It’s probably not the best idea to share this on Patriot Day, a day to honor the brief moment in history when there was no political divide, but it needs to be said.
This country is not the United States. As I’ve said in a podcast episode before, the name needs to be changed to the Divided States.
I understand pretending to be a united country to honor the many innocent, genuinely good lives lost on this day, but I simply can’t. Truly, it hurts my heart thinking about the thousands of people who didn’t know September 11, 2001 was going to be the last day they took their last breath.
Like I said, I can’t pretend.
Yes, in a sense I am privileged to be living in this country. There are elements of this country that are better than many other countries; there are resources we are (or should be) grateful to have access to because a lot of third world countries do not. Though our basic human rights are being stripped away, we still have more rights than people in other countries.
I acknowledge that element of my privilege, but I can’t pretend this country is united, especially as a Black woman.
Is now a good time to bring up Breonna Taylor? Is now a good time to start listing all of the young Black men who senselessly lost their lives because they have a little more pigment? Is now a good time to start listing all the Black men on death row for crimes they didn’t commit or rotting in jail cells for possessing drugs that are literally LEGAL? Is now a good time to list all the doctors, nurses, citizens being fined or imprisoned for helping a woman have an abortion because the woman WANTS TO LIVE?
Is now a good time to bring up literally anything about Florida? Should I mention states literally wiping away Black history from schools? Should I mention the tons of books being banned because white people can’t handle the truth? Because there are people so closed-minded they don’t know how to open an actual door? Am I okay to bring up protecting children from drag queens but doing nothing when their lives are lost because of a gun?
In many, many ways, this country is completely backwards. As I’ve said before, how in the world are you going to TRY to force women to have children but not do anything to protect the children when it’s time for them to start Kindergarten? It feels weird being Black and making history just for the education system to wipe it away (but y’all still want to celebrate that Coco Gauff win?!?!). Make it make sense.
This country is trying too hard to compete with other countries and move forward with technology but won’t do anything to balance the system between the rich and the poor. The economy won’t last if the poor get poorer; we’re the ones who give into the always-surrounding capitalism. It won’t hurt the rich to give up a little bit; you’ll still be able to waste time in space and be a waste of space.
One of the most unfortunate things about being a Black woman who comes from a lineage of slavery is I can’t go anywhere. They give us the title of “African American,” but I know I can’t travel to Africa and pretend like I know what’s up. As much as I love talking about escaping to Canada or New Zealand, there’s racism there too.
There’s no escaping how my skin color dictates my life, and as much as I love my life, I am not going to pretend to love a country that calls itself “united” when it is anything but. There’s many things keeping this country divided but racism, especially of the systemic kind, is one of them.
Shall we get into the white people taking this land from peaceful tribes? Bringing over diseases and destruction? Introducing this land to cultural appropriation and gentrification?
Or I should I save that for a different day?
We can pretend all we want, but at the end of the day, there is nothing united about this country. In every way, we are divided. It’s only a matter of time before the cracks get too big, and all is destroyed.