Both my husband and I are 100% American and 100% New Yorkers. We were born and raised in the borough of Brooklyn (‘Fuhgeddaboudit’), my mother was also born and raised in the borough of Kings. We are proud Americans. I’m not sharing this due to post election or the drama that continues to ensue. I’m sharing this because my beautiful daughter is not very proud to ONLY be American.
We live in a community with people spanning the globe. From North America to Asia and everywhere in between. When the school has flag day children come clad in the colors of their homeland, proudly displaying their culture. My daughter on the other hand doesn’t want to wear red, white and blue, or represent old glory.
I get it. I understand why she feels this way. I understand why she can’t identify with a country that often displays its disdain for her beautiful mocha skin and tightly coiled hair. I understand that she doesn’t feel a connection with the America that we have today, the America that is bubbling over with hate. She often asks if we can take a genetic test to see where, in Africa our family comes from and we will one day but I strive to encourage her to still love America.
I ask her to look around at all her friends that represent their homeland proudly and ask herself this question, why do you think they want to be here in America? Why do people die crossing over to this country? They come because of opportunity, they come because of freedom, they come because they can be whoever or whatever they want to be. They come to open businesses, they come for safety, law and order and freedom of religion. I explain to her that for those reasons alone she should be proud to be an American. Our current political and social climate doesn’t help my case much but I still believe what I share with her. I do love America and love being an American (especially a New Yorker).
Where are you from? How do you celebrate your nationality and how do you share it with your children?