I read your story and then listened to your podcast about moving to America. While I can never fully understand the difficulty faced by immigrants in general and what it is like to be a black person in this country, I have two stories to share with you.
The first is about a Vietnamese girl that used to take tennis lessons from me back in the 1980s. She was playing for her high school team and hoped to get a tennis scholarship for college. She seemed like an average teenager, and spoke like a Valley girl. After I got to know her, she told me that she and her family were members of the Boat People who had to escape her country after the fall of Saigon in 1975. They were attacked by pirates, captured by some government’s navy and then put in an internment camp. Somehow, they finally were freed and made their way to the United States.
Ten years later, you would never know from meeting her that she had endure all that trauma as a child. Maybe living here in Los Angeles made the transition easier because this is one of the most diverse cities in the world.
I hope you will find a community that accepts you and helps you make the transition to feeling more like a real American.
My definition of being a real American is, of course, quite different than the hatred spewed by so many ignorant people. That little Vietnamese girl — or anyone with the courage and drive to make it here — is more of an American that the xenophobic idiots jabbering away on talk radio.
The second story is just a small reminder of the humanity we all share.
Know that you are not alone. I’ve had the exact same thought you had while flying at 30,000 feet in a tiny airplane lavatory. And I’m sure millions of other people have had the same thought.
Bienvenue, et bonne chance.