Thursday, March 5, 2009

What about the United States?

An African-American blogger based in Brazil recently wrote a blog post entitled Why I hate the United States . In his post, Mr. Holland noted :

Having travelled through seventeen countries and lived for long periods
of time in three, I can say based on my experience that while color-aroused
ideation and emotion exist in many places, still malignant color-aroused
behavior is more pronounced, consistent and dangerous in the United States than
it is anywhere else where I have lived. The likelihood of being stopped,
profiled, shot and killed by police in the United States simply for being Black
exceeds the likelihood present in any other country that I have visited or lived
in. Meanwhile, the likelihood of experiencing a color-aroused imprisonment is
higher in the United States than in any other country I have visited.

And that's why I hate the United States. I simply hate being perceived,
thought about, felt about and then reacted to principally on the basis of my
skin color. You don't know how terribly burdensome it is until you get away from
it for a while.

I understand that discriminations based on race, ethnicity, religion, and gender are still prevalent in the United States, as they are everywhere in the world; nonetheless, I had to disagree with Mr. Holland.

I have not heard of any country in which every citizen lives freely and happily without ever encountering some type of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. If the only problem people had to care about was how they are being perceived because of their skin color, the world would be a far better place. When tons of children die every hour from starvation, and women and children are being sold as sex slaves, and malaria ripes through entire villages in Africa, and people die trying to reach the coast of U.S., Mr. Holland is a very fortunate person. The American union still needs to be perfected, for sure, and it will take a long time to reach that place where every individual is valued for his/her inner strength, but I don’t know any other industrialized nation in which Barack Obama’s story is possible.


Alice B. said...

Also, this guy is probably not taking into account that his Americanness shields him from a lot of harassment when he is abroad. What if he was Black and Haitian in the DR? Or an undocumented African laborer who speaks poor French in French? Does he know what it is like to have a non-American passport and travel through Europe while coming from the 3rd world. His analysis is so simplistic. African-Americans really need to start seeing race through more than just the American lens. Sigh.

Pascale said...

I totally agree. I was trying to tell him that he got the red carpet treatment overseas because of his Americanness, but he's not buying it. I guess he can't really understand how spoiled he is. Maybe he should renounce his citizenship!

Alice B. said...

Yeah. Let's give him a Haitian or Senegalese passport next time he goes to France.

Alice B. said...

Maybe you should show him this:

Pascale said...

Thanks your the link! It's a real eye-opener!