Are You Patriotic?

I am not sure where I fit on the patriotism scale. For the first 21 years of my life, I would not have considered myself patriotic at all; I had not only seen the effects of injustice that plague this country, but also had lived in it. Between the gangs and the drugs, my neighborhood was a war zone, like many black neighborhoods, during the 1990s. There was nowhere to go, no way out. Why would I care about America when clearly America didn’t care about me?

But in 2009, America elected the first biracial President. I also traveled abroad for the first time (not counting a drive across the boarder near Detroit, where I had family, which didn’t require a passport at the time). The election of President Obama held so much weight in my mind. The country seemed “post-racial,” but 2014 and 2015 have shown that the racist nuts are still alive and well in America. My trip to Turkey and Jordan allowed me to reflect on my position in the World; while I was often mistaken as African because of my skin color, once I began to speak, I was automatically recognized as American. I loved being recognized as American.

While it is not clear how my shift toward patriotism came about, I can say that the pendulum is swinging back the other way with the intolerance of my fellow Americans. America was founded on some really shady principles: pretty much all forms of bigotry and free labor. Where do you fit on the patriotism scale?