I, Too, Am America.

by: Ashley Roman

I've been reading the news, watching presidential debates, seeing people's political Facebook statuses, and my heart feels unsettled.

People are speaking from a place of fear and not of love. Many are throwing ideas out there like all Muslim's should be deported until further questioning or Muslim immigration should not be allowed. People are making jokes about needing to build a fence to keep the Arabs out and not the Mexicans. Some are spreading anger and wanting to act with un-just violence.

Terrorism is real but to say that all Muslims need to be under scrutiny or leave the countryis like saying all adolescent white males who like video games are potentially mass-shooters and we should probably deport them until further notice.

If you haven't heard, there have been over 52 school shootings this year. The majority by white, middle-upper class males.

That is tragedy. Terrorism is tragedy. This world is full of tragedy. How can we combat this? I don't know. I do know it's not by actingfrom a place of fear or ignorance.

Every year in American history there have been racial tensions. Every decade there's a new group that's ostracized and stereotyped.

Native Americans were originally considered savages.

In 1902 Chinese immigration was made permanently illegal.

When Irish immigrants first came to the United States they were ridiculed and forced into slums.

In the 1920's Germans were seen as an evil threat, people were afraid they had radical political beliefs and would be the downfall of American society as we knew it. Some were deported, arrested, and probably tortured.

Jim Crow laws were practiced from the 1880's until 1965, and African Americans were seen as lesser for centuries. Some people still think this way.

Today we are fearful of illegal immigrants who are "stealing our jobs and corrupting our county" because they want a better life for their precious children and can't afford the legal application process. (I met a Guatemalan woman who has applied for a visa for her elderly mother at least three times, each time it was denied. She might not be able to afford to pay to apply again.)

Now we want to deport Muslims because we have fear they are weakening our great nation: just like the Native Americans, the Chinese, the Germans, the Blacks.

I work with Muslims. I buy groceries from them. I wave to them on the street while we are walking our dogs together. I take Zumba class with Muslim women; we talk about how much we would rather be eating french fries. I see them without their scarves on and feel like I know them in a secret way. They are real people with real lives.

I am aware I am not a military strategist. I don't understand all politics and I don't mean to say all people feel this way. I know some who do, and I can assure you know someone like this too. Someone who is acting from fear and not love.

We need to do our part to act with love and not give in to the fear and frenzy; that is the goal of terror-ism after all.

Find a way to rise above this battle. I believe that's what Jesus would do.

This poem was written during the Harlem Renaissance but it still speaks volumes today:

I, Too


I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, Ill be at the table When company comes. Nobodyll dare Say to me, Eat in the kitchen, Then. Besides, Theyll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed I, too, am America.

Find the poem here.