Let’s face it- America breeds racism. As a product of this American commodity, I am tolerant of it. I was sadly conditioned to be that way by the microaggressions that dictated my educational career and the internalized racism that is seeded within my own community. So let’s return to the topic of racism and county pride in this essay.
Today, my nation’s capital is supposed to be counting the votes that ensure the win of our next leaders. This count was augmented by a run-off election in Georgia that ensured the democratic party would hold more power than the republican party for the next four years. Yet, our current commander in chief has encouraged the fringe community of racists in this country to rage against the fact he did not win this election. And this fringe community is taking that anger to the capital today.
I find this darkly hilarious to a degree. But then I look at how the media is covering it and get angry. The skin color of the fringe community made the response to this clear threat slower than it should have. It also made us ignore the warning signs of bubbling anger. For the past few weeks, the current leader of the country has been making overtures at a coup attempt. While we have been covering it in the media, no one took security measures against it. Why? Because of the color of their skin. And you know what else pisses me off? The violence is going to inflict costly damage to the spaces this fringe community is trampling on.
After all the protests that have emerged this year over the deaths of too many Black people, why are we not prepared for what this pandemic is doing to this country? This country that markets itself as a place where one can be free to live and believe as they wish? Because it has never been that kind of space. But every election we strive for it in some sense. I recall reading an article around 9/11 where a Muslim woman mentioned that the beauty of our country is that we change leadership every four years. Having that rotation in leadership inspires change and fresh ideas. In other countries, it is hard to protest against someone that will be in power for decades. The struggle against an established power makes the idea of protesting hard. Yet in America, we don’t have that battle. That is something I can be proud(?) of.
What we have in America is a struggle to move forward in our ideas within the people. It is the idea that the whole country must believe in the same thing for us to move forward. And that is never going to be the case. You have warring ideas of what would make a home great among family members. We have different ideas about how to raise kids. Why would we support the idea that our government is going to agree on how the country is made? We won’t and we should stop marketing the country that way. What we should market is the ability to find a space to explore our differences and address our mistakes. Another problem of this country that if we were willing to address our mistakes, costly ones like slavery and its kissing cousin racism, we would have a country I could be proud of.
My being Black should not be a problem in my county considering we have abolished slavery. But it is. That makes me weary every day. My skin has not been offered on an auction block for decades yet I am still one foot away from the impacts of slavery. I am reluctant to walk out my door some days to face the possible racism that may be tossed in my face simply because I am a Black lady. I grow tired of having to mentally prepare myself with the knowledge that my skin color will make someone lash out at me someday. It makes me reluctant to have children on occasion. Why would I do that to anyone that has no choice in their existence? I worry about it when I apply for jobs. I already know my skin will keep me from being hired. I am more than my skin tone. I have cost this country over $200,000 in education. I have value by existing in my own way. But that won’t stop one from making decisions based on my skin tone, will it?
I want to say I am just smugly cynical about the fringe community that has cost a person their life today as they make a failed coup attempt. I am conflicted. It is a coup fueled by racism. Racism is useless to everyone. It makes unnecessary barriers to people. It is an outdated and superficial system to categorize the world and it hurts. I often wonder about hate groups and what they would do with themselves if they got their way. Would they now spend time with their families reliving the glory days when they had an imagined cause to fight over or would they treat it like exterminating pests and move on?
Today my soul hurts because these acts remind me that it will take one downward spiral to wipe out everything that I have clung to in order to create a sense of self in this racist country. I can’t hide from that today. I can’t ignore it by being cynical. My skin, something that I learn to love every day is the reason people are attacking my nation’s capital. And that has me in my feelings.