Difficult to live in Europe, among many other reasons…

I’ve been living in the USA for two and a half years. My wife showed me an article about a black woman, Nadia Crevecoeur, who tried to live in Europe but eventually returned to the USA, feeling misunderstood and tired of explaining her identity as a black woman of Haitian origin, born in the USA and not speaking Creole. Most Europeans who haven’t lived abroad cannot grasp this notion. For others, they are well aware of the binary mindset imposed in Europe, which hinders the understanding of certain concepts, such as racial identity, which Europeans prefer to gloss over rather than acknowledge and discuss openly.

This certainly touches on a crucial difference between Europe and the USA. The history of the USA is one of migrants from everywhere, and this remains true today. Racial differences are seen here as assets that are not hidden. Here, people are seen for who they are; there’s no pretense, unlike in Europe, which is steeped in certainties and seeks to impose its views on others. Hence, the misunderstandings for Nadia Crevecoeur and her feeling of forever being an outsider – not fully accepted as a black woman in Europe.

Conversely, for a European, it is much easier to integrate into the USA, where there’s always someone willing to listen, even if you don’t speak the language fluently. You won’t find many people contradicting you when you explain your origins; here, people listen and respect each other’s complexities. Europe is more of an “us versus them” mentality with a belief in a singular way of thinking, making some things inconceivable or incomprehensible to Europeans. I’ve witnessed discussions between Americans and Europeans myself, with Americans explaining facts about their culture or country, only to be systematically contradicted by Europeans who think they know everything.

It’s even more absurd because the first thing you feel when setting foot on American soil is the vastness and the diverse faces you encounter everywhere. If you have a brain, you quickly realize that no European certainty on the subject can hold up against this reality.

I’m happy to encounter people with strong identities, whether they’re black or otherwise. Each person carries their history, and simply by being present, they tell a part of themselves. How absurd it is to want to erase an identity, to not take the time to listen. For me, it’s for the same reasons that I don’t miss Europe—not because I’m black, but because I’m proud, which in Europe is not something you can assert without wasting time explaining yourself to people whose incomprehension will eventually leave you feeling depressed. And beyond all that, finding well-educated people here, respectful of others and with a sense of private property—these little things that have been disappearing in Europe for years. In fact, if you have a strong personality, it’s better to live in the USA than in Europe, where conformity is the norm.

Read the article about Nadia Crevecoeur on Business Insider!

Thierry de Clemensat

Editor in chief

Bayou Blue Radio/Bayou Blue News