Episode 9: Stephanie Taderera and Astrid Chitou - "Black. African.Third Culture Kid."

From 2014-2016, Amanda Bates co-led a Twitter community with Ellen Mahoney of Sea Change Mentoring called TCKChat.  As former third culture kids, it was a vibrant online community of adult TCK from the around the world to share their experiences of growing up across different borders and its impact on a range of issues.

You may not know this but one of the inspirations for The Black Expat, was TCKchat.  As a founder and a moderator, Amanda saw the conversations that were happening with the hashtag and the nuances as it related to race and nationality.

In this episode, you’ll meet two women who were very much part of that community. Both who are Black, African and TCKs. Stephanie Taderera, who was a moderator throughout most of its run, is an adult TCK from Zimbabwe. She spent her childhood in Malawi, France, Ethiopia, Eritrea as well as her native country while her father worked in the oil and gas industry.  Astrid Chitou, who is Senegalese, spent her childhood in multiple African countries as result of her father’s employment with the United Nations. 

Both have had their lives shaped by the international mobility they experienced as children. They discuss identity, privilege,  class, international schools and more as from a Black African perspective.

Below are some excerpts from Amanda’s conversation with Stephanie and Astrid.  

You can listen to the full episode wherever you get your podcasts. You can also listen on the  The Black Expat YouTube Channel . 

Learning the Native Tongue

Immediately, you can tell if someone speaks or doesn’t speak. And there already are expectations that you are supposed to be one of us. Therefore, you are supposed to be speaking [a certain way]. So it becomes a point of friction, even when you try. ... And you can never be enough. You can never play the part well enough. You might as well just be you. You can try your best, with the best of intentions. And someone will still say to you, “Ugh, you pronounced that word wrong”.

Transitioning to life beyond the International School

My parents didn’t know how to navigate the [Western] system. They trusted that the [school] counselors would be able to help me understand what was up. My counselors did a good job at telling me what you need to do and where to apply. All the processes type of stuff. But no one told me how to navigate white spaces. I suppose they may have assumed that maybe I already knew about that experience or just maybe they didn’t think about it, period. Unless you are from a minority or marginalized group, you don’t think about what it’s like to operate in these different spaces, which for you, are the norm.

Watching Father Navigate as a Black Professional

I think things got worse as my dad rose in his career. You could feel the sense, more and more, that there were very few [Black professionals] at the top and it was a very precarious position even to be in. My dad would come home often, talking about ways he had to assert something about his Blackness or his expertise. Because there were certain ways that people would just see a Black man in the room and make certain assumptions about who this person is, what their value is, what their expertise is, and whether they have a right to be in the room.

To hear the full episode, click below or listen wherever you get your podcasts or listen on The Black Expat YouTube account. 

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