IFG UPDATE: February 10

This week we looked back at our 3 R’s—the idea initially introduced in the TED Talk that we watched at orientation—to examine where we see ourselves as locals after one month in Spain.

Specifically, we focused on the third R, our Restrictions. Today we leave you with some resources, tools and exercises to further examine how we may not feel fully at home where we are.

Moreover, we want to continue to consider how others may not feel fully at home where they are.

In doing so we can begin to better understand the context and impact of all of our experiences and recognize our common humanity. Through this understanding we can also begin to move away from our “natural default-setting“.

– Genesis & Chris




How powerful is your passport? Here are the 2016 rankings

“A new ranking has revealed which nations have the most powerful passports. Passport Index ranks our travel documents by measuring the number of countries that can be visited without applying for a visa. 

The 2016 ranking puts Germany and Sweden at the top of the passport league. Holders of German and Swedish passports can visit 158 countries without the need to apply for a visa.”


Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?

“In the lexicon of human migration there are still hierarchical words, created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else. One of those remnants is the word ‘expat’. 

What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, ‘an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’)’. 

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.”


A vueltas con “la manta”: sobre racismo institucional y políticas públicas más allá de cambiar los problemas de sitio

“La ciudadanía que trabaja en “la manta” lo hace evidentemente porque no tiene alternativa. El enfoque policial ha mostrado su ineficacia en este caso a lo largo de los años, sin reducir la población “mantera” ni mejorar sus condiciones de vida. Una  medida así es tan útil para acabar con la venta irregular como intentar acabar a golpe de multa con quien rebusca en la basura para comer. Las multas a quienes trabajan en “la manta” tienen un único efecto: mantenerles en condiciones de ilegalidad dificultando su progresión a empleos regulados fuera del circuito de la venta ambulante y contribuir a la posible criminalización de un sector de la población.”



The Difficult Art of Self-Compassion

“…even the most compassionate among us have one sizable blind spot: the self. Our culture’s epidemic of self-criticism has left us woefully unskilled at self-compassion — that essential anchor of sanity, which both grounds and elevates our spirit.

In this short, immensely helpful exercise, The School of Life offers a daily self-compassion practice so simple that cynics might mistake it for simplistic — and yet out of its simplicity arises a profound reorientation to our own selves.”

Ask yourself

How have I continued to practice kindness towards myself and others?


Smiling Mind

  • Another way to practice mindfulness at home or on the go—download the app to have it with you wherever you are.


  • Still trying to figure out what to do on those cercanías and metro rides? Use Pocket to save articles and read them offline at your convenience. Also offers recommended reading based on trends and your interests.

Way of Life

  • A great resource if you want to break bad habits, build good ones, or simply incorporate a few more rituals into your day as you work to become a local. Daily check-ins on the habits, routines, or rituals of your choice to track your progress over time.

Upcoming Events

From Slavery to Prison: The Fight for Black Justice

  • Black Lives Matter Madrid and Democrats Abroad will be hosting a presentation and discussion about the U.S. prison industrial complex, its history, and its devastating consequences particularly in the Black community.

February 19th from 18-20

Variopintos (Calle San Jerónimo, 5).

Genesis Recommends for SOC

Melanin Madrid

  • Facebook group that organizes social and networking events for the Black community in Madrid. It is also a place to ask for advice and share ideas.

black and (A)broad: traveling beyond the limitations of identity

  • The book ‘black and (A)broad: inspiration to travel beyond the limitations of identity’ by Carolyn Vines, is both entertaining and relatable. Ms. Vines, a Washington D.C. native, writes of her journey from New Orleans, LA (where she lived for a year), to Holland with her Dutch boyfriend (now husband). Ms. Vine’s stories of living in Spain, honeymooning in Cuba, and getting lost in Holland will make you laugh, and realize that you are NOT alone! Being black in another country is something we are all going through. You will laugh, and you will cry, but you either make it work or go home. Which does Ms. Vines choose? You’ll have to read her story to find out.” (Las Morenas de España)

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