Monday, November 14, 2016

America, the ugly

I have written all over my social media how I feel about this election, but I am often reluctant to put my thoughts into a coherent post. It forces me to deal with the reality of last week and to articulate my feelings in a more in depth manner.

I hate to say I told you so, but America is a country founded on racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and every form of otherness. I hate that I am right about America. I hate that I am not shocked or surprised by the result. It does not feel good to know that everything about you is hated. It does not feel good to know people want you dead.It does not feel good to know how many people are invested in your suffering. It does not feel good to know that people rejoice in your sadness.

Unfortunately, Black people, especially Black women, do not get that luxury of being shocked and disappointed. It is true that I am shielded by class and “citizenship” from the everyday realities of poverty. However, my blackness and womanness informs by everyday interaction with whiteness. Every day I turn on the television, open a book, walk down the street, take down my hair, scroll social media, enter a meeting, ride the train, I am confronted with images and words that are directly opposed to my existence.

I do not have to go to the edge of the earth to know that people are struggling. I am not interested in exploiting or appropriating people’s pain and struggle. The constant images and stories are not needed for me to extend empathy. I do not need proof of suffering because I have stopped believing the lie of America. My liberation does not stop at me or my loved ones. Liberation can only come from the most marginalized and vulnerable people in this country. There are people who see things that I will never be able to see and that is okay.

This election has reaffirmed so many people’s truth, not only in America but also across the world. While I was confident that Hillary would win the election, I am not surprised that Trump won. Every day I learn and unlearn more about America’s violent past and present. Everyday history repeats itself. Everyday history spits in our face, but we keep turning our faces to the past. We keep telling ourselves what we would do in the 40s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. We keep lying to ourselves to make America more palatable; to make life more comfortable. But there is nothing beautiful about America. There are beautiful people in America, but America as a state is plain ugly. America is evil. America can never be great as long as it exists as both a symbol and architect for genocide, slavery, and domination.

America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, is a lie. We are not free and we have never been free. I get it. I get the need for us to feel safe and secure and whole. This is why I imagine a future in which these things are possible. I imagine a future where we can be all the things America tells us we are. But this is not it. America is not it.

Nina Simone was once asked, “ What is freedom?”. To which she replied, “No fear”. To me, freedom is the absence of fear and the presence of imagination, wholeness, humanity, and individuality. It is really difficult to imagine freedom outside for America’s hypocrisy, but I still believe it is possible. However, freedom will never be possible when we are moved by fear. Freedom will never be possible when we fail to face the truth.

As I get older, I am less and less disillusioned by the truth. I am less and less afraid of facing the reality of America. For me, ignorance is not bliss. Bliss does not move people to change. Bliss does not cause people to be introspective. Instead it causes people to ignore the hurt and pain human beings face every day. Every time truth knocks on the door, we run away and hide. We treat the truth like a criminal, like a stranger. Truth is our drunken auntie suffering from schizophrenia that we like to hide in the backroom or throw away to an institution. Fortunately, my truth is grounded in the Black imagination that freedom is attainable. However, I do not think I will see freedom while I am alive because I have read too much history to be so disillusioned.

America has always created the illusion of freedom and progress. I am convinced certain that every day we move away from truth telling, the harder it becomes to envision and attain freedom. But I will work every day to push our imagination and replace the America’s mythologies with a world in which every human being is free. A world in which human life and the environment around is valued.