I too am America
As I ponder what it is to be an American, in a country that has been honorable as a melting pot but also discriminative in its practices, I have often realized that ismism also has been as entrenched in our country as the stripes and stars on the flag or even apple pie and baseball.
I often thought that education and embracing multi-ethnic cultures enhanced me as a true American, and by working hard I would legitimately prove that I deserve to be entrenched in the American culture thus bringing forth success. However, daily there is a constant reminder that I am not considered an American but a reflection of what America defines as an image of color that has plagued the culture and tainted a flag with blood, sweat, tears and slavery and ismisms. It helps me in knowing that profiling is real, as are the symbolic chains of slavery which have been replaced with inmate numbers and handcuffs, that the land of the free is not all that free for American citizens that are brown or black or of different religions.
But I too am America as Africa has denounced me, and my identity is now immersed with the Star Spangled Banner. I too am America as I still pledge to a flag that has dishonored my ancestors and continues to be used as a systemic stepping ground for reasoning of social, economic and religious segregation. I too am America as I still show respect for politicians who have labeled me a welfare queen, thug, immigrant, murder, lazy, worthless and uneducated, monkey and animal. I too am America as I have suffered through injustices impartial and unjustly incarceration. I too am America as I continue to strive for success and continuously am passed over due to my name and not my education and qualifications. I too am America as I strive to continue to uplift the American dream inside of my nieces and nephews as I instill in them that there is a better way and they too can accomplish their American dream. I too am America as I continue to defend a country that has never defended me. As I ponder what it is to be an American, I realize I truly can’t understand the concept as I have never and will never be accepted in this land that I help to build and continue to help sustain. There lies my answer that those in this country can discount my existence, but I too am America.
Food for thought.
Keeping it Real.