What is true American pride for a person of color? Should I be thankful to be here? Grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded? The truth is that I am a highly educated tax-paying citizen who is still considered second class just because of the color of my skin. While other countries acknowledge the mistakes and transgressions of their predecessors, this country is prideful and unapologetic. With those standards, this country has never been great. It has fumbled through history proclaiming freedom but practicing oppression. There is no apology for slavery. No apology for trampling the natives that occupied this land. No apology for putting those of Asian descent in camps. No apology for the Vietnam War. No apology for the death of Kalief Browder and countless other people of color who are pawns in a justice system designed to break them and reduce them to statistics.
My ancestors died while being considered property, their blood and tears ingrained in the earth and still lingering in the humid air that I breathe into my lungs. My people have dealt with injustice while trying to raise families and seek better for themselves. I earned everything that I have and it’s not by my own hand but God’s. Certainly not a piece of cloth with stars and stripes and a song that does not apply to me! I am embarrassed by this country. I am embarrassed by our government and those who make decisions on my behalf. I am only proud of those who rise from the ashes and make the world bend against its own will. I can’t just pick up and leave and I have no real desire to. My people were built to weather the storm. I was made here and no one can take that away from me. I will not run from a small beast with a big bark with absolutely no claim in this country’s success. I know that it is the citizens and immigrants that make this country the world’s most powerful. Although rotten to the core, the real enemy is not a giant that cannot be defeated. The hate that drives those ignorant souls who despise their fellow American down is almost laughable. Harboring strife with an unknown origin just to get before a God who does not see color and answer for your hate, won’t that be a sight?
This is not about a flag, it’s not about our brave military, but this fight is about injustice of all kinds. Injustice for the disenfranchised. I write for those in prison for a drug that is legal in areas in this country, and for those who dared speak up others too scared to use their own voice. For those who still believe in hope that things will get better. I will not make those who are blind; see. I will make those who choose to be deaf; listen. But I will stand with and for my people. I owe it to my ancestors to be great.
Fly high blackbirds,