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Should I Go or Should You Stay?

Are You Ready to Blast, Blaxit, or Just Plain Bail?

Societal restrictions, such as mask mandates, social distancing, and vaccine passports are facing a growing backlash as we enter year three of covid-19’s persistent dominion. As we reminisce our old routines, yearning for a return to a sense of normalcy despite vaccination, it all seems eerily fantastical. Even after allowing for our desperate longing to return to the time when we could come and go without a QR code, socialize to the high heavens in tight quarters feeling secure in our surroundings, how can we accept or allow a return to that ubiquitous time of ‘normal’ pre-pandemic? And that’s the rub, isn’t it? The unrelenting fact that for so many Black Americans, what was considered normal before the pandemic, was not working us, and for a very long time at that! We all know it does not take a Rhodes scholar to recognize that income equality, affordable access to quality health care and wage stagnation are real issues for working class Americans, and especially so for the Black American community. Yet, the oligarchy class born of our capitalist ideals and back-room deal making continues to run amok piling on heaps of money for the rich and connected- with a prime example being these last two years where they have received enormous gains off the pain and suffering caused by the pandemic.

So, against this backdrop, what exactly is concerning for the black community now? What specifically drives the most angst for you during these extraordinary times? Fact is, if you were to ask a hundred different people, you would be sure to receive a hundred different answers. I know for me, the reenergized and systematic assaults on minority civil liberties hard fought for and gained during the 60’s civil rights area certainly cloud the landscape for me of hope for a brighter future. With earnest zealotry, the promises that were claimed and sacrificed for during the civil rights area are literally being obliterated right before our eyes.

So, I feel compelled to ask honestly, as a Black American in today’s USA, how prepared do you feel for your future right now? How confident are you about the opportunities that would allow you and your family to prosper in light of stagnant wages and keeping the status quo? What about the pandemic and the rising hard right conservative sentiment tearing away at our country leaving it hardly recognizable? I would also ask this question... Black Americans what would YOU like to experience now that travel is somewhat unrestricted? Perhaps New Life Experiences? New Places? New Cultures? It seems that now is a great time to do some reflecting especially with the ongoing pandemic and all the uncertainty in its aftermath. This is an important time to ponder, if not daydream about a future outside your comfort zone, a more life-affirming lifestyle outside the boundaries of the country of your birth.

The hard stressful life of Black Americans makes it most prudent to consider all options for self-preservation as we strive to reach the ideal of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. That is why it is important, if not critical for our community’s health’s sake, that we strive to have a lifestyle absent the high-level debilitating stress, cultural division, and political partisanship that currently permeates the reality of the USA and drags on everything! What a welcomed scenario it would be to return to that “once upon a time” when respectful debate culminating in bi-partisan cooperation was not considering selling out-but progressing ahead. Unfortunately, even now, tens of millions of Americans are facing what could be a terrible blow for democracy, let alone unity and social change. come the mid-terms elections later this year, Strapped with their only effective and legal tool - their !Vote!, Americans of all stripes across this land should demand a more unified, representative, and constitutionally led government, country, and people!

However, the truth is many Black Americans right now are not waiting for another election day to make a choice as whether to leave or stay. Black folks are starting to get their international travel on. Witnessing a listless agenda after the lukewarm reception of the last presidential election, together with the never-ending assault on voters’ rights, political disenfranchisement and socio-economic disparity, Black America is taking a hard look and making choices against its country that has too many issues negatively impacting our community, our lives. And perhaps now, the only hope for us during these times, is to see our futures brighter beyond the shores of the USA. This would be especially true for black retirees who may be considering retirement destinations. U.S. retirees on a fixed and/or limited income are in a tight spot. Many will or do suffer from the inability to maintain a comfortable lifestyle now in retirement after a lifetime of work and paying taxes. Even more dire is the possibility of an unexpected or lengthy illness that could wipe out the dreams and finances of many retiree’s plans.

You will find many Facebook travel groups that focus on black travelers across all age groups and demographics espousing the benefits of international travel. I would also espouse that there is ample reason for a movement of black emigration for health and safety, just to name a couple of low hanging fruit. More and more Facebook groups such as “Blaxit”, “Get Out” and Black America Retire Abroad engage new members weekly by the hundreds as they seek out information, advice, and of course, spirit of camaraderie during these incredulous times.

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Michael Kirkland
Michael Kirkland
Feb 17, 2022

Extremely real talk.

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