An Excerpt from Belén Fernández’s “Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World”

Belén Fernández in Black Agenda Report:

Granted, the U.S. was by this point pretty much dead to me, as I had determined from periodic visits that it was in the interest of my sanity to avoid the country altogether. Frida Kahlo once observed: “I find that Americans completely lack sensibility and good taste. They are boring, and they all have faces like unbaked rolls.”And yet this, perhaps, is the least of the problems.

For an introduction to the ills of the tasteless nation, one need go no further than airport passport control, a delightfully criminalizing experience that leaves one with the sneaking suspicion that America’s customs and border agents are in fact not genetically human. Needless to say, the U.S. welcome can be a great deal more traumatic for noncitizens and/or persons suspected of Arab/Muslim identity. I myself can confirm more hospitable reception by immigration personnel everywhere from the Number One State Sponsor of Terrorism to the Number One Producer of Drug Dealers and Rapists.

Before I definitively wrote off the homeland as an acceptable travel destination, obstacles to smooth U.S. entry had ranged from having visited Syria—for which activity the explanation “I have friends in Syria” was deemed insufficient (“Why do you have friends in Syria?”)—to the matter of my inability to answer the question “Where do you live?” in any sort of remotely coherent, less-than-super-sketchy fashion.

More here.

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