|American flag made out of recyclable plastic by artbikemike on Flickr. Love this.|
Seeing the flurry of patriotic statements about "never forgetting" and the associated flag-filled images on Facebook gave me that same uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach that I felt in 2001. So I wrote this as my status:
12 years later, I'm still uncomfortable when I see all the 9/11-related patriotism and statements. Yes, it was a horrible act of violence. But I will also never forget being viewed by my fellow Americans with distrust just for being brown and looking "like them".I'm sure, in my 900+ Facebook "friends" there were those who thought this was inappropriate to post, or thought it was reasonable collateral damage for what "they" did to us. Thankfully they kept their thoughts to themselves. (I've unfriended some already for making offensive comments about Lunar New Year, racial slurs against our president, and general assholery after the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin verdict.)
Yesterday a friend told me that the new Miss America is Indian-American. I was stunned, and even though I think beauty pageants are stupid, sexist and outdated, I was just a little bit thrilled. I've written before about how I feel invisible in popular culture.
As it turns out, the "article" he linked was actually a collection of really ignorant and racist tweets posted after Nina Davuluri's win was announced. You know, the usual stuff calling her a terrorist, foreigner, blah blah blah.
I'd love to say I was surprised to see them, but I'm not. You see, I grew up in Western Pennsylvania in the 80s. It was mostly white and Catholic, neither diverse nor liberal, and the polar opposite of where I live now. As a child I was taunted for the color of my skin, my parents' religion, my "weird" name, told to go back to my country (uh, born in Pittsburgh, thanks), called "camel jockey", etc.
My experience is sadly not unique, as my friend N wrote so eloquently yesterday. While I can thankfully say that I really don't encounter racism anymore, many still do.
I'm rolling my eyes at CNN and other news media picking up the racism/ignorance angle and being so shocked about it. I mean really, are there people who think this stuff doesn't exist in our "enlightened" times?
But another part of me is thrilled that (at least some) mainstream media is calling it out as unacceptable and defending Nina Davuluri's "right" to be chosen as Miss America. (As stupid as I think the whole idea of Miss America really is.)
So maybe the times, they are a-changin'. Just a little.