Citizen of the World: Paris

I met a lot of people in Europe.  I even encountered myself.  ~ James Baldwin

james_baldwin_parisAnd 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.

Piecebook Battle

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.

Comments 7

  1. Pingback: Michael Jackson Memorial: Paris Jackson Speaks, Says Goodbye To …

  2. paris is a trip. i’ve had some epic times there. shot a film there with my cousin Electra, like five years ago. it’s been super back burnered, but coming fawad soon. also had hella racist encounters there. mostly because most black folks in paris are on some shakey paper situations because it’s so hard to become a french citizen. so the immigrant population is treated like shit, openly… like some dude coming up to me and my cousin saying, “Paris es pour les Blanqs, ne pas pour les Noirs!” (Paris is for the whites, not for the blacks!) i looked at my cousin and said, “doesn’t he know i will knock his ass out?” she said, “no, he thinks we’re immigrants who are too worried about their papers to react.” i told him to fuck off and let him walk away un smacked, but it was a real awakening moment… i hope your stay there is free of any bullshit. big up Senegal, big up Algeria, big up Haiti, big up Martinique, big up Guadalupe, Big up Central Africa, Big up the Kongo, big up Rwanda, Big up Ivory Coast, Big up Burkina Faso… Thomas Sankara lives.

  3. Just breathe and take it all in. Eat the fish, throw away the bones. Only seek the beauty and that’s what you shall find.
    Love and guidance. Safe and glorious travels.

  4. good post. I hope to get to the point where I’m encountering myself on an international level, but I feel that way anytime I travel outside of my city. People need to experience things more, go outside their comfort zones and really SEE things.

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