Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Outsiders Within


"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."
-President Obama, Election Day Speech November 2008

"A natural born citizen is a person born with unalienable and undivided allegiance to the United States of America. And this is something the current occupant of the Oval Office never had. "-From The Birthers website

                      

Call me unpatriotic. Call me unAmerican.
But I have to admit, I've had all too many days in my short life when I've been ashamed to be an American. Today was such a day-- as I read the news articles and watched the television coverage announcing that 44th President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama was indeed born on U.S. soil (I didn't realize so many people were doubtful) as proven by his birth certificate. I felt sick watching Donald Trump's statement posted above. Sick thinking that people felt they should be demanding proof from Obama of his U.S. birth to begin with. Sick that it has been framed as something "witheld" and "concealed" from the American public whose right it is to know without a shadow of a doubt that Obama was born in the U.S. It makes me sick that no one is publicly asking why there is even a doubt in people's minds about Obama's birth and citizenship status in the first place...

Before today, I was one of those people that snickered at the foolishness of the "birthers"--so dedicated to getting their hands on Obama's birth certififcate,  questioning the legitimacy of his presidency on the grounds that he was not a natural born citizen.  I believed that efforts of the birthers and their supporters were ultimately ineffectual-- stupid and racist, but really just a blip. But apparently, (and sadly) they held enough sway to finally obtain Obama's birth certificate and make it public. And we're supposed to be "post-racial?" Can you imagine just how much power this small group of "birthers" and supportive voters in states like Iowa have, to be able to sit there and have their petulant, ludicrous demand met? The thought itself makes me shudder.

Today we saw a shining example of the twisted paradox that is the United States of America. In one moment we uplift our "multicultural" history as a part of the Great American Melting Pot (and parade it around the world and actually have the audamndacity to judge other people on how badly they're doing on civil rights and justice) and in another moment we scrutinize the leader of our country-- the praised "American son," the oft-celebrated "embodiment of the melting pot" and demand that he produce cold hard proof that he is indeed a natural born citizen of the United States of America. Obama produced his birth certificate in an attempt to finally shut down the birther's once and for all, and  to perhaps reveal their foolishness and demonstrate that amidst the countless more significant issues facing our world and country today, the matter of a simple piece of paper has consumed so much time and effort. Incredulously, even after the document was released, there are still those that believe the certificate was forged.

Today, was proof  (not that we needed it) to many of us-- people of color, immigrant mothers and fathers, immigrant daughters and sons that our claim to citizenship and belonging is not stable... it is contested and delegitimized at every turn from the seemingly benign inquiries about where we're really from from? to the same insidious hand of white nationalist supremacy that publicly questions the legitimacy of President Obama's black body--his mixed body and it's belonging in this nation.



You don't have to be an avid Obama supporter to recognize the blatant racism that underlies the "birth" issues ( Funny how no one is asking Senator John McCain for his birth certificate. He was born in Panama). This preoccupation with Obama's birth is in no way an isolated issue,-- a hiccup in our post-racial paradise-- but rather, a reminder that rhetoric such as this has been inscribed in the very nation-building history of our country. In my course today we covered mixed Asian-America and discussed the "mixed" experience of simply living on the hyphen, always having to validate the "American" part of your identity with other qualifiers like Native American (this is the one that gets me the most), African American, Japanese American, Mexican American. "American", apparently cannot stand on it's own and histories of exclusion and violence against communities of color as well as outright denial of citizenship time and time again have buttressed this need for constant acts of identification.

Later for the genocide and colonization of indigenous peoples who have long lost any "legitimate" claims to the land we now call the "United States" save for the reservations on which they were (dis)placed. Later for  the millions of Africans who were brought forcibly to the Americas and on whose backs and labor we built a powerful empire. Later for the millions of immigrants  who have claimed America as home and have labored for this country over generations. Later for all those who checked their heritage, histories and languages at the borders in order to access the elusive American dream/myth. Are these people and their descendants not part of the nation? Have they not proven their worth? Apparently not....

Must we be perpetual foreigners? Must our bodies always be markers of our difference? Will we forever be outsiders within?

I guess today, I'm angry and defeated. Tomorrow, I'll pick up the pieces and remember Obama's words--(however, cheesy and full of fuzzy feel good liberal multi-culti rhetoric) back in early 2008 and remember that the struggle continues and that I stand on the shoulders of those before me. Those who painstakingly carved a space for me to exist as a young woman of color in the 21st century. That space was not freely granted or written into the founding laws of this country, but it was fought for and will continue to be fought for as long as racism and injustice are the order of the day.  Tomorrow, I'll pick my torch back up, move forward and resist. 

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners — an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

3 comments:

  1. الفلل من اكثر الاماكن التى تحتاج الى العنايه دائما لاظهار جمالها فاذا كنت تفكر فى اقناء الفيلا وتبحث عن كيفيه القيام باعمال التنظيف والحصول على افضل النتائج المميزة فاعلم ان شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض تهتم باعمال التنظيف لفيلتك من الالف الى الياء ولا تكتفى فقط باعمال التنظيف من الداخل فهى تقوم بكل ما تحتاجه الفلل فى التنظيف والتلميع والتعطير والحصول الى افضل النتائج المميزة فى مقابل اقل الاسعار المتواجده فى الاسواق شركة نظافة فلل بالرياض اصبحت تحتل المركز الرائد بين الشركات التى تساعد على تحقيق افضل النتائج المميزه فى التنظيف للفلل ونظرا لان الفلل تحتوى على العديد من الامكانيات التى تحتاج الى القيام باعمال التنظيف وتحتوى على الكثير من الاشياء التى تحتاج الى التلميع والتعطير فعليك ان تتصل شركة بسمة الرياض افضل شركة تنظيف فلل فى اقل الاسعار المتواجده والحصول على افضل النتائج التقليدية التى تصل اليها
    تعتبر شركة اليسر من اهم وارقى الشركات التى تتعامل مع كافه خدمات الفلل من اجل ان نصل الى افضل النتائج والخدمات التى تساعد فى الحصول على كل ما يتمناه عملاءنا الكرام فلا داعى للقلق من شان التنظيف لفيلتك والسعى الى تحقيق افضل النتائج من خلال شركة نظافة فلل الان .

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  2. هناجر ممتازة مع شركة القاضي
    تتعدد أنواع الهناجر والشركة تعمل على تركيبها بكل أنواعها من هناجر الشركات وأيضا المستودعات والهناجر الخاصة بتربية الأغنام وأيضا هناجر السيارات والورش وبالطبع يختلف نوع الهناجر حسب المشاة وطريقة بناءة حيث أن هناجر
    الأسقف تختلف عن الهناجر التي يتم بنائها للشركات والمخازن
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    هناجر حديدية
    هناجر المخازن
    هناجر المستودعات
    تركيب مستودعات

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  3. مؤسسة القاضي
    هي الشركة الاولي الرائدة في فى تصميم سواتر
    مظلات
    هناجر
    بيوت شعر
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    شبوك
    وتتميز بالايدي العاملة الماهرة وتتميز بخامتها المميزة ،نحن لدينا خبرة كبيرة في انشاء وتصميم المظلات والسواتر ،كما ان اسعارنا لامثيل لها ولا نقبل لاي منافسة وتكون مناسبة للجميع كما اننا نقدم عروض وخصومات هائلة للمساحات للكبيرة، تواصلوا معنا الان لكي تتمكنوا من الحصول على افضل خدمة من قبل القاضي ،نحن نعمل على مدار ال24 ساعة ونكون سعداء ان نستقبل جميع الاتصالات في اي وقت ، لا تبحثوا كثيرا فالقاضي اسم موثوق به ومعروف عنه المصداقية والامانة في العمل ،فالقاضي مميزة بسمعتها الطيبة وخدماتها الرائعة ،اتصل الان وسوف ناتي اليك علي الفور .
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