America - Land of The Free?
America is the land of the free to many people. Many people are proud to be from America. Many travel to work here on a visa, and many more are still trying to get a green card. We can sit and we can discuss why it is great - there are many reasons. But let's start discussing why we are not the land of the free, and why we are not great. We are a country that is built on racism. You can give me a history lesson: you can say that indigenous people sold their own for guns (insert Charlie brown teacher voice here) and ignore the mass genocide created by the Europeans, or the fact that when this started we human trafficked these same indigenous people and also African Americans. So have we ever been free?
Our Independence day was created when we still believed that we owned black men and women's lives (This is not ignoring my Latinx brothers and sisters - we see you we know). And before anything is said, we know our service men and woman fight for our continued freedom as a whole. We don't take that away, this is why we celebrate them and their sacrifices and their lives. Looking back on when it was established, we still were not living freely and that is something we need to be honest with ourselves about. Maybe then we can move past all of this hate and naivete.
What made the white man and woman feel that their skin gave them privilege over those of color? I sit here in this world looking at the children, never-mind my own, and my own naivete said: "Yes there is racism, but we are getting better." Privilege as a white person can easily cause this train of thought because we don't live day to day with the color of our skin being targeted. White people do not look in the mirror and say: "Will I be killed today, because someone doesn't like who I am? Because of my skin?"
How are we justifying this, AMERICA? I can tell you how we are trying to: white people and people who can pass as white are staying silent. We are closing the blinds and locking the doors and going on with our lives. Do you feel defensive because it has set somewhere in your mind and you're saying: "BUT?" There are no BUTS and if you do feel this way, you are part of the problem. I had a woman say something racist to me once - and the good Lord only knows why she felt comfortable saying this to me, she knows my child is biracial and that I grew up in a multi-cultural home, but she never heard me say anything negative about anything other than not being able to be on a same co-parenting page. My Somali friend had some family issues with elders that caused him to be late on several occasions and this woman had an issue with it. She openly said to me: "It's because he's Somalian." I said "Look, please don't speak to me about this in the manner you are. His background has nothing to do with him being late and I don't know why you are so comfortable talking to me like this, you sound very ignorant and racist."
Immediately this 5'4 blonde woman's in her 60's stood up and got so disgruntled. "Well you know how it would be taken if I said it to anyone else because we're white, and I'm not racist, my grandchildren are mixed. But you know, they talk black because they lived with their dad in Philadelphia." I began to question her on how exactly someone can talk black, and educated her on racism and how she just made herself sound very uneducated. Her exact words were "Well, slang and speaking ghetto. I'm not racist, my grandchildren are mixed." This is what White America has come to and what it has always been. But now white people, a majority, are hiding their racist ways. I am not saying all white people are racist. Using these words: "My grandchildren are mixed" or "I'm not racist, my boyfriend is black." If you are not racist you shouldn't need to use these words to say it. This is like I saying "I am not a racist but..." Or, the one I enjoy even more: "I don't see skin color."
When white people say this, they are covering up the fact that those who are supposed to be civil protectors kill a black man/woman. "I don't see skin color, they where just a person who was driving a car and that's why I pulled them over and killed them." No, we don't accept this! We know that the color of a black man and woman's skin is seen as a weapon to racists, we know they see skin color. WE also need to be educated enough to acknowledge the fact that we all see skin color. It doesn't meant you are racist, it means that you are acknowledging the fact that although we should be equal, we are not treating black men and woman as such, even centuries later. You are able to recognize the fact that being able to pass as white or being white gives you the privilege of leaving your house not being fearful of being murdered for the color of your skin.
We acknowledge that our Latinx community is going through the same struggle; for those of you who don't recognize this please open your minds and hearts. There is never a comparison for someone losing a child either, but for a black parent to lose a black child or friend due to murder by those who are white and by those who are meant to "Serve and Protect"... that will hit differently. Their living being is being murdered because of the color of their skin, because of their roots, something none of us can change about ourselves. But can you imagine laying in bed at night questioning God on why you are your race, and why your race is being murdered (This is not first hand knowledge from experience, this is sitting down with my sister-in-law at the time and her telling me what she was experiencing and how fearful she was for her brother's sisters and her children)?
My daughter can pass as white, like singer/songwriter Halsey. I have been trying to explain this to her because she asks at 9 years old what is going on, why she isn't a reflection of her dad and instead is one of her mom. I continue to educate myself. I lived in this world with the blinds half open, coming from a multi-cultural household and knowing that my aunt and my cousins where discriminated against, knowing that my best friend was as well, but thinking it was a one time thing. My daughter heard her friends call each-other the n word. She asked me why she couldn't say it, what it meant and just why. I can only explain it so much to her, and the history I can not explain. As a white woman, the power of that word is on her dad's end, and the other side of her heritage. I cannot explain the pain behind it. Her uncle said to her: "We do not use that word when we are talking to each-other either, baby girl, because it was used to keep us down." She said: "But my dad does it with you." He told her sometimes it's up to us to educate us, and build one another up.
When the news continues to perpetuate this story of false percentages and false stories - and you continue to engage in beliefs by saying: "All Lives Matter" -- the media did what it does best, and took away from what we are saying. Don't we all know that life matters? Then why are the majority of us closing our doors on the movement of Black Lives Matter? If we do not see skin color and if our civil protectors are “perfect” why mace their own senator for peacefully protesting - they saw skin color, not the man. There is no value higher than another's in this world, yet we are continuing to show that we don't value the lives of black men and woman. We are not showing their value by staying silent. This is why White Silence needs to end. This is why correcting our media, our celebrities, and our communities is so crucial. We can say this until we are blue in the face, but actions speak louder than words. For those of you who wonder: why the riots, why the protests...? When anyone is traumatized, what do they do? They process, cry, scream and try to heal. When this same trauma continues to occur, and everyone is closing their blinds and locking their doors, how else should we be heard? How else will anyone listen?