AMERICA -- Here is what you really are

We have been showing you what America is capable of the whole time because what it lets happen to the least of us is what it IS. And this country has been letting the worst happen to the least since, literally, day one of America. We weren’t predicting poll results or forecasting the political landscape, but we have spent our entire existence here telling you with our doubled words, our marching bodies, our loud music, our geometrically impossible hair, our sagging pants, our gold-gilded smiles, our thickening cuisine, our bended knees, and our dead children what you are. By what you are I mean what you are capable of. By capable of I mean by what you have done, what you have always done, what you have done from day one, what you have done so well you don’t know when you’re doing it. America is blackout drunk on oppression. It commits oppression so consistently the sun cannot set on its mighty works. America commits oppression so flawlessly you can’t even see its hand move when it does it. And when you do not change, what remains is what you are. 

We have been showing you what you are capable of. That is how we tell you what you are.

We have been telling you the whole time. We have been kneeling and preaching and writing and painting and singing and Ted talking and YouTubeing and cooking and tweeting and code-switching the truth to you for four centuries. We have been telling you the whole time what you are. You see someone taking a knee all the way to the exit door of their career and you say, “Well, that’s rude.” We see someone take the same knee with the same consequences and know that it is attached to someone trying to tell you who you are, what you are capable of. It is someone reminding you that you are not clean, that there are no days off under oppression, that there was never a Sunday dance on a plantation better than freedom. Someone has always been taking a knee - or a fire hose or a bullet or a fist or a billyclub - to show you, America, what you are, and what you are not. 

You like to use math to point out how aberrant such behavior is, how only a minority of people act in the ways that undermine what we want to be as a society, that white supremacy is a minority game with shrinking returns, that America will win in the end because that’s how the numbers add up. Oppressed people do not use math to gauge America’s ability to do right. We look at what you do in the face of evil, how hard you blink, how quick you turn away, how swiftly you move on. We look at the body still in the street or the child still in jail with no representation or the recourse that never ever comes after the police bullet. We look at what we have compared to what you have and how hard we had to work to get just that. We look at how you turn our pain into celebrations; how facile your idea of diversity is; how you have turned our own cultures against us; how many times you use our destruction to amplify your gains, your hits, your headlines, your wallets.

We look at all of those things and more and show them to you, over and over. It is us telling you what you are capable of, how the very land you stand on is complicit. 

Because we have been telling you that this is what you are the whole time.