As the body count of unarmed Black Americans murdered by state-sanctioned violence continues to rise, I’ve been thinking about the relationship between the United States and its citizens of color.
America is like a parent who tells you “you ain’t nothing, you ain’t never gonna be nothing” and when you prove them wrong by building your city, your Greenwood, or your Rosewood, they burn it down and leave you to fend for yourself.
America is like a sibling in denial about their status as “favorite” who insists if you would just call Mom and Dad more often but refrain from pointing out the disparities between your treatment in the education, housing, employment, healthcare, and justice systems, they just might treat you better.
America is like the grandparent who gives your cousins free land, free housing, access to better education and jobs, who looks the other way when they are committing crimes and then wonders why you aren’t as successful.
America is like a fiancé who asks you to work three jobs to support his medical internship or be lover and secretary while he builds a business then when he gains success, has an affair with a white girl.
America is like a spouse who asks you to show your love and preserve your union by serving in the War of Rebellion, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam, etc. and then when you get home, denies your existence.
America is like your family who, after adopting some children from Europe, takes your room and makes your other sibling do all the chores.
The United States wants love and loyalty from a population to which it has primarily offered hate. I’m sure a relationship expert would point out the toxicity and probably advise any client experiencing this kind of abuse to leave.
But what if the toxic relationship is with your country of birth? What do you do then?
Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked