Citizen in distress

Published April 10, 2015 by hrhdana
I’m lucky.
A rainbow of people love me
and I love them.
I’m blessed.
Raised in a place where differences
are embraced
diversity
is a reason to celebrate
and something craved.
I’m lucky.
I grew up in a sea of faces that looked like me
and didn’t.
I ate matzo with my Jewish babysitter.
I learned Irish dancing steps with my high school crew.
I teased my hair to kingdom come with my Italian guidettes.
Ate curry with my Caribbeans too.
Learned how to negotiate from this Ethiopian dude.
Blessed.
 I have been.
I’m lucky.
My best friend is Irish and Puerto Rican
Her family is a rainbow of love
making babies that run the spectrum
from light to dark.
Each one
celebrated,
loved,
worried over.
No ignorance about the differences
in the challenges they will face
when they leave the safety of the nest.
Eyes wide open.
Acknowledging difference
because there is NOTHING wrong with it.
NOTHING.
It just is.
I’m blessed.
I know this.
And yet
I exist
in a larger context.
America.
My home.
My country.
I love she.
To say otherwise would be a lie.
I love my country.
This is my home.
This is where my life is.
And I love it.
Even though she often breaks my heart.
Imperfect.
Racist.
Sexist.
Ignorant.
Opportunist.
Capitalist.
Insensitive to the differences
that make her great.
And a huge part of her powerbase
hates me.
Actively hates me.
Demonizes me.
Murders me
With impunity.
This abusive relationship
with the country of my birth
is breaking me down.
And it would be easier
If I could just hate her.
The world is massive.
I could live anywhere.
But I stay here
Because I love it.
And I want to believe
that the ones who hate me
are a vocal minority
but the murders don’t cease.
The go fund me pages
of racists and homophobes
make millions.
And my little cousin
can’t raise money to learn.
It burns.
My stomach churns.
How can I love a place
that isn’t safe?
Where national empathy
doesn’t apply to those who look like me?
This abusive relationship
with my home,
the one place
I should feel safe
Is
disorienting
maddening
confounding.
AGONIZING.
“Dana you talk about race all the time.
Give it a rest. Relax your mind.”
Another “friend” who doesn’t want to understand.
Because what those words REALLY mean is,
“please stop challenging me.
Your reality is uncomfortable to see.
Could you please suffer and process quietly?”
Silence demanded from me
is a goodbye.
And if America were a person
I would have given her my entire ass to kiss
a long time ago.
But this is my home.
And it hurts me.
Murders those who look like me
with impunity.
She withholds opportunity
demands that we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps
on boots that we don’t own.
This is my home.
This abusive relationship
with my home,
the one place
I should feel safe
is
agnonizing.

1

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