I am slowly beginning to grasp the concept of “walkability." It's not about whether there are wide sidewalks (although there better be). Spending my second week in California I realize the absolute key part is whether you need to cross multi-lane streets/roads every 50 meters. Nothing kills the joy of walking around than having to stop all the time. (hint: in Amsterdam you can usually just walk through the street without paying attention to lights, because there's either no traffic, or the traffic will let you do that) It also helps if I'm not the only pedestrian within a 5 mile radius.
“Between the world and me”
Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage. My recent disillusioning trip notwithstanding, I am still very much in love with the US, but Ta-Nehisi Coates puts things into perspective. Much like sexism is often difficult to notice for males until a woman points it out, white people tend not to realize just how huge a problem racism in America still is.
(I'm biased towards everything American, so despite a relatively US-critical tone, you may be offended by this post if you're too European.) I remember watching “The Cosby Show” with my parents in the nineties. It was a crazy time of massive political change in Poland, and my parents were always pointing at the fictional Huxtables as role models. Me and my father were even replicating Cliff Huxtable's way of making chili, and we'd make tons of inside jokes that we'd always gladly explain to any guests we'd be having.