My American Flag

On July 2, MoveOn.Org launched a voting campaign called My American Flag in which they feature writers, actors, activists and other creatives against their immigrant back stories, and a newly created flag–one that tells their story.

Of course, your girl was ecstatic as the message resonated with my message and my mission for this blog and current projects. Here is one of our problems here. These socially constructed racial categories are limiting! So much so that it shuts out the plethora of expressions of cultural identity which enriches the U.S. immigrants and their children are not evil enemies, but contributing citizens.

The NaySayers

Of course the campaign is not without critique. Let’s briefly entertain them.

The campaign is divisive.

I’d argue that disregarding the myriad of immigrant stories and cultural hyridization is to erase–that is whitewash brown ethnic narratives. How much more divisive can one get?

The project is silly because the entire American experiment is wrong.

Yes, the Brits, Dutch, French and Spaniards who arrived here in the early 13th century literally stole this land and used menaical weapons of spiritual, psychological, and economic warfare to dominate people groups and subject them into the submission they themselves were fleeing. Still today whiteness persists to silence the voices of marginalized people, and brown people specifically around the world. And yes, the idea of democracy, though flawed in practice, didn’t even take into consideration people who were not the majority. Nonetheless when TJ and dem wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men were created equal” they started a firestorm that immigrants have continued to enflame. The project was honorable. The implementation of the project was disgusting and shameful. Immigrants come to set the U.S. on the course to becoming its aspirational self.

This campaign goads white supremacist nationalist

Yes, but it doesn’t take much to goad them. The premise of White supremacy is that no other culture is worthy or can claim rights to a land which they occupy and control. From my perspective, this moment says, Ef that. This land now belongs to all of us. This campaign bulldozes through the white supremacist logic and makes space for all the different ways to be American.

My American Flag not only offers a visualization for the diversity which exists here in the U.S, but celebrates the contributions of that diversity. This movement also finds a place for the inbetweeners, the hybrids, the people caught between multiple lands to exist. It doesn’t force them to choose but allows them to be all aspects of their cultural selves.

This approach to identity is crucial to deconstructing classifications and the stereotypes that come with it. Can you imagine how much stronger we would be if we respected and embraced all the ways in which we are a melting pot of goodness!

Check out what these cultural disruptors had to say.

A great America acknowledges our collective wrongs…to build toward a future that values freedom & equality for every person on American soil.

I was raised to be as proud of being from India as I was to be born in the United States. Identity has no borders.

Being American to me means standing on the backs of immigrant parents’ sacrifices.

Our country is a work in progress, a poem still being written.

To be an American who is Black . . .is to constantly ave your heartbroken but you manage to find revolutionary joy anyway.

The commitment to making America is great by celebrating and making room for its diversity is the heart of this blog and my current personal mission. I will always be proud of what being inbetween offers me, chief among them a revolutionary perspective. Vote unapologetically.

Published by Tayo Banjo

We don't give stories enough credit these days Stories make the world go round. Stories make a person. Stories can make a life. I just want to tell my story and share other's stories so that one person who feels like no one understand them can look up, exhale and say "I knew I wasn't alone."

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