“Happy white peoples Independence Day. The slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks”- Chris Rock.

They gained their independence while they stripped theirs of ours. Some of us are not free. Celebrating this day erases indigenous peoples and the sovereign nations they have been citizens of since before white settlers colonized these lands.

In an age of mass incarceration and institutionalized racism, few can call themselves free. I am torn about celebrating this holiday.

Why do I feel foreign living in this country when I am a US citizen?

Today, I saw flags waving outside of trucks along side Trump flags. Seeing this almost all day outside my job was exhausting. I have tried to stay quiet while these flags continue to instill fear in many non-Americans. I had a conversation today with a fellow POC whom I would talk to at PSU. She asked me if this town was racist. Not just racist, but really racist. Being born and raised in a small white town, I told her how hard it is to walk the streets here. POC cannot enjoy themselves without getting stared down. Anyone who does not look like them is a threat.

So yes. Sorry I don’t want to celebrate with red, white and blue colors. Sorry I’m not saying “happy 4th” to every costumer at work. Because American pride has never done our raza good. I know that.

The looks white elderly people give me everyday says it all. It screams out at me. It makes me feel like an outsider in a country I was born in. Speaking my mother tongue makes me feel shameful because “this is America, speak English” is written all over your faces. So I am quiet so you can celebrate your independence, your freedom. So yes, it’s 4th of July and I am woke.

“I wonder about how we are celebrating a country whose identity is inherent in making immigrants fit one mold, squeezes out cultural uniqueness because anything else is a threat”  YEMZ