Photo | tumblr.com
I remember the exact moment I decided to not recite the words of the pledge to allegiance at a school assembly. I was 14 years old stuck in Smyrna, GA after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. As I looked around at everyone, I kept thinking how un-american I felt, and how pledging my allegiance to that red, white, and blue flag just didn’t feel right anymore.
Fast-forward almost 11 years later and I still feel uneasy when it comes to identifying myself as an American. Yes, I know I was born in this country which technically makes me an American citizen. However, this country subconsciously tells me everyday that my life as a Black American is not valued.
Being an American that belongs to any type of “minority” group is extremely difficult, especially being a Black American. I’m told to love a country that so openly does not love people that look like me (and if you object to this statement you clearly haven’t seen the news or social media lately). I live in fear everyday because I know my life can quickly be brought to a halt due to the color of my skin. And don’t let me even get started on the psychological effects being a Black person in America can have on you.
As much as we try to ignore it, this country is just not the home of the free and the brave. Freedom is limited here, and is only awarded to those who are the “right” color, and have enough money to buy it. And bravery? I’m not sure if it even exist. The truth is our country is only brave when it comes to going to a pointless war with another country (unfortunately, we have yet to learn you can’t use violence to bring about peace), but when it comes to speaking out about real problems everyone seems to turn their heads and look the other way.
So how does one look pass America’s flaws? Well…you don’t. It’s time for all Americans to begin to get real about how fxcked up this country really is and stop turning a blind eye. It’s time to dismantle, reconstruct, and rebuild our justice system because 98 % of the time it only works in the favor of one group of people. It’s time to stop only caring about issues that specifically affect you as an individual. It’s time to come together as a people, and support one another. Most importantly, it’s time to unconditionally love one another. We need each other more than ever right now.
To all the Americans that have been fighting to make America’s motto a true statement, I just want to say thank you. Please continue to demonstrate, and bring awareness to just how flawed this country actaully is. We will be heard, and change will come. I have faith that one day, and one day soon, this country will be “The home of the free and the brave”…for everyone.