Jessica Meyers, a CUPA aluma who is currently pursuing her Master’s of City Planning at MIT, recently launched a… read more
Published: August 24th, 2016
Mariah Phillips, CUPA alumna from 2012-2013, recently published an article on Elle.com. In “My Surreal Existence As a Black American Woman In Paris”, Mariah, writing under the nom de plume Bunny Aubert, explores the liminal experience of being both Black and American in France.
Here is a short excerpt :
“Still, it’s a strange feeling being a Black American in Paris. Pursuing my Master’s degree in film, I moved back here at the end of August, having already braved a yearlong stint in Paris three years ago. This time, though, I’m settling in for the long haul.
When I announced my move to the City of Lights, nearly everyone mentioned Josephine Baker, perhaps the most prominent example of a Black woman surrendering to la vie française. Older Black women nodded their heads and murmured, “Oh, they love us there,” in approval.
Yet, it isn’t quite that simple. Many of the nation’s immigrants come from France’s formerly colonized countries in North and West Africa. While often quick to condemn American racism, many French people hold on to their stereotypes and prejudices. In my experience, these prejudices tend to suddenly no longer apply once they learn I’m American. As Janet McDonald says in a 2000 episode of This American Life, it’s an uncomfortable feeling to constantly walk this line, something she compares to being “an honorary White in apartheid South Africa.” It’s not exactly the Paris of Josephine Baker or even James Baldwin.”