But they can, and they are

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Photo by My Networking Apparel on Unsplash

Be honest, when you think of Switzerland, what comes to mind? Most probably, mountains, skiing, chocolate, cheese, and white-blond Heidis. Yes, that’s the image that most people have in their heads when they think of Switzerland. So when I, a black woman, say that I am Swiss, most people don’t believe me. They say, “But you can’t be, black people, can’t be Swiss”.

The reality is that I’ve lived here for almost all of my life, and yes, I am a proud Swiss citizen. I love this country, it is truly magnificent. From the…


Like guardian angels, they have helped me along the way

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Photo by Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash

I was in the 12th grade. My white sociology teacher handed me back my first test since I’d started his class. I rushed through the pages to see my score. There at the bottom of the last page was an “A”. It was the first time in my life I’d ever gotten an A. I was 17 years old, I beamed with pride. That was the first time in my life that a teacher made me feel I could be successful. I’d spent years in that school — in between…


We can tell within the first minute of meeting you

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Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

So yes, within 60 seconds of meeting you, most black people can tell whether you are racist or not. Here are some of the telltale signs:

The way you look at us. Some white people are just plain scared when they meet a black person. Guess what, it shows. We can see it on your faces, we can feel it from a mile off. You see, nonverbal cues — the subconscious involuntary signals that your body sends out are about 80 percent of the message you emit. …


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Photo by Marivi Pazos on Unsplash

So yeah, it’s taken them a while, but now they’re here. After about 8 months of writing about racism in Switzerland, the Swiss trolls have finally come for me, and like their global counterparts, they’re aiming for the jugular. But maybe they don’t realize what they are up against, my sheer determination and perseverance. I don’t back down.

You see, the racism I have faced here all of my life, has endowed me with resilience, fortitude, and endurance. I’m here for the long run. I’ve got a ton of antiracism marathons left in me, I will not be bullied or…


And that in itself is problematic

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Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

As a young child, I was lucky to move to Switzerland in 1980 when my mother, an electrical engineer was offered a job at the International Labour Office. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity she couldn’t turn down, and in September 1980, we arrived in Geneva. I was 9 at the time, and all I thought of was how much milk chocolate, cornflakes, and apples I was going to be able to eat during her 2-year term. Two years turned to four and then to ten and then twenty, and now a lifetime. …


A lot of talk and no action. Are we really surprised?

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

2021 is well upon us and as is always the case, May will soon be around the corner. I expect that it will be packed full of performative activism commemorating George Floyd’s murder the year before. As an antiracism writer, I have analyzed many of the Black Lives Matter commitments made by individuals and corporations in the wake of his death, I have come to one singular conclusion: not much has changed.

If I was cynical, I would say that for many, Black Lives Matter is a public relations stunt or a trend — and the very definition of this…


People constantly question your abilities when you are black

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Photo by Caique Silva on Unsplash

I learned how to drive later on in life. With the excellent public transportation system here in Geneva, Switzerland, I didn’t really need a driver’s license. When I got pregnant, I decided it might be useful to get my license so as not to haul around a pram on public transportation day in day out. Driving lessons being extremely expensive in Switzerland, my husband and I agreed that I would take a few lessons with a certified instructor and then practice with him. It seemed like a good plan until my first class.

The instructor came to pick me up…


Many kidnapped Africans returned to Africa after the trauma of slavery

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Photo by Raashid Ahamed on Unsplash

My grandmother’s father used to tell her, that his father descended from the Maroons, a strong, fierce, courageous, and fearless people who had made their way from the slave plantations of America, the Caribbean, and South America back to Africa. Some braved the Underground Railroad, made their way up to Nova Scotia in Canada, and boarded a ship back to Africa. …


Why don’t they love black girls here?

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Photo by Tanalee Youngblood on Unsplash

It was Valentine’s Day and I was in the 7th grade. I was trying to focus in English class when a scrunched ball of paper hit the back of my head. I bent down to pick it up, looking around to see if I could figure out which one of my racist classmates had thrown it my way. Their faces were white, blank, innocent like little Cherubin angels but I knew that behind the facade, they were devious demons vicious, uncaring, and unkind.

I opened up the piece of paper, my hands trembling, my heart bracing itself for the painful…


In some places, black folks are simply not welcome

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Photo credit: Jakob Owens for Unsplash

My husband is white and I am black. When I got pregnant, we decided to move to the countryside. We wanted a house with a garden and rent out there was much cheaper. We found a beautiful farmhouse right out of a Town & Country magazine, about 20 kilometers outside Geneva, Switzerland. It wasn’t far from where the singer and the Genesis band drummer Phil Collins lived.

The farmhouse was rustic and spacious, with a cozy feel to it. There were numerous hiking trails in the vicinity, and I could already see myself rolling in the hay and living the…

Rebecca Stevens A.

I write about racism, but there are so many other things I would like to write about instead. Help me dismantle racism so that I can get to that.

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