“African Americans discover the New World”, was the theme of discussion that took place Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 7p.m. at Borders bookstore on Appalachee Parkway in honor of Black history month.
The discussion was set-up right in the heart of Borders. The audience and panel were surrounded by books giving them the humble symbolic gesture that they were surrounded by knowledge.
If it is knowledge that the participants were looking for, it is knowledge that they received throughout the entire discussion lead by Dr. Patricia Stith, Daniel Gillion, and professor Pat Ward
Williams and Twanna Hines shared their experiences as African-Americans living abroad in such countries as London, South Africa, Spain, Ghana and in the cases of Dr. Stith and professor Williams teaching abroad also. 1
The audience was made up of people from all walks of life. The notable panel of African-Americans felt it was critical for people; specifically African-Americans to know of other minorities and their culture.
” I think it is important to help us get a better perspective of the different type of cultures of other blacks in other countries that have not been through the black experience that we have experienced here.
“You know, the major experience of slavery, I don’t think the blacks of Spain or other blacks pretty much in London and Paris have experienced that, so to see how they react towards conversation such as racism and to see how they deal with it I think it is very imperative, ” said Daniel Gillion, a senior at FSU majoring in International Affairs from Fort Lauderdale.
Gillion lived in Spain for a year where he was completely immersed in the culture and can now speak Spanish fluently.
The speakers showed the audience that African-Americans who travel abroad come away with a more profound perspective and better understanding not only of the world they live in but of themselves as individuals.
The speakers also spoke extensively on how African-Americans that have traveled to places like South America, Europe, and Africa get a chance to see the political, social, and economic make-up of these countries and to experience how they differ from the United States.
Stith who will be teaching “People of color in Western Europe”, at the FSU London Study Center this upcoming fall said, “It is important to for blacks in the United States to find out how other people live”.
Dr Stith went on to say, ” To know that you have something in common with other people like you helps you to feel at home and it helps you to understand that we are all one”.
Dr. Stitch shared her experience on living in Europe and discussed the unique contributions that blacks have made to European culture.
Twanna Hines, marketing and recruiting coordinator for FSU and moderator of the discussion, believes that it is critical for African-Americans to know about other blacks and there culture and to know we as blacks share the same experiences no matter where we are.
“It is incredibly important, because number one you have to remember that people of color are the vast majority of people of this world. So I think getting out of the United States and seeing that for oneself does something to you that you just can’t put into words,” Hines said.
Hines also joined the discussion by talking about her experiences on traveling abroad in Europe and initiated what advantages people specifically African-Americans can gain buy traveling abroad.
“It is incredibly good to have if you are going on the job market. But not only that in today’s work force you are extremely at an advantage if you know a foreign language. You cant learn it unless by living there. ” Hines said.