Au Revoir America — International Educator of Color Says Goodbye

Belgium is my home of record. I’m bilingual, biliterate, Black, and currently teaching in a French International School in America. I’ll keep the whereabouts to myself.

I’ve been at the Académie for more than 5 years and my life as teacher has been great. It’s important to note that our tuition is at the $20,000 mark. This means our parents are educated, affluent, traveled and interested in seeing their children become fluent French/English speakers who are not just accepting of, but appreciative of diversity.

Outside school, life for me has become different from when I first got here. This is because I began to experience an uneasy feeling I hadn’t known before. These days, I see news-clips of vengeful policemen harassing black men and women for what has been called “the crime of walking or driving while black,” football players sanctioned for protesting police brutality towards Black people, White supremacists marching and chanting hate speech, racist politicians and a new president who if not encouraging discrimination, is doing nothing to stop it. Some religious leaders are even making disparaging remarks.

I personally haven’t had problems and maybe I won’t, but the fact I feel uncomfortable, uneasy and even unwelcome has prompted me to submit my resignation and return to Belgium at the end of the school year. Maybe I’m paranoid? Maybe I’m over reacting? When I see a barking dog, I cross the street. In this case I’ll be crossing the ocean.

I’m aware of International Schools across America that hire bilingual teachers from around the world to come and teach in their native language. I would very much like to know if other International Educators in America are experiencing the same feelings.

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18 Responses to Au Revoir America — International Educator of Color Says Goodbye

  1. LSquardT says:

    Honestly, this is why a lot of us as PoC (People of Colour) educators are leaving the US. I’m sorry that you feel unsafe. I feel this way when I come stateside every summer.

    Like

  2. Shilohmama says:

    It’s really very difficult when you feel unsafe in a place .The best decision is to leave and go where you really feel safe and protected.Such socio politico aspects really make countries lose resourceful people. Go and feel safe.

    Like

  3. I can sympathize. I am a teacher of color (mixed black and white) who is from the U.S. I am particularly disturbed by the disproportionate, unapologetic and excessive brutality that law enforcement has directed toward unarmed black men in recent years. The excessive use of force that continues to occur is unacceptable and yet despite numerous outcries and protests, doesn’t seem to be slowing down. That is why I started teaching overseas. I don’t feel safe back home.

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  4. Older Educator says:

    I believe that anyone who does not want to live in the USA should not do so. Go back to wherever you came from. As an international educator, if I do not want to become part of the country to work for its improvement, then I should leave.

    Like

  5. Al says:

    Never an easy choice. Follow your intuition and good luck with your next stage.

    Like

  6. LeAnn billington says:

    The U.S. is in a moment of crisis. It is important to keep in mind that it is a young nation, founded upon an ideal (that is has yet to upkeep in full), and has a huge population that is widely diverse.

    It is a country, that, in its infancy, betrayed its own founding ideals, allowing slavery to define half of its being. It is a country that has already once gone to war with itself in effort to determine its true identity. And, it is a nation that has never admitted to nor discussed its misdeeds and history with regards to many things, but race in particular.

    This conversation is now forcing its way into the light. For black Americans it is a continuation of a struggle started long ago and given teeth by the likes of Diane Nash and SNCC, and the bravery of people like the Little Rock Nine. However, it is a continuation that is insistent, and makes clear that no longer is equality being asked for–it is demanded.

    For some white Americans, this is the moment when their fear and racism are given free reign–a time when the president of the nation himself feeds into a hate-filled vision of the United States.

    For other white Americans, it is a wake up call. These are the Americans who voted against Trump, who consider themselves progressive and not racist. I am one of these, and I am sad to say that we allowed ourselves to not see the dark underbelly of our country. We taught our children not see color, race, religion and to instead judge others on the content of their character. And, we patted ourselves on the back, thinking this was good enough.

    It wasn’t good enough. We failed to see the reality of life for so many, and willing blindness or not, our apathy has allowed the malignance to grow. So, it would be trite to say you should stay. All I can say is that there is a weaponless battle happening in the States at the moment. It is my hope that the victor isn’t fear and hate.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Barbara Lam says:

    Trump is an embarrassment to a huge amount of Americans of every race and religion. I may stay working overseas until his administration is GONE!!! Uh, and I am also, white-

    Like

  8. Vanities says:

    Any country will appear bad if you concentrate on the somewhat isolated cases. Yes, there are policemen that have abused blacks and whites for that matter. There are also white supremacists and black supremacists for that matter.

    Let’s add in how there is about 75% of blacks who grow up in fatherless homes with that number growing also for whites. Let’s add in how south Chicago has months that are more dangerous for black men than many wars. Let’s add in how there is a huge percent of people that put no stock in education both black and white.

    Yes America sucks. And this did not magically happen because of Trump. Obama missed an opportunity and just continued the Democrats MO of “certain people are victims.”

    The writer says that Europe is better and the Jewish commentator concurs? Is this the same place that has skinheads? Is this the same place that has seen the growth of the far right party that make Trump look like a moderator? Is this the same place that killed five million Jews and are now voting for every UN resolution that the Middle Eastern countries propose in hopes that the Muslims can finish the job?

    Middle east I won’t even talk about it because it is just so obvious. Would one of you anti-American liberals please explain how you can defend the anti-women, anti-abortion, anti-free speech, anti-homosexuality and anti-immigrant laws and values of Islamic countries? You do it all the time while hating on the Israelis.

    You want to look at Asia where I teach. (Incidentally, your 20,000 USD tuition is beans to these parents here.) The Korean. Chinese and Japanese look at blacks in America as pathetic in need of being cared for by other races. Why? Because the media and people like you folks can’t help but promote that victimhood, that they are incapable of getting ahead. There are so many intelligent, hard working successful blacks but all they see are the Freddie Grays and Travon Martins.

    Of my black students, here is what they think. One of my Guyanese students said, “I wonder why the only country in the world where blacks must set themselves apart is US where they want to be called African American. For example, there are no Canadian Americans.” One of my Ghanan students had been warned by his brother that the people that gave him the most trouble in college (MIT) in America were not the whites or Asians but the African Americans.

    The greatest question in life is why there is pain in the world. Most of you have answered this situation of “unfairness” by creating the idea of victims and oppressors. This worldview makes you feel guilty for your successes and then feel good when you can slam the Americans, or the whites or the imperialists or the capitalists. But all of us are the oppressors and also all are the victims. We do it to ourselves. Until people learn that each of us has the power to take control of our circumstances we will continue to repeat the cycle. There will be no solutions except pretending that we can run away from humanity to Belgium.

    Vanities

    Like

    • Prudence says:

      Ah – victim blaming. The proper response to any expression of concern!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vanities says:

        Prudence,

        You make my point so well! Thank you. As so many people do, you define people into victims and oppressors. Please read my entire response. No one is innocent and we all can better our position. If blacks blame where they are on racists and can do nothing until every racist changes his heart, they will be waiting a mighty long time.

        Your mindset should be an insult to the blacks and your sympathy does not help anything but your false guilt.

        Like

    • Hathor says:

      Thank you so much for your fair assessment of the situation. Belgium is now one of the most dangerous countries for most people so the U.S. is not so bad after all ….

      Like

    • Emma White says:

      You clearly have an axe to grind and are using this forum to do it. You don’t get to nicely pigeonhole his experience into your world view, sorry. Let him speak for himself. You don’t know him, or what he is been through. The arrogance, my god…

      Like

  9. jackie says:

    omg so sorry…i am white, American, returning to the US after 7 years in Asia. The racist climate in the US is getting worse and worse. I hope to have the courage to stand w/fellow Americans in their fight for justice. Hope you can continue to blog and express your feelings from Europe. Europe has racism too unfortunately😕 A global scourge.

    Like

  10. Anonymous says:

    Funny…all these people have encapsulated what I want to say.
    Time to vote with your feet and try not to get too paranoid about
    things, but make your way in the world. I am steadfast in my commitment to freedom and democracy, but times do not bode well
    for such thoughts.

    Don’t be afraid and go with your gut instinct!

    Allan Walker
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

    Like

  11. dismasdolben says:

    Dear “International Educator of Color,” I think you are wise to leave; it’s only going to get worse here.

    Like

  12. Who Me says:

    I, too, am a retired international teacher. I moved back to the States during the Obama election and was never more proud and happy to be an American. Like Carol, I am waiting for the November mid-term elections to make plans for the future. I don’t want to live here if the overall sentiment of America is that of our current president.

    I certainly understand why you are leaving America and returning to your country. Even as a White person I feel threatened due to all the gun violence and our government’s refusal to do anything to prevent all the senseless killing going on.

    As a Jew I am disgusted by the hate rhetoric and am stunned at the number of Jew haters and the fact they can get on TV and radio and spread their hate. You can’t tell I’m a Jew by looking at me. If I were Black, I’d really feel uneasy just walking down the street of some major American cities. I’m truly sorry you feel this way and I completely understand why you are leaving. Please do understand we are all not racists and that the majority of us are repulsed by what we see happening in our country.

    Like

    • dismasdolben says:

      I am Jewish, too, and I agree with you about the situation in America. However, as Jews who care about human rights in the United States, I feel it is our obligation to do more to promote human rights in Israel, where the governing regime is just as hate-filled toward Palestinians as Americans are toward black folk and Muslims.

      Like

  13. Carol Rizzardi says:

    You are not paranoid. You are prudent.

    I am a retired international teacher, American by passport and white. Yet I share your concern about the way this country treats people of color. To be blunt, we are ashamed and disgusted. We came back to the US to retire and be near grandchildren three years ago and talk almost daily about leaving again. We love our house, and it’s good to be out of storage, but the signs are not good. We see too many parallels to nationalist movements in the past that led to unspeakable crimes against humanity, too many parallels to despots who took their countries down slippery slopes. to fascism. We will make our decision after the November midterms.

    Bon voyage and Bonne chance! Je suis desole pour ma pais.

    Like

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