My Coloring of America


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Red.

An open wound, a gunshot, a hand leaving a loud, angry mark on a pale face. Red, the color of states that people look dismissively down upon, while the constituents trapped inside scream for help. Red, the color of blood. Blood that was spilled during the founding of this country, that is still spilled today.

Blue.

Men in uniform, using sticks and tear gas to harm, to brutalize, to control. Blue, the color of the oceans dripping with six-pack rings and bags that choke and maim. Blue, the color of tears as parents bury their young children and young children bury their parents. The slave patrol rears its ugly head as the past and present collide, and citizens question the goodness of a group with roots in oppression.

White.

A hooded figure on horseback, carrying a cross. Not dead, not gone, not from an era long ago, but very much alive. Militants are rallied, the troops called in to contain, to squash, to crush the rebellion. White, the color of rope used to murder and hang. White, the color of proper, righteous, dominant, supreme.

Green.

Humans work to their deathbeds, hands grabbing for more, souls never satisfied with what they already have. Green, the color of envy, of greed, of the capitalistic carousel that keeps spinning and spinning even as it buries hundreds into the ground. Green, the color of the greatest reward of all.

The American Dream promises success and reward for a lifetime of relentless determination of goals and backstabbing ambition.

But not for you.

Your skin is too dark.

Or for you.

The headscarf you wear identifies you as an outsider, as someone not welcome here.

Or you.

You stole bread from a grocery store years ago to feed your siblings and it follows you around, a mark branded on your forehead for everyone to see and immediately label you as a criminal.

Not for you.

You dared to fall in love with someone of the same gender.

Only for those who fit the mold of the Red, Blue, White and Green America.  

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