True patriotism, cont’d

From the chapter “We Are Quintessential Americans” in Touré’s book Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?:

Many people told me they sense in Black Americans an urge to reject America before it rejects us. I understand that. It makes perfect sense as a reaction to the past. Blacks have had insurrection in our blood because we’ve felt America’s power and hypocrisies pressing down on our necks. But is that reject-America-before-it-rejects-us ethos the most pragmatic answer for our future? Is the pessimism inherent in that ethos valuable? […]

We are American. And we are so American that rejecting this country means rejecting part of ourselves. A person who hates their family must also hate themselves, for they will surely manifest family traits. That’s a migraine-inducing sort of double-consciousness. “I don’t have hatred for white people,” Paul Mooney said, “because then I would have to hate myself.” Being an American who cannot fully love America means you cannot fully love yourself. “I gotta love these white brothers and sisters,” Cornel West said. “Even though I’ve seen some real sick ones. Gotta learn how to embrace ’em. And inspire ’em to be better.”

It may feel dangerous to love America but we must have faith. America’s story is still unfolding, its character is still forming. It’s a young nation, it’s like a teenager among nations, and we must retain hope that it will continue to mature because giving up on it is giving up on part of ourselves.

Previous thoughts on patriotism here.

(Image via Civil Rights Movement Veterans)


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