Passport Privilege is Real – BONUS Episode 6 of Rants & Randomness

Welcome to Rants and Randomness! This week, we’re talking about passport privilege: the freedom to travel where you want, when you want, without worrying about your nationality.

Download BONUS Episode 6 Transcript

Like many Americans, I’ve had the luxury of flying around the world with a U.S. passport. But for millions of international travelers, the process of applying and getting approved for visas is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. You can learn more about my experience as a dual citizen, and hear stories from other globetrotters, by listening to this episode.

I just got back from a business trip to Barcelona, where I passed through customs in less than five minutes. And that made me think about passport privilege – the ability to get in to (and out of) foreign countries because of your nationality.

So I did some research on the world’s most powerful passports. According to CNN Travel:

  • A Japanese passport will give you access to 190 countries
  • A French passport will give you access to 188 countries
  • A U.S. or U.K. passport will give you access to 185

On the flip side, a Palestinian passport will only give you access to 39 countries; a Somalian passport will give you access to 32. And travelers with an Afghan or Iraqi passport can only travel to 30 countries without getting a visa. Just 30, out of 195 recognized nations around the world.

Y’all, this is WRONG. Your opportunities shouldn’t be limited by the country that you were born in; the color of your passport shouldn’t shape the most important moments of your life. But it does, and if racial and ethnic discrimination can affect the way that you are treated at home, your national origin will always affect the way that you are treated at the border.

In this episode, I share real stories about the dark side of international travel, from a man who has been repeatedly detained because he holds a Liberian passport to a Ghanaian mother who wasn’t allowed to attend her son’s wedding. Here are some things that you can do to balance the scales:

Get Your Passport
Let’s be real – most Americans don’t have passports, travel to other countries, or book international flights every year. But there are people who have walked across deserts and crossed oceans in inflatable boats to enter this country; there are people who have died to try to become U.S. citizens. So get your passport, because the simple act of carrying one is a sign of respect to those who wish they could have one of their own.

Plus, it will give you the opportunity to see more of the world. To meet new people and experience other cultures, in countries where passport privilege doesn’t come as easily.

Speak Up
And when you travel, you’ll deal with these situations first-hand. When you see that someone else is suffering from passport discrimination, speak up! There are safe ways to be an advocate without compromising your own status at the border – listen to the podcast to learn more.

You can listen in to this episode here on the site or through one of the podcast platforms linked below.

Download BONUS Episode 6 Transcript

As always, much love to Chicago Recording Company, where I record each episode!

Make sure you’re subscribed and that you rate and review! Also, use the hashtag #RantsandRandomness on social media to discuss what you listen to and let me know what you think. See you on the next episode!

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