America to Me

IMG_0098
Figure 1. Tattered American flag

Everyone has their own ideology of what being American means to them. In my opinion, America does not stand for freedom and a better life, it stands for a country torn apart (see figure 1). When I think of being American, I think of big brother, destroying any person or country that stands in their way (see figure 2).  I see a country that discriminates against your capital value and skin color.

IMG_0097Tree-Bombing-Planes-2
Figure 2 The United States repurposes an old military plane specifically for dropping bombs on foreign targets.

 

Many people see America as the land of the free. Freedom from religious persecution, freedom of speech, a place where everyone can cohabitate in harmony. I do not believe we have ever been that place, but rather use this image as a facade. If you are not an Anglo-American, please take a moment to reflect on how some of these supposed benefits may or may not have been presented to you. Has being American fulfilled all of these implied benefits, regardless of your race, religious beliefs, or gender?

I have received numerous benefits from being American. Being American to me is eating a pizza on a subway in New York, hiking a mountain in Colorado, riding a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or letting it all ride on a bet in Las Vegas. Being able to do all of these things without one person glancing negatively at my presence in an airport, not being concerned about run ins with law enforcement officers, not one woman clutching her purse as I walk by. Unfortunately, these are not universal benefits every citizen will get to experience. Many of these benefits are based upon your socio-economic status, the color of your skin, or even the gender you were born with.

 

IMG_0096SikhNYC
Figure 3. Muslim Americans Protest against discrimination of their people.

For those not born with innate advantages, thesepeople will experience a different America. Do not even think about trying to enter this country if your current or existing citizenship places you in the middle of a civil war. Do not expect anyone to respect you religious beliefs if your beliefs make them feel uneasy. Most of all, do not expect to be treated equally if your skin color is represented by negative stereotypes and connotations (see figure 3).

Am I American? By birthright, on paper, and geographically, I am American. I am one of the lucky ones, inherently born into the benefits of this country. However, I do not feel that I can truly be an American behind the facade of it all. This country, albeit great for many reasons, has many issues that need to be corrected. We need to come together as a collective society and educate our citizens. The fact that we choose to ignore taboo topics, is exactly what keeps encouraging history to repeat itself. It is only when we acknowledge our unfavorable behaviors that we can truly be remorseful and learn from them. I cannot ignore my privilege, and I refuse to accept that those who were be treated differently. When being an American becomes an embodiment of what it claims to be, then I will truly internalize my title as one.

Burdine, Krista R. “AMERICAN SIKHS CONTINUE TO SUFFER RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION.” Worldreligionnews.com. N.p., 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 8 Apr. 2017, http://www.worldreligionnews.com/issues/american-sikhs-continue-to-suffer-religious-discrimination.

Liggett, Britt. Military Plane Repurposed to Drop 900,000 Tree Bombs a Day. Digital image. Inhabitat. Inhabitat, 20 Oct. 2010. Web, in habitat.com/old-military-planes-repurposed-to-drop-900000-tree-bombs-a-day/.

Valezadeh, Roosh. “AMERICAN SIKHS CONTINUE TO SUFFER RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION.” Return of Kings. N.p., 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 8, http://www.returnofthekings/52021/35-things-wrong-with-america.

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. I can relate to the position you have taken in your post. No society is perfect, and America is by no means anywhere near perfect. However, all things considered, I do believe there is plenty to celebrate about being American. Having lived in a country where you bribe the police so you don’t get thrown in jail (even though you committed no offense), having lived in a country where you can bribe your way through the judiciary; having lived in Europe where immigrants struggle to integrate; I am proud to be American, and thankful for a country such as this. I guess seeing the goodness in America is all subjective and relative. But one undeniable fact is that this country is a land of opportunity. Just ask any immigrant. This country welcomes with open arms people from around the glove, and gives them the opportunity to thrive. No other country is this welcoming, and supportive of immigrants. Why would you not love America?

    Like

  2. It is a wonderful point that you have made. America is great in so many ways but there is still a lot of work to be done to become the perfect world that a lot of people assume it is. Looking at history we have always just taken what we wanted. We want the land and the Indians are getting in the way, why not kill them and take the land. We don’t want to kill them, lets “relocate” but still take the land. We want free labor, why not, let’s take people and make them slaves. We want oil and they won’t share, let’s find a way to take it. Our history is full of discrimination against different people. There was the Indians, African Americans, Asians, Arabs, Mexicans and so on. I see it as the land of the “take” if you can take what you can than you win. But at the same time, I cannot overlook the fact that this land also provided a safe-haven for the ones in need. We are not a perfect nation, but we have fixed so many things that it is a matter of time before we can fix the rest.

    Like

  3. i enjoy the candor and a view i agree with about what it means to be an American. It is a tough life if not born in wealth or some privilege as interpreted by my own mind. I have to believe their is a better America somewhere in our grasp. Yes, we can all agree at one moment in time this country was legendary and held a mystic. Now, i without intervention we will rip ourselves apart. Maybe one small word, one small gesture will take us on that path to at the very least not having to defend our social ineptitude.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s