There are many Americans claiming to be patriots who are anything but. The vast majority of these induviduals are not involved in Antiracism work on any level.
Here’s what I would like to say to those outside of today’s Civil Rights/Black Liberation Movement – You fundamentally misunderstand a whole lot about us Black and white Antiracists. Let me catch you up.
Antiracists are the real patriots.
This may be jarring to hear but it doesn’t make it any less true.
I get it. It’s hard to see us loud, in your face progressives for the real Patriots we are. After all (and let’s be honest here).. we’re annoying. Our existence makes yours less convenient. We’re pushy and loud. We argue with you. We challenge your authority. We push our moral imperative knowing full well that our triumph means the death of much that you hold to be self-evident.
And lately, we have been on your case more than ever.
We are over 1200 public health professionals strong in the CDC calling out your racism and discrimination.
We are hundreds of medical professionals deep, filling Capital Square to call for the dismantlement of racism in health care and the community.
But not just that.
We are in your clinics, hospitals, non-profits, Zoom meetings and board rooms demanding better from our health care system and our country. We do not accept your grandiose (yet decidedly empty) declarations sent out via company and school-wide email about how much “you care” and support our shared humanity.
Technically, we never believed you.
We see through you now, just as we always have.
But this time, things are different. This time, we aren’t letting you off the hook. We reject your empty promises designed to appease our sensibilities and quiet us long enough for you to re-manufacure your preferred status quo.
This Resistance only accepts your action.
What’s more, your action must be legitimate, sustained and financially backed – or you will keep hearing from us.
We Need to Change as Much as You do.
Please understand one crucial fact. We are not just disrupting you. We are also throwing our own bodies and spirit into the fire in order to destroy the machine of racism.
We Antiracists of all races are reading more, speaking more and feeling more than we ever have before. We are connecting to each other across racial lines in ways that were impossible to achieve while the majority of Americans stirred and slept beneath the fraudulent veil of philosophical “colorblindness”.
You see, on a spiritual level, we collectively realized the myth of our inherent racial divergence. With each passing day, we are becoming more and more aware and incensed about our racist social programming.
We know that none of us had a choice but to become racists. Not in this country or this world, which is indelibly organized around racial and economic hierarchies.
Becoming a racist in America is literally inescapable.
But now, we are also busy doing the work of shrugging off our own mental chains. We are learning to see that which is naturally invisible to our consciousness by design.
We, as Black, Indigenous and People of Color are shaking off and struggling against the myth of our own inherent inferiority to our white counterparts.
Meanwhile, white Antiracists are seeing clearly their role in upholding racialized oppression of BIPOC through their silence, inaction, fragility and efforts to center their emotional comfort over BIPOC liberation. White Antiracists are also beginning to understand themselves to be simultaneously good, decent human beings who are also violently racist.
This knowledge is breeding antiracist action.
All around us, white presenting Antiracists including Alexis Ohanian, Christene Barberich, Adam Rapoport, Leandra Medine are sacrificing their unearned power and privilege in radical ways to liberate others, despite the personal cost.
Antriacists are doing all of this because these beliefs and actions represent who we are at our core – as people and as a nation.
This is Just the Beginning.
We will continue to be bold and relentless in our quest to hold America to its highest founding principles. We will eat, sleep, breathe, bleed and die for the freedom promised to all of us, with the organizing understanding that Black and brown people are being actively excluded from America’s founding promise.
And so, as any true Patriot would, we Antiracist will strive to see realized the equal justice promised to us all of us under the authority of the U.S. Constitution.
We will not stop until Black and brown people are free too. It is this drive that makes us patriotic to our bones.
Don’t get me wrong – this is hard. We are tired as hell. We are poor. Our physical and mental health are decimated.
But we are not broken and we will not be slowed.
After all, our hearts are still beating – so hopeful blood still fills our veins.
We are still breathing, so we are still demanding change.
We are still standing, so we will keep kneeling.
Whether Black, brown or white, young or old, rich or poor, we share one core characteristic – We are rebels.
And we ain’t goin’ NOWHERE.
Together, we will continue to hold America to its original promise. We are brave enough to see the current reality of the failing American experiment and are patriotic enough to say – NO. This is not America. This will NOT be our country.
We are taking back control and changing America’s course from it’s current self-destructive trajectory.
We will not rest until we are the deeply multicultural nation. We will not stop until we push our goal of full emancipation for ALL people further than our brilliant but fatally flawed and racist founding fathers envisioned when we broke free from our original international chains in 1776.
We will achieve it just like our forefather’s did – by rebelling. That means that to we must struggle against racist ideas and policies with all we have inside of us.
We rebel against racism everywhere because it is what true Patriots do – stand up for Truth despite the personal cost.
We rebel in the spirit of the people of Saint Domingue during The Haitian Revolution.
We rebel in the spirit of Zanj slaves.
We rebel in the spirit of Nat Turner.
We rebel in the tradition of the Sons of Liberty through The Boston Tea Party.
We rebel in our hearts, in our minds and with out feet. We rebel through our words, through our wallets and in our souls.
We call for nothing less than a full Antiracism revolution, because we know that the dogged, relentless pursuit of racial and economic justice for Black and brown Americans is the only true way to make America great.
America is not living up to it’s full potential. To love America is to become enraged when our country does wrong.
Patriotism is not flags, pins or parades. Patriots are the tired, poor, and huddle-masses yearning to breathe free – and those raising hell to get them air.