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What It Means To Be My Kind of “American”

I’m an American. I was born here and by all intents and purposes — I have every right to feel proud of my citizenship and to maximize it as best as I can without limitations.

It sounds amazing to consider the value of your birthright — especially when outsiders literally risk their lives, and the lives of their precious ones in order to attain the privilege of being sheltered under the umbrella of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The American Way.

But, when it comes to embodying my kind of American — the narrative shifts into darker territory — because the darker you are — the more fucked up shit gets.

In Trump’s America — being Black in America is nothing to celebrate with fireworks and barbecues, which you might regret staging once the cops are called by a livid White lady who can’t stand the sight of Americans exercising their rights in public.

My America is murky and unsteady — as each day presents the threats of violence at the hands of uniformed men with badges, who have the right to physically assault me if they deem it necessary. They can throw me out of the car and toss me to the ground. They can arrive at the scene and provoke me until the only thing to do is forcibly remove me from the premises with extreme brutality.

They can shoot me to death for simply asking the pertinent questions that prove that I’m fully aware of what it means to be American.

My reality in America is unpredictable and strangely horrifying when you consider how we function under the pressure that a packaged delivery could blow me to bits. Or I could be walking to the grocery store and run into a White supremacist who wants to make President Trump proud at my expense.

Of course with the normalcy of gun violence — other Americans who have a far better outlook in Trump’s America will argue that they’re in just as much trouble as I am.

But would they be willing to switch places for even just an hour?

Despite the shitfest of my kind of American — there’s also the gratitude of living in a country that has essentially given me the best days of my life.

My graduation day was memorable. My move to New York City was epic. My overpriced studio was the height of achievement. The friends that I’ve made continue to sustain me through the highs and lows. The relationships I’ve forged in the over twenty years of existing in America have shaped me into the person I am now.

Being my kind of American is constantly battling to stay above water by not internalizing all the reasons why I should really relinquish my passport and get the fuck out.

Where would I go? What would I do? How will I be able to start over somewhere new — but familiar. The shithole of a country that makes being American a dope ass alternative. Is that a realistic option?

Being my kind of American forces you to examine your fragile condition with exhaustive precision.

Until all you have left is the resolve and acceptance of what it means to continue to operate as your kind of American.

You’re never quite independent.

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