My beloved blogger-in-arms posed an interesting question on Friday that compelled me to respond. You’ll find it helpful to read her post before proceeding with mine.
Now, if you’ve been following me for awhile you know that I frequently write about labels and boxes and how we all wrestle with how the world perceives us. When it comes to what some folks term as “the black card” conversation, my blood really gets up. If the “ruler” demarking blackness hinges on a deep seeded desire to live, work and play full time on the African continent, that would be in a word, “ridiculous”.
However, I am one of those people who if the right opportunity were to present itself would happily leave these United States (perhaps for a time, perhaps on a more permanent basis) and reposition my life in an African nation. Here are some of my reasons:
1. I love adventure and the thought of living in a new place is exciting to me. You have the opportunity to learn new things and share your culture with others.
2. Africa is a special place full of amazing people and the genesis of our human race. I think everyone who can should “return home” because I think it would affect a much needed change in the hearts of a great many people. (I am referencing our earthly home, just to be clear.)
3. An African American who chooses to leave the U.S. to live in Europe is not labeled as being someone who is abandoning their American heritage in favor of Europe. Why does that sentiment change when the continental destination shifts? Think about it.
4. There are some amazing opportunities to explore in many African nations that are in need of high skilled workers. Some of the opportunities might surprise many Americans. http://www.careersinafrica.com/
Finally, we live in a great big world full of opportunities to bless others. I am no more going to make a work/life change choice as big as moving countries on the basis of one person. Honestly, I know very few people who really would do that. I think that is how the social media conversation gets framed.
I do believe that we are staring in the face a new possibility of a significant increase in brain drain happening from the U.S. to both Africa and Asia that may be accelerated by current events. But the real emphasis for young talent leaving the U.S. is going to be in line with what those folks perceive as places that will afford them the best opportunity. Folks are a lot less hesitant to consider opportunities outside of the U.S. these days.
There is so much buzz about concerns over immigration into the U.S. and virtual silence over emigration out of the U.S. The world is getting much smaller in the sense that we have the ability to connect and share information in ways that were foreign only 40 years ago. So for those who wish to plant their flags in American soil and contribute to the workforce I say bravo. For those who wish to offer their services beyond the borders of these United States of America I say bravo. Both acts are equally American.
Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Hot Springs, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit https://about.me/MCyoungblood.