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  Österreich | 12.10.2007 | 15:06   

 
 
Being a Black Woman in Europe
  By Adrianne George - Guest writer at FM4 and award-winning blogger: blackwomenineurope.blogspot.com


People ask me why I left the US to live in Europe. I had Josephine Baker dreams.
I wanted to make my mark in an environment that nurtured Black Women.
Well I can't say that Paris is that place, but I do know that Rama Yade is making her mark on French society through her political achievements in the Sarkozy vein.
 Adrianne George, Washington DC native, resident of Halmstad, Sweden
 
 
  I never lived in Paris. In fact my first trip to Europe was to London where I eventually lived for 6 months. Not a lifetime, but long enough to know that London is cool, Europe is cool, and it's OK to be a Black Woman in Europe. I have a friend in London who told me that the security guards follow her around in stores. I told her that has
happened to me in the States. African players have been been harassed on football pitches, a Black Woman was killed on the streets in Belgium just for being black.

 Rama Yade, State Secretary in charge of foreign affairs and human rights, France
 
 
  A Black Woman was tortured in West Virginia in the US and called the "n" word (that's nigger, in case you didn't know). Black teens are charged as adults more often than whites are in the States. All too often Black Women in Europe are denied access to the labour market because
they are immigrants. It's not better for those who were born and raised in Europe.

So why did I leave the US to live in Europe when being a Black Woman is precarious in both places?
Believe it or not I breathe easier in Europe. I like the emphasis on work and life balance.
I like the idea of social medicine although I don't always like it in practice.
I like the fact that as an American, I am considered just that, first and foremost.
For better or worse that means something. People respect my work ethic. They remember the Civil Rights Movement. They see Beyonce on MTV. They appreciate Jazz and Blues and Gospel music. Hip Hop culture is a worldwide phenomenon.

 Zeedah Meierhofer Mangeli, Director of the Meeting Place and Resource Center for Black Women in Zurich, Switzerland.
 
 
Brenda King, President of the Specialized Section "Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship" of the European Economic and Social Committee. She commutes to Brussels from the UK.
 
 
  Don't get me wrong, the US is my home. I am just a resident of Europe, Sweden to be exact.
I love going home to be with my family and friends. I love the warm and genuine hugs I get.
I love the easy laughter. I love being able to buy my make up, skin and hair care products at decent prices. I love being able to buy the food I grew up on. I love being able to have meals that bring my grandmother to mind. I love being in an environment in which I can blend in.

But being a Black Woman in Europe is a wonderful thing. We are everywhere. If you look closely enough you'll see us in all strands of society here. We are proud, determined, resilient, versatile, generous, insightful, witty and quite clever.

 Nyamko Ana Sabuni, Swedish Minister for Integration and Gender Equality, first person of African descent to be appointed as Minister in a Swedish government.
 
 
Diane Abbott, the first black woman ever elected to the British Parliament. And Beatrice Achaleke, Director of AFRA, International Center for Black Women's Perspectives, Austria
 
 
Reality Check
  Hear Adrianne George and her views on life as an African American woman in Europe plus insights on changing political, cultural, and social dynamics from the inside-out:

"I Am From Here - Black Women in Europe", Saturday the 13th of Oct., as of 12 midday, with Riem Higazi ... podcast available shortly after broadcast.

 
fm4 links
  fm4.orf.at/podcast
   
 
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