Hello, how are you doing? I’ve been thinking about racism while traveling. Have you experienced it? Were you scared?
My mom was Mexican-American, and my dad was white. I appear white. We had a tense moment or two when I was in jr high and my family visited Missouri, where my dad’s side of the family had some folx residing. My mom got scared how some white men were looking at us.
As for present time, it’s not me I’m talking about–it’s my POC spouse Ming. When I’m traveling with Ming, he is perceived as Asian or Native American. Either way, we feel not that safe when white people are nasty to us.
It can be hard to tell what’s just broadcast hatred of outsiders vs what’s actually racism, for the daily small things. Xenophobia is common. But Ming’s brownness is a factor, and travel is exhausting enough. Racism while traveling is way too much work.
I would like a functional culture. Can we have a healed, functional culture now? I’ve been working on it, but too few people are working on it. Me and some famous writers and influencers. Some academics and orgs. But it’s taking way too long.
I wish we were all working on it, facing reality, together and apart, in all sorts of ways.
what I learned
“I would like to tell you something,” I told Ming. “Can I tell you something?”
We were at an airbnb, and he was sitting at the table, writing something down. “Yes,” he said.
“Ok, this is what I learned,” I said. “I used to think that when you travel somewhere, you should go the shortest route. Then we drove through Idaho!”
Ming listened to me attentively.
“Now I know, when you travel somewhere, you should go the safest route for you,” I said. “That means I will never go south through Idaho again. If we ever go back to Montana, we will leave the west coast, travel east to Montana, then head west directly back to Washington. Do not pass go, do not collect $200!”
“Yeah!” Ming heard me.
I love Ming and I love our little family. Any person anywhere can be violent, racist, scary. But I want to spend my life not fearing for our safety, because of racism while traveling.
There’s a lot I want to do for the world and in the world. But kicking against the pricks is exhausting and not productive.
Speaking of culture! Here’s cute Ming in the trailer we stay in, here in Oregon. He’s about to eat gifelte fish with canned green chiles from a food bank as seasoning. He enjoyed this meal.
A friend shared this link to a Black traveling business wayoutdoors.org. I’m interested.