PS: I have one more question. You live in Sydney now. I'm wondering, how has your understanding of being Black in America changed after taking space and now living in Australia, a new white world to find Blackness in?
CB: You know, that's a funny question, because it really is interesting coming there as a Black person, because this is a white world in a very different way. It's truly a white world: there's not many Black people here. Very small Black population, very small Indigenous population at this point. And the understanding of race is different here. I remember, you know I came here for a job, and on the first day, we were in some diversity training. And to make a point, they said to list the races of your 10 closest friends. And I listed Black, white, Black, white, Black, white, and I was the only person in a room full of, like, 50 people to do that. Everyone else listed nationalities: Italian, Vietnamese. And when the announcer grabbed my card, they said, no, we don't even talk about race in that way in this place; you need to understand that it's just different here.
"There is absolutely nothing universal about our American understanding of Black and white."
This is all to say, what it did is underscore how this stuff is just constructed! [laughs] I mean, how this stuff is just a totally imaginary, made-up way to divide people. There is absolutely nothing universal about our American understanding of Black and white. For instance, if you're walking down the street and you're referring to a Black person in Australia, you're referring to an Indigenous person, not an African American. That terminology only bears meaning in a particular context, which is now clear to me.