America Was Never Great

America was never great.

[I said what I said. But keep reading…]

America was deemed great because it’s wealthy. It is a wealthy nation because it benefited from HUNDREDS of years of free labor. Imagine how much wealthier Jeff Bezos would be if he didn’t have to pay anybody squat and threatened to kill people and take their babies if they didn’t keep up with production.

If you are White and you are reading this, you may be thinking “well, if America is such a bad country, why are Black people protesting? Why don’t they just leave?”

I’m glad you asked! As I’ve said before, I can’t speak for all 40 million Black people in the United States. Nor do I want to. But I can share my perspective. America was never great because there is nothing great about entering a stranger’s home, killing the family inside the home, claiming the home as your own, kidnapping a family from another neighborhood and forcing that family to work for your company for no pay and endless abuse. For hundreds of years. And then punishing the kidnapped family once someone says they are allowed to go free by restricting where they can live, what schools they can go to, and where they can use the bathroom.

But, the people who have taken to the streets en masse over these last few weeks – or during any major civil rights movement in this country’s history, have done so because they believe the United States has the potential to be great. In theory, the Constitution, with its amendments and its lofty ideals, should grant everyone equal freedoms and liberties. In practice, through policies designed to continually suppress and oppress marginalized persons, we have yet to see America be all that it can be.

Dr. King had the audacity to dream of a better world. As a part of a realization of that dream, Barack Obama had the audacity to think a Black man could run for President of the United States and win – twice. The leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have the audacity to think that through peaceful protest and amplification of our collective voices, policies can change and healing can begin. Change is a process. A very long and grueling one. We cannot give up because we haven’t “reached the mountain top” by this time next year.

If you are an ally and truly dedicated to affecting long-term, sustainable, systemic change, you can’t stop or calling out racism in your workplaces or having the hard conversations in your living rooms.

As a Black woman, I will never not be Black. I don’t get to take a vacation to Wakanda and forget all of my troubles. It will always be the first thing someone notices about me – for better or for worse. So if you are truly as committed as you’ve said you are on social media the past two weeks, you will keep going when you are tired, when you don’t feel like it, and when it causes you discomfort, and yes, sometimes pain.

Opt in to social justice, racial equity, intersectional resistance, and sweeping policy change today.

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