Chris Rock summed up the black experience in the United States kind of perfectly during his HBO special Never Scared more than a decade ago: “If you’re black, you got to look at America a little bit different,” he joked, stone-faced. “You got to look at America like the uncle who paid for you to go to college but who molested you.”
Since then, that “generous” uncle has moved from molesting to killing, with the list of victims growing by the day: the Charleston 9. Freddie Gray. Michael Brown. Rekia Boyd. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. John Crawford III. Yuvette Henderson. Trayvon Martin.
Now, with only seconds left on the clock for that one person inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to consistently fight for some critical black issues—from universal health care and clemency for nonviolent drug offenders to the overall improvement of black male lives—pre-election jitters might be setting in, and some African Americans may want out.
But where do you move outside the good ol’ U.S. of A. to fulfill the type of vision you have for yourself and your family, where you can be as black as you want to be without fearing for your safety? Where, literally on earth, can you go and maintain—or even enhance—the kind of lifestyle you’re accustomed to, from robust career opportunities to world-class health care?
Turns out that the options—give or take a potential visa drama or two—have expanded far beyond traditional European go-to spots, like London and Paris. We hollered at our friends over at the Nomadness Travel Tribe (their Facebook page has become a hub for black expats) to come up with a list of five destinations black people can escape to if America doesn’t work out.
Please note, however: No country is an across-the-board utopia, particularly as it pertains to race, and each expat experience is ultimately an individual one. The following is a roundup of places beyond the U.S. and the rest of the world’s 17 largest African Diaspora locations (e.g., Brazil, Cuba and most of the Caribbean) that generally score high points among our melanin-enhanced brothers and sisters, in no particular order.
It’s not hard to feel right at home in Thailand. From its beautiful, tropical weather; low cost of living (in Chiang Mai, a rented two-bedroom home goes for about $500 a month); and access to high-quality medical care (in Ko Samui, it’s just $20 for a basic doctor’s visit), it’s altogether possible for the investment-minded among us to maintain residences in the heart of Southeast Asia as well as back at home.
Plus, the Thai come by their reputation for being among the world’s kindest people honestly; as a majority-Buddhist country, their literal attitude is to be kind always. This means that outside of the occasional, innocent staring (depending on how far beyond touristy areas like Bangkok or Phuket you travel), African Americans generally report receiving the red-carpet treatment (although plenty of African immigrants, who tend to work in large numbers there, report otherwise).