Today I am excited to share with you an interview with Fulbright Scholar Antonio Reyes, founder of Black Life China, a resource dedicated to giving light to black experiences in China.
Mr. Antonio (Tony) Reyes is a Fulbright and Ronald E. McNair scholar with over a decade of experience in the international education sphere. Mr. Reyes is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and has over 4 years of experience living, studying and working throughout China. He holds a Master of Arts degree in International Studies from University of Washington with a focus on Chinese business, culture and historical relationship with black foreign communities. He is also the founder of Black Life China, a website and podcast dedicated to exploring the black experiences abroad. Listen to his interviews with black Americans living in China clicking this link to the podcast: www.blacklifechina.com/the-podcast. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and auditing programs in the areas of diversity, international education and minority student engagement.
How is Black Life China related to you as a Fulbright Scholar, and what are your hopes for this unique project?
As a Fulbright Scholar, I wanted to do something more than just conduct research about black experiences in China that no one would read. I already did that in graduate school. I wanted to create something that I could put into the hands of the general public and not just academics. Having a background in marketing and social media, I knew that I could create online resources that would be accessible to the public. To make the information more entertaining and digestible, I created memes, podcasts and a eBook. In doing so, I was able to create a platform that allowed black Americans all over China to easily share their stories directly with other black Americans or any interested in what it is like to be a minority in China.
Through your experience in running Black Life China, what have you learned from the people you’ve met and the stories you’ve collected?
I have learned that your attitude makes your experience. There is a famous Shakespearian quote, “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” I have found this to be true when it comes to being black in China. Black Americans who enjoyed their experiences in China and had opportunities to do many things were more optimistic and positive than those who did not. Those who were unsuccessful in China, would let the few bad experiences affect their attitude which negatively affected their daily reality.