Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kevin Sumner
The Black Expat: 'I Definitely Feel Safer In Denmark'
Durham, NC native Kevin Sumner has lived abroad for the last seven years. After graduating from Hampton University, he relocated to the D.C. area for work. However, he soon realized that playing basketball professionally overseas was his dream and that it was now or never if he wanted to make it happen.
“I had a few connections in Peru so I quit my job and moved there,” Kevin told Travel Noire. “I played for one season before reaching out to a friend in Copenhagen who told me that I was probably good enough to play in Denmark. I came here and tried out for a team, and I have been here ever since.”
Kevin has enjoyed living abroad over the years. Although Black people make up only about 1% of the population, he’s come to realize that being American in general brings a certain privilege.
“I mean I still feel black everywhere I go, but being American has made people warm up to me faster in my experience.”
While basketball was initially his main source of income, Kevin has now landed a role in finance and IT. He was able to get on what the Denmark government calls a “positive list” that allows companies to hire international employees much easier.
Some may ask the question, is it safe in Denmark for a Black man? Or isn’t racism alive and well there too? But Kevin admits he feels much safer in Denmark as violent crimes are much less frequent.
“Stricter gun laws and police that generally don’t abuse their power helps a lot,” Kevin said. “Not that Denmark is innocent, but there isn’t the same history of racial politics here because for so long it was completely homogeneous, and still is relatively speaking.”
Although racism is universal, Kevin has personally come to realize that the racism in Denmark is rooted in ignorance rather than deep hatred. He also feels that even though it does exist at times, it most likely won’t result in him losing his life.
“I’ve learned to know the right opportunities to take the time to educate people on race. Unfortunately, we carry that burden, but it’s best if you do not ignore it and educate instead.”
As for when Kevin will move back to the United States, that question is still up in the air. He enjoys having mandatory paid vacation time that allows him to travel more often than when he lived and worked in D.C.. He’s also met an amazing group of friends that he’s not ready to part ways with just yet. Of course he misses his family and friends back home, but he is able to visit them often during time off.
“I like my life the way it is now,” he said.
To catch more of Kevin’s adventures in Copenhagen, you can find him on Instagram or Twitter at: @kevsumner.