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We’ve Bent Backwards

August 19, 2017

One thing often overlooked by all this discussion over white supremacy and nationalism is that as immigrants to the United States who strive to be accepted by this country, we’re constantly bent over backwards.

We’ve bent over backwards to be like you. To live like you. To adopt your values and make them ours. To contribute to this great society. Because this is what this country needs of us. It’s the great expectation that once we move to the Promised Land, we must aspire to the standard that previous generations of immigrants set so our children can get ahead in life.

We’ve went out of our way to learn English, to work hard, to aspire to an American Dream they never even had a chance to write, all because that’s what expected of them.

Many didn’t even have a choice. I know the word “immigrant” will never encapsulate the experiences of African Americans who were trafficked to this land and who have suffered greatly throughout the generations. This word will also never capture the experiences of Native Americans, the true “sons and daughters of the soil” who were forced against their will to accede to this foreign culture that you’ve imposed. They must be heard too.

And yet, we still want to be accepted by you, to prove that we can be the very people you said we should be. So, to do that, we bend over backwards to show that we are deserving to be called Americans too.

But, now that we’ve bent over backwards for you and proven our worth, to meet a standard that you people have set, you now have the gall to claim that we will never be like you?

Seriously, those who were protesting in Charlottesville last week can be so dense. We as much as possible try to aspire to your “white” American standard, no matter the color of our skin. Many of us work hard to improve our circumstances, teach our children the values of freedom and democracy, speak English so we can be better at it, and learn to love this new-found land while respecting and honoring our places of birth.

And yet, even after adopting your norms, after making assimilation our goal to be accepted in this country, we’ll never be good enough for you?

People seem to forget that our very existence in this country validates white privilege, because our presence here means to be like you.

How so? When you move to our countries of origin, you’re not compelled, not even an iota, to aspire to our cultural norms. In many of these countries, mine included, you’re treated like royalty, and while you can choose to learn about our cultures and try to live like us, many more of you don’t, and we don’t require you to. Our culture is “exotic”, and learning about it is just another feather on your cap.

But turn the tables around. When we move to your countries, we have no choice but to be like you. This is how we get ahead, and we deeply know this. You tell us “Jump!”, and we ask “How high?” without a quiver, because we know that this is a matter of life and death.

All this talk of “white genocide” and “white power” and “white supremacy” misses that. If we’re going to break it down in its most basic terms, it’s that your culture will outlast us all, even our own original cultures. Why do you think that by the time the third generation of immigrants comes around, they’re all English speakers with nary a recollection of their original immigrant backgrounds? You think this was entirely their choice?

The very fact that we speak English, go to McDonald’s, dress like you & aspire to an American Dream that you set is proof of your privilege, because you’ve had the pedestal to dictate to us how we should be like you. We’ve followed those dictates to a “T”, and then some. And we’re not allowed to fail, because we know what happens when we do.

Yet, when we judge you from that very standard, you fail. You’re not the America I nor other immigrants know. We know America as a loving, kind place where people of all creeds, of all colors, of all walks of life can belong, coexist and live as one.

We know America as a peaceful, tolerant, accepting society, where differences make us stronger and where our history is reconciled by what we know the future can and will bring. And by that very standard, with your beliefs that are fundamentally incompatible with the spirit of this nation, you fail. Bigly. (That goes for you too, “Mr. President”. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.)

There will always be room for discourse. I want to understand your pain and frustration in a nation that in many ways can be profoundly broken. But how can I if you hate my guts with a passion? How can you make me understand if you can’t even see me as your equal?

You want me to understand you? Go further than we do. Bend over backwards like us to understand our place in this country, and make it right. Make it right so that we can truly build an America we can be proud of, where we can all hold hands, and where race unites us, not divides us.

Otherwise, you deserve what’s coming. Your hate makes you untermenschen, no matter what you say or do. And you deserve to be exposed for the intolerant, hateful, petty bastards that you are. If anything, we will always be stronger than you, because we’ve escaped through depths and circles of hell much worse than your petulant chants of “blood and soil”.

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