Dear Amerika

Image courtesy of the NOISE Art Space.

Image courtesy of the NOISE Art Space.

I remembered your FBI interrogating my father at the U.S./Mexico border when I was 11. I remembered the rampage that occurred at the Wisconsin Sikh temple, which left 6 innocents dead. I remembered being told I was ugly because I am dark. I remembered my father telling me he was casually called a “sandnigger” one day. I remembered being made fun of because I adorned a bindi at school. I remembered being chosen to be violated in the TSA scanner in the airport, mortified that the man behind the computer screen had access to my body. I wanted to prove that I was a part, not apart, of you. My South Asian friend and I were discussing the Boston Marathon Bombings, and he admitted to me that he thought that the perpetrator might be Muslim. That same thought reverberated with me since the incident occurred, but I would never outwardly admit it. I was so, so, scared. I was struck with influxes of personal experiences and overwhelmed with alienation.

My existence would move from the periphery to the forefront of your consciousness. I no longer facilitated white existence with my model-minority label; I threatened it. I would be identified not for the good that I’ve done but my potential to do evil; evil that is associated with nothing more than my skin. I was once invisible. My people had some of the highest incomes in the nation, excelled in STEM fields and had adequately conformed to whiteness. Now, I am hypervisible. I’m a target. Just ask the dead Abdulrahman al-Awlaki’s family.

Even at one of your “great” educational institutions, I had two balloons filled with bleach thrown at me. The intransigence of my existence has denigrated to potential terrorist, potential threat, potential bomb. Hundreds of hate crimes were committed against South Asians post-9/11. Hundreds of people who didn’t do a damn thing. Their only crime was wearing a turban, a bindi, a sari, and having brown skin.

Victims of the Wisconsin Sikh temple bombing consoling each other. Image courtesy of Frenchamerican.org.

Victims of the Wisconsin Sikh temple bombing consoling each other. Image courtesy of Frenchamerican.org.

 

When people say racism doesn’t exist, they are blinded, they are blinded by the privilege and high property value that their skin possesses; they are blinded by the whiteness that their skin caresses. They are blinded by the colorblindness that has been instilled in the amerikan anti-conscious. As I hear “terrorist” more and more, and “Muslim” more and more, and “bomber” more and more and “God Bless amerika” more and more, I internalize it more and more. Why is it that my amerikan flag tank top, memorization of the pledge of allegiance, and investment in cowboy boots, Shiner beers, Ford cars, and Fight Club not enough for you? Why are my phenotypical traits that aren’t Eurocentric the only thing you notice? As long as you have a black president, send out drones to Pakistan, missionaries to Africa, and invest more in the military than any other country, you think you’ve fulfilled your duties. As long as there are men like Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, Herman Cain and Bobby Jindal, you will always be justified.

You, amerika, are the real terrorist; you birthed the FBI, the CIA, and the KKK. You’re a terrorist who’s committing genocide against colored bodies. You proudly display your fifty white supremacist stars, which bathe in the beautiful, blue, tears of my colored sisters who grieve over the red stripes of blood belonging to my colored brothers. You’ve scared us out of our own identities, but we can’t run from ourselves.

Sincerely, Mirusha Yogarajah

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