Politics, Reclaiming Our Identity, woman well loved
Comments 4

The Hypocrisy of American Racism

I wrote this post a couple of months ago when 31 American states said they would refuse admittance to Syrian refugees.  This made me deeply angry, not only because states DO NOT have the power to do this (the Federal government decides who can and can’t immigrate to the United States, and refugees can move to whatever state they want to) but because I am ashamed to be part of a country where racism and selfishness have become something to take pride in. If we intend to stay a “super power” in the Aquarian age we’ll need to hold our morality to the same high standards that we do hold economic growth. 

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We are born onto this earth with nothing save for what our circumstances provide. For some of us that is quite a lot, but for most of us it is hardly anything. From that moment on we are making choices. The choice to fight or give up, to share or to withhold, to complain or to have gratitude.

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A Syrian child lives in a makeshift home while his parents search for a country accepting refugees

As humankind we made choices. We took our planet inhabited with many different species and divide it up with lines. We call the lined off areas “nations” and make rules about who can enter where. Some “nations” have lots of resources, clean water, land that can cultivate enough food for its inhabitants, while other “nations” have hardly enough for the children in their land to have clean water and food. In those nations many children die before becoming adults, the whole population dies in their mid-forties, while in the other nations people live into their 80s and 90s.

We have created this world as human beings. A world where there is not enough. A world where fighting, greed, and fear are the primary dealings of our heads of state. A world where guns, bombs, and terror is normal.

When American states make the choice not to accept any Syrian refugees, they are perpetuating the racism in the bedrock of our country.

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A black woman, tormented by angry whites attends school during desegregation.

A nation of hypocrites. For there are no Americans alive today, save for our indigenous peoples and Africans brought here against their will, who are not descendants of immigrants seeking a better life than the ones they were born into. The WASPs, the Jewish, the Irish and Italian Catholics, the Japanese and Chinese, the Caribbean, Mexican, South America and beyond, all immigrated to America to receive racism, prejudice, and difficulties. And then of course, to dish the same racism onto the next wave of immigrants.

Afraid of letting African-American children go to school with white children. Afraid of Japanese people during World War II. Afraid of Muslims, no matter how many generations they’ve lived here, how peaceful and kind they are. We allow fear to prevent us from treating the people who need it most with kindness.

This racism is a choice. Withholding opportunities and access to our wealth is a choice.

Right now, America is saying to the world “we see you in crisis, we see you desperate, we see your children homeless, crying, starving, with nowhere to sleep. We will not help.” It’s a choice to see the world divided into impermeable lines. To see ourselves as rightful owners to the resources we were given at birth, rightful beneficiaries to the wealth of our “nation.”

Instead of helping, sharing, opening, and choosing love, we are choosing withholding. And the cycle continues, a world where there is not enough, a world where greed, fighting, and fear are the norm.

It’s our choice to look at the benefits we’ve had with gratitude and appreciation, and then choose to share what we have, to open our minds.

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How close does a crisis have to come to our own doorstep before we react?

 

Look at my life. Am I perpetuating the cycle? What can I do to override? I may not be able to directly feed a Syrian refugee starving in southern Europe, but how can I serve those less fortunate than me in my family, my neighborhood, my region, my state, my country? It is our small actions of openness, sharing, tolerance, patience, and generosity that can spread love and healing throughout our country so that we as a nation no longer turn away from others in need and instead can use our position of privilege and wealth to help others, throughout the world, regardless of race, religion, or class.

Here are some excellent organizations to support in helping the Syrian refugee crisis:

Carry the Future: providing child carriers for women with small children trekking by foot

Karam Foundation: providing aid for women and children who are trapped in Madaya, Syria without food or basic necessities

Small Projects Istanbul: provides education and community building for Syrian refugees in Turkey

4 Comments

  1. Beautiful and thoughtfully written Katina. I still believe, in spite of the racial horror show being exhibited in the current political comedy-drama, that most people care about others, regardless of race. We are all one. In their own small ways, there are people making a difference in others lives. It is unfortunate media seems to give racism and bigotry the most attention, which dangerously perpetuates it. (BTW – Washington’s governor has been one of the most outspoken about the refugees, our state’s doors are open wide. Did you read his piece in the New York Times?)

  2. I loved this post/writing so much. What you’re saying here carries so much resonance.
    You’re writing on “nations” reminded me of Benedict Anderson’s ‘Imagined Communities’; [the nation] “is an imagined political community – and it is imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign.” Sadly, and as you rightfully pointed out, it is precisely these imaginings that create not only the justifications but also further a righteous destiny which instills racism in all its forms.
    Moreover, this hypocrisy and racism as evident and pervasive to this day as it ever was.
    And yet, in agreement with you, it is a choice.
    Thank for your writings, Katina.

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