Diversity Not Division
This blog wont be used for political reasons, I am so not a political writer. However, now-a-days we are inundated with news of the God awful race for the oval office; its kind of hard not to form an opinion about it. And this blog is called The Intersect for a reason, no matter what happens our identities will ebb and flow or sometimes even collide with the world around us.
That being said, this post will be somewhat political. Why you ask? Because I was watching the DNC last night and it was a phenomenal night; even with the insurgence of Bernie supporters. What I saw in the DNC last night that differed from the RNC was a plethoria of people of differing races, ethnicities, physical ability, genders, sexual orientation celebrating their identities and being Americans too. I mean lets talk about the people who took the prime speaking slots. Sen. Cory Booker, the first African-American senator from New Jersey. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the 3rd woman in history to keynote a Democratic Convention. Bernie Sanders, Jewish presidential candidate. And of course the ever so lovely, intelligent, sophisticated, hair laid by the gawds, first African-American FLOTUS. The Democratic party has built itself to be the antithesis of the Republican Party; one that is welcoming and embraces all differing backgrounds.
Fun fact, I like commentary and op-eds. I loved it back in the day when you could buy dvds with the special features and you'd hear how the movie came together and why certain decisions were made. My favorite part of the NBA Finals season are the after-game interviews and watching Steven A. Smith and Skip Bayless argue over whether Kevin Durant is a menace to society (he's not). Same applies for politics, I mostly watch CNN and Anderson Cooper with his line up of political commentators discussing whether or not the candidates made their points, spoke too loudly, or wore the right pant suit. Typically on this roster are 1 or 2 conservative contributors. I always feel bad for that conservative contributor; on networks like CNN or shows like Real Time with Bill Mahyer they always get picked on, like that last kid who got picked for dodgeball.
Well last night all the commentators were applauding the Democrats for demonstrating inclusivity at the convention; all but the conservative representative Jeffery Lord. Of course he couldn't give the DNC credit for anything and stated that the Democrats are guilty of identity politics, the jist being that if people continue identifying by race, gender, etc it further divides us; basically all lives matter. What I say to this Jeffery Lord, I am first and foremost a Haitian American. When I think of an American the image that comes to mind is white, 2.5 kids, meatloaf, and excess. I didn't grow up eating meatloaf, I grew up eating rice, legume, and sauce pwa. Creole was spoken in my house and my father watched French news right after World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. On January 1st we celebrate New Years and Haitian Independence Day. Secondly I'm a black women. When I moved to Lincoln Center for grad school my first thought was, "this neighborhood is so white, where the hell am I going to get my hair done." At work I worry about being labeled the "loud black woman." Long before the Trayvon Martin case, I remember my father wouldn't let my brothers out of the house without their shirts tucked-in with their pants sitting firmly around their waits. I didn't understand it then, but now I know that outside of our home my father couldn't protect us from the assumptions and biases of society.
Jeffery Lord, my America is not your America and that's ok; diversity doesn't divide us. If given the proper attention it can actually unite us. I loved seeing women and people of color on that stage because representation matters. I imagine little girls looking at Michelle and even Hillary, thinking that that could be them one day. The DNC is showing us that you don't have to change who you are or where you come from to be American. Everyone is welcomed and we're fighting so that everyone has a voice and the same opportunity. To me rice and sauce pwa is as American as hot dogs and french fries. Actually hot dogs are from Germany and french fries from France, so that's that.