nations have secular governments and are doing just fine.

And when I was in Japan for a month, I felt more like an equal and a human being than I feel here sometimes. The Japanese never made me feel self-conscious about being black (except for the three times I was asked to get my picture taken. One of them was when I was standing next to my tall, handsome, blond-haired, blue-eyed friend). Here, I’m sometimes followed around stores even though shoplifting is the last thing on my mind. People sometimes lock their cars when my dad strolls by, even though he’s a hard-working, productive member of society. And even though my boyfriend takes his profession seriously, in nursing school, he still encountered patients who refused to be treated by a black nurse.

America isn’t even among the top ten nations with the best education systems! And there’s no sign of that changing any time soon.

We’re not in the top ten for health care, either. Surprise, surprise. (Even though ours is ridiculously expensive.)

And, we also have a bit of a prison problem: “Not only does the U.S. lead the world in incarcerations per 100 thousand of population, but it is home to largest total number of prisoners. Roughly 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States. China’s estimated prison population totals to only 1.6 million people.” (Statista). We’re second only to Seychelles. This is kind of embarrassing.

Obesity is out of control. (Seriously, people threw a fit when McDonald’s first tried to sell apples, but all hell broke loose when Twinkies went out of business.)

Our cops are out of control. (Not all cops – yes, I know. But you can’t deny that we have way more bad apples than we need.)

And let me tell you, we’re on no one’s list for happiest country.

So, taking all this into account (and this isn’t even all of it), it’s natural to wonder where else I could live.

Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands have some of the happiest people.

Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, and the U.K. are among the top ten education systems.South Korea is number one, but I wouldn’t touch South Korea with a 50-foot pole. Case and point:

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(Pretty ignorant for the so-called best educated nation in the world, hm?)

The U.K., France, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands are all among those in top ten healthcare.

And I also did a search for the “most tolerant” countries. And after various perusals, the Netherlands was consistently the top choice.

The Netherlands is also extremely energy efficient. (Germany is number one.)

Look, I am seriously considering learning Dutch and moving to the Netherlands. (I’m also told New Zealand is a great choice as well.)

And before you say it: I do know that racism is everywhere and no nation is perfect. I also realize how lucky I am to have been born an American. I don’t hate this country – you won’t catch me burning flags or shitting on them – but at the same time…

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(Side note: And yes, I know “Black Pete” is a thing. But, to be fair, if a character who is Santa’s helper is the biggest racial issue in the country, I’m pretty sure I can overlook it.)

(Side-side note: Does anyone know what ballroom is like in the Netherlands?)

Geez, China

So, I’ve been around the world today! My university is having this diversity thing going on today, and I stopped by nearly each table and asked them to tell me a little about their culture:

Iran, Yemen (damn, that guy was sexy, and charming, and funny), Sudan, Palestine, Somalia, and Nepal were very willing to talk about their culture, and I learned some things. Huzzah!

Unfortunately, the Brazil, India, Saudi-Arabia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan tables were always too crowded for me to get to and ask questions. Though the guy at the India table was able to write my name in Hindi. So there’s that.

And China. Well… When I asked, they sort of laughed, talked to each other in Chinese, and then told me that they couldn’t tell me anything…
I guess there’s always the internet.