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LEVEL
Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Travel

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When a hiking trip goes wrong, assuming the worst about people does no one any good

A sign on the Centennial trail that reads: Do Not Enter, Dangerous Overlook.
A sign on the Centennial trail that reads: Do Not Enter, Dangerous Overlook.
Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

I’d loaded my pack and set out on a hike into the Black Hills to clear my head. I was 955 miles into that spiritual journey when I got lost.


Anti-Blackness is global

“I began to wistfully imagine myself living in the City of Lights. Unencumbered by the constant stress of American racism, I’d finally be able to live life to the fullest. I’d join the ranks of Black icons like Josephine Baker and James Baldwin, hobnobbing with Parisian intelligentsia and the woke jet set. I’d eat a chocolate croissant every single day.


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

The unthinkable already happened once, you think it can’t happen again?

Photo: NurPhoto/Getty Images

5. Germany

With Berlin a longtime hotbed for Black artists comin outta left field — not to mention the near nonexistent homelessness rate, or the fact they got the Covid-19 shit figured out with the quickness — makes this an easy escape.

4. New Zealand

The sightseeing alone is worth a trek to the other end of the world. Are there weird man-sized bats? Absolutely. Billionaires building apocalypse bunkers? Sure. But it’s also one of the least densely populated countries in the world — so there’s still plenty of space between the hollow-mountain compounds. (Plus, Taika Waititi can make a damn movie.)

3. Argentina

We don’t know…


My Blackness put me in a position to been seen as inhuman — and my Americanness forced me to accept it

A Black man running his hand through his hair.
A Black man running his hand through his hair.
Photo: Eric Raptosh Photography/Getty Images

I last got my hair cut in March 2018, one and a half years before I first began my four-month stay in Vietnam. My hair is coarse and nappy. It’s untamed and sprawls out everywhere, but I like it that way because it lets me accept my Blackness in its natural state.


My silence that day haunts me still.

Photo: AMR Image/Getty Images

Random acts of kindness have been the hallmark of my life for as long as I can recall.


Growing up in Cameroon, I believed America was the only dream. But the reality is much more complicated.

Photo: NoSystem images/Getty Images

As a kid, I always knew I’d leave Cameroon to pursue my education. My older cousins had left, and talks about higher education in the country were hopeless. I was the firstborn son, so it only made sense that my parents would go into debt, borrow from “ndjangui houses (community credit unions), and find a way for me to join my cousins in Germany or the U.S.


Tourists need to stay away from Puerto Rico during these uncertain coronavirus times

Tourists on a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico in defiance of a coronavirus stay-at-home order on March 21, 2020. Photo: RICARDO ARDUENGO/Getty

Puerto Rico under quarantine is not so different from Puerto Rico on a regular day. Thick, pillowy clouds tumble over themselves just above the horizon. The sun beats down with unrelenting heat, bronzing skin and fading paint on houses. Giant, tapering palms sway in the gentle trade winds. But over it all, a pervasive sense of emptiness descends.


This is for the ones who’ve been here and don’t plan on leaving, no matter what the tech-boom money says

I’m not an Oakland native.


Clothes no longer make the man — as long as both are clean

Photo: Andreas Stamm/Getty Images

If I could turn back time and change three things, I know exactly what they’d be. First, I would have come out sooner — probably during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years at the University of Florida. (Though “why then” is a story for another piece entirely.) Secondly, I would have cared less about what others thought about me. And finally, I would have reconsidered my entire approach to footwear.

LEVEL

Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

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