I’m a proud American—no one can take that away. Of thee, I sing. Still, my country is not perfect, by a stretch. My place here, as an African American, as a woman, as a human who is fully subscribed to the American Dream but has, all-too-many times found it elusive, is fractured. At times, maddening. Melissa Harris-Perry, the host of her self-titled MSNBC show that makes me swoon every time I see it, put it best in her footnote on our July 4th Independence Day celebration:
The land on which they formed this Union was stolen. The hands with which they built this nation were enslaved. The women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class.
But all of this is our story. Each of us benefits from the residuals of oppression and each of success harmed by the realities of inequality. This is the imperfect fabric of our nation, at times we`ve torn and stained it, and at other moments, we mend and repair it.
But it’s ours, all of it. The imperialism, the genocide, the slavery, also the liberation and the hope and the deeply American belief that our best days still lie ahead of us.
Yes—yes they do. And I’m heartened by this when I look in the faces of my children. I see the opportunity. I feel the hope. I embrace the promise. And I stare down the challenges, for their sake. For the sake of us all. Our babies are the promise. The future of this country. America.
1. Remember Our America
2. Burning Qur’ans, Zealots, and A Lesson On Tolerance: The Best Way to Honor the Victims of September 11th
3. Why White Parents Should Teach Their Children About Race
4. Traveling In Color: Finding Diversity and Opening Minds on a Paris Vacation with Kids