I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself. ~ James Baldwin
And I always do just that when I travel: encounter myself. I’ve been doing it for as long as I could remember. First, as a child shuttling back and forth from the Dominican Republic, New York City, and the Bay Area to visit with family. And later, as an adult to as many places as I could afford or hustle a trip to on someone else’s dime. Like kismet, no matter how far I’ve ventured ever since, I always managed to discover something new about myself in the process. My traveling experience is only made richer when I globe-trot with my 12-year-old daughter in tow. It’s mind-blowing seeing the world through her eyes and, specifically, how it’s shaping her spiritual and political self. She uses what she’s seen abroad to inform the (mostly good) choices she makes back at home in New York. That’s invaluable.
I think being a daughter of Dominican immigrants shaped my world viewpoint. It’s made me globally empathetic. As a person of color, traveling has been empowering. And maybe because of it, I have had the ability to blend in as a citizen of the world and really experience my surroundings, for better and worse. More Americans should consider traveling, especially to the so-called Third World, to see firsthand how our policies have impacted others. Newt Gingrich, a narrow-minded elitist and unwise American man recently said something hella dangerous: “I am not a citizen of the world. I think the entire concept is intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous!” In context, he was dissing President Obama’s recent Mid-East and European tour. Gingrich’s thinking kind of sums up his sugar daddy G-Dub’s worldview. This is how I imagine Cheney stepping to leaders all over the world: “Fuck what you think dawg and stand back while I rape your natural resources in the ass. If you don’t comply I will slap the Axis of Evil sticker on you, son. You best give up that oil or I’ll shoot you in the face with my hunting rifle and not apologize later.” That’s basically the skinny on why we’ve amassed so many haters.
Gingrich’s view on our global community, to quote one of my Bulgarian homegirls, is “smashingly ignorant.” It’s ass backwards. And if you think about it, it’s crazy un-American.
Now, to the task at hand. Tomorrow’s “Piecebook Battle” at the Cartier Foundation, hosted by Sacha Jenkins and David “Chino” Villorente. In it, about two dozen or so grafitti and street artists will have an hour and a half to draw a masterpiece in their piece books. Thereafter, the top four will have several hours to transfer what they did in their books onto canvas. I’m looking forward to it.