Diaspora Uncategorized

I’m afraid of America


My son was accepted to a university in the USA. He was quite excited.

During conversation with him a few days ago, and to keep up his initial enthusiasm (because the Rona is dashing many dreams out there), I asked him how he felt about going to uni in the States. He replied “I don’t want to go anymore”. I was slightly taken aback because it’s not the answer I was expecting.

Why he won’t go to America

He’d initially wanted to go to uni in South Africa like his big brother so I thought that was the reason why but I still asked him why he didn’t want to go to America any more. His answer? “I don’t want to die” he said. You know what the sad part is? I knew exactly what he was talking about. And what’s even sadder is that I couldn’t blurt “Don’t be silly, you’ll be fine!” because there’s no way I can guarantee that as a young black man, walking home from uni or from a night out or coming from wherever young uni students go, I couldn’t guarantee that he would be safe from being killed by the police or even be arrested and handled very roughly on mistaken identity.

Are black people safe?

You see, it’s not only black families in America who are traumatised by what’s happening to black people in the USA. Black people everywhere are affected too! This is not about black people killing other black people. Whites and Asians kill each other too. This is about how black people are treated and how we are now living in fear of being brutalised by the very people who swore to “Serve and protect” all citizens. Imagine, someone who should be looking forward to starting a new venture is instead worrying about how he will be treated – or even killed if he goes to America. I feel sick just thinking about it.


image from Gothamist