Land of the Free
*a/n* Let me preface this by saying that I am a proud citizen of the United States of America. However, this has been bothering me for a while. I know that some people on here will disagree with certain aspects of this essay, and that's fine! I mean no disrespect. I'm simply trying to put a few things that I have gathered from some fairly recent experiences into perspective. Just to caution you, this has a lot of older themes such as racism and general discrimination.
We live in a land of bigots.
Whether you want to readily admit it or not, it’s a brutal truth. The United States is supposed to be the most progressive of the countries. We are the superpower of the international community.
Yet here we are, judging people for a religion we know nothing about. We see a brown man and his wife walking down the street. She wears a head covering (a hijab, but of course, we don’t know the name of that). We pity her for a minute. She must be so repressed. The man has a backpack slung over his shoulder. Automatically, our stomachs tighten. Those Muslims, we think. They are animals. Their religion is immoral.
But I’m not being racist, we think. After what they did to us, they should just go back to their country.
Hispanic men are working on our roads. We drive carefully around them, navigating the orange cones. This will be so nice when it’s done, we say to our passenger. It will be so much more convenient to get around.
Later, we will talk with our relatives about how the Mexicans are invading our country. Wetbacks, we call them, as if we are not the very people facilitating them coming here. They work for cheap and without insurance, and then we complain about them “This is America. We are Americans. Learn English.” (but yet, these Hispanics are also Americans. We are so conceited and presumptuous that we forget that America is a continent that we share with Mexico, Central and South America, and Canada). We let them break their backs for us and then expect them to disappear like ghosts.
But I’m not being racist, we think. They’re the ones taking all of our money. They should just go back to their country.
Someone is just walking around outside with a backpack on, a coworker says. The manager makes a face of worry. “It’s going to sound awful, but is he black?” he asks. “No, he’s white,” the other one replies. The manager breathes a sigh of relief. “We should be fine then. “
But I’m not being racist, we think. There’s a history there.
Walking through the park, we see two boys in skinny jeans. They hold hands, smiling up at the sun and looking back at each other. “Gay couple,” we whisper. “That’s just unnatural.” We silently agree to avoid them (because being different is wrong, and we don’t want the gay to rub off on us).
But I’m not being discriminatory, we think. I just don’t support that sort of thing.
I find it inherently disappointing that it’s 2015 but yet I still here the N word on a daily basis. White people try to joke, “I’ll bet you like them dark.”
I say, “Sure, why not?” they make faces of disgust.
“I’ll tell your dad!”
“Go right ahead.”
These are the same people who say, “I have tons of black friends, they’re great, I just wouldn’t want to marry one.”
I’m disappointed that people enthusiastically support a business owner’s decision to close off her business to an entire religion, a religion that is the most widely practiced around the world.
1.6 billion Muslims and an estimated 20,000 extremists—but southern conservatives claim, “There are no good Muslims. They all want to kill us.”
“One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL.” But of course, you are not ALL if you are not white, if you are not heterosexual, if you are an immigrant (legal or not), or if you worship the wrong God.
We can’t pretend this is fair. We can’t use our religions as an excuse to judge others. We can’t use history to predict the behavior of those who are different from us.
Maybe I’m just an idealistic white girl who hasn’t had to face the perils of discrimination, but I am fed up with people who claim they are good patriots saying things that defy the laws of their bible and go against our own Bill of Rights.
Let’s be a better United States.