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With bigots in the White House, a Republican controlled Congress, a soon-to-be conservative Supreme Court, and an emboldened White Supremacy movement on the rise, could Mexico be Plan B for African Americans?

In a recent televised interview filmmaker Michael Moore lamented the election of Donald Trump. He went through a list of things he felt people needed to do including calling their congressional representative, resistance, and protest. But the last thing he said was, "everyone should have a Plan B."

Meaning, that if all else fails, and the shit hits the fan in the USA, folks should have a plan in place for dealing with that.

It's ironic that Plan B for me (and some others) would include Mexico, the country that President Trump has targeted and vilified.

There are already about 1 million US expats, mostly retirees, now residing throughout Mexico. What's attractive about Mexico City is, African Americans are largely an urban people.

We live and thrive in big cities. We know how to maneuver in big cities. And, though it's a foreign country, most Blacks coming from New York, L.A., Philly, Detroit or any other big town, will come with some built-in street smarts.

Many African American expats would acclimate just fine to Mexico City. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt moving around and amongst Mexicans and their neighborhoods. And for the most part, they paid no attention to me.

But if big city life is not for you at this point in your life, Mexico offers other options.

though any pre-travel research is important.

US PassportHowever, any talk of a Plan B is moot if you don't have a valid US passport. Do you have one? You can not leave the US without a passport. You can not enter a foreign country without a passport.

A US passport is one of the most coveted travel documents in the world. Millions of people would love to have what just about every African American can get, just for the asking.

According to the latest figures from the State Department 36 percent of all Americans held a valid passport in 2016.

They don't break that percentage down by ethnicity, (though they certainly could), but the consensus of other travel sources says that African Americans make up only 3-5 percent of that number because most African Americans don't travel outside of the US.

You don't need to have a trip planned to get a passport. That trip could be years away but you can get a passport now.

There are hoops to jump through: you have to take photos, get your birth certificate, fill out the application, and pay the fee.

However, the payoff is how great you will feel when that little blue book shows up in your mailbox.

It's the ultimate proof of US citizenship and the key that unlocks the door to just about every country in the world for your own Plan B.

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Mexico City










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Mexico City









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Mexico City street scene









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Mexico City










The Angel of Independence Monument, the most significant monument in all of
The Angel of Independence Monument, the most significant monument in all of Mexico. It honors the heroes of the war of independence from Spain.

By Sidney Brinkley

When I was a young man I had one big travel related dream: to live in a foreign country. Not permanently, just for a year or so for the sheer adventure of it. I didn't have a particular country in mind, but at that time it would’ve been somewhere in Europe. I was influenced by tales of James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Josephine Baker, and a host of other Black writers and musicians who left the racism of America to find a new freedom in a foreign land.

Now, an older man, I still have that desire for adventure but retirement is a consideration and needs have changed. It has to be a warm climate, gay friendly, reasonably safe, offer good medical care, good Internet access, a low cost of living and, the biggest change, it has to be a non-white country.

My search included islands in the Caribbean, and a handful of countries in Africa before focusing on South East Asia, specifically Chiang Mai in Thailand, before finally choosing Saigon, in Vietnam.

I spent the better part of 2016 following YouTubers who traveled or lived there. Some were Digital Nomads; a few were Black and I developed a rapport with a couple of them.

However, eventually I nixed South East Asia. It was too far away, the flight was 18 hours, and the language was too difficult to learn. But most important, I didn’t believe it would be a good cultural, or social fit for me.

After months of exhaustive research I was back where I began with no set destination and running out of time with my planned travel dates over the Christmas holidays approaching.

One day I was sitting at my desk and the idea of Mexico materialized out of nowhere. It was not a complete phrase or sentence, not even the word, more like a mental impression: “Mexico”.

That was odd. I’ve never had any interest in visiting Mexico. I’ve been to San Diego several times and not once considered crossing the border into Tijuana. I don’t like sea, sun, or sand and was never interested in the resort areas.

While Mexico does have picturesque colonial towns like San Miguel de Allende, popular with many US expats and about 1.5 million retirees from the US and Canada call Mexico home, I’m big city born and raised. The only place in Mexico I would be interested in was Mexico City, the capital of the country.

At a glance, Mexico City had a lot going for it. It was was close by, just a four hour flight from San Francisco. While I’m far from fluent in Spanish, I am familiar with the language, and what I don’t know would be easy to learn. However, I'd read all the news stories about crime in Mexico; was Mexico City safe?

Bad hombres

From the start of his presidential campaign Donald Trump trashed Mexico and Mexicans. He labeled it a land of murderers, rapists, and all around “bad hombres” that his wall would keep out.

But long before Trump many Americans, African-American and white, displayed a particular hostility towards Mexicans, despite relying on them so heavily for the various jobs they do, and the services they provide.

As a foreigner, I don’t get involved with local politics or issues, but wherever I go I like to have a general knowledge of the social and political climate of a place. I wouldn’t rely on Trump, or the American media, to inform me about the safety of Mexico. For that, I would go to Mexico’s local press.

For weeks I read the online English language editions of Mexico City's newspapers every day. Unlike the US, Mexico has a thriving print journalism industry. About a dozen papers are in Mexico City alone.

There is a great deal of crime in some parts of the country. Much, but certainly not all, is narco-related. The drug cartels present a serious problem for the Mexican government. The most dire predictions say Mexico may become the next Colombia when it was at its worse.

For Mexico City specifically, crime didn’t appear any worse than I would expect for a city with over 20 million inhabitants. Most crime is local and little of it involves foreigners. The capital is safer than some of the resort areas because of a strong and visible police presence, particularly in the main business and tourist areas.

I read nothing that would make me avoid visiting Mexico City altogether and I booked my flight and hotel for a two-week stay.


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