Askia MuhammadColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Am I an American

Because the current resident of the White House is so good at racist and Islamophobic insults (among others), he has raised his ugly behavior virtually to World Cup level, with his fans in the stands chanting at a recent rally in North Carolina in unison: “Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!” This was in reference to a member of the U.S. Congress, undermining not only her patriotism, but her very national identity.

Of course Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and her colleagues — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — known collectively as “The Squad,” are U.S. citizens. All but Omar were born in this country, and even Omar has been naturalized for a longer time than Melania, the wife of the current White House resident.

All of this raises the question which can now be properly asked of everyone in this country — and of course inquiring minds want to know: Am I an American?

Well, let me frame the question this way for myself: Am I American enough?

I can count back at least seven generations of my forbearers born in Mississippi, including an ancestor who fought for his own freedom and for the preservation of the Union with the U.S. Colored Troops in the Civil War. Is that American enough?

Donald J. Trump’s mother is an immigrant. Both of his father’s parents were immigrants. Two of Trump’s three wives are immigrants. How American is that?

Me? I attended U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School. I served for six years in the

Navy Reserve, receiving an Honorable Discharge as a Petty Officer Third Class in 1969. The Donald was diagnosed with fake “bone spurs,” so he got a military medical exemption and never served a day in uniform. Which one of us is American enough?

Now, I’ll tell you though, if being “an American” means having to swallow all that swill which comes out of the mouths of Trump, and Mitch McConnell, or even Chuck Schumer, then you can count me out.

Americans are so smug, and full of delusions of “Exceptionalism” and “manifest destiny” related to their whiteness that they are largely incapable of realizing that the true history of this country is littered with week-by-week, month-by-month, decade-by-decade accounts of cruelty and wickedness — slavery, suffering and death — and that such evil behavior comes with its own karma, its own reckoning. And since I’ve clearly been a recipient of American race-hate rather than the benefits of the white empire, now that the payback is coming due, don’t look at me and say “all hands on deck.”

Am I an American? Would I be 3/5 of an American? Am I a Dred Scott American, with no rights a white man is bound to respect? Am I a “separate but equal” American?

Am I a Trayvon Martin American, or maybe an Eric Garner American?

No, I’m a David Walker American, a Nat Turner American, a Nobel Drew Ali American, a Paul Robeson American, a Malcolm X American, a Jeremiah Wright American, a Colin Kaepernick American, an Ilhan Omar American.

No Compromise. No Sellout. And you better know that I (like members of The Squad) am not going anywhere Mr. Donald, the Dotard, not unless you go first.

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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