My America is Your America by April Cox

Your America is the land of the free and the brave,
The best nation on earth.
My America is the land of hatred,
the land of racism, and sexism and status quo.
Your America is the home of the American dream,
Where hard work determines your reward.
My American is a land of disperit inequality
And a distinct lack of social mobility because the rules are rigged.
Your America is the land of social equality and long life,
But can’t you see? This is a mere illusion.
My America is a land of rape culture
And maternal death rates rival those in third world countries.
Your America is one without slavery or bigotry,
All individuals are welcome.
My America is one where everyone must look, act, be
As they are expected, or they are not accepted.
So far, I’ve spouted nothing but rhyme and rhetoric,
Yet everything I’ve spoken is true.
We’re taught to believe that America is the land of the free,
And the home of the brave. But I’ve seen another side.
What freedom is it really when you cannot disagree
with another person without being attacked?
What freedom when the right to live or the expectation to protect another is now
a matter of civil liberty, giving one person the right to harm another?
Status quo. Stereotypes. Bias.
They. are. Everywhere.
If a women is assertive, she is aggressive, when a man is merely assertive.
If a woman takes charge, she’s bossy, whereas a man is just the boss.
Race hates race; sex hates sex; age hates age.
We just blame the other,
and it goes around and around
In the name of what?
My America is your America.

It’s the America you’re too blind to see.
Because we are blind,
And my greatest prayer is to see.

~

While I can mostly only speak to my experience as a woman who does not behave as many people believe a woman should, the overall theme of my poem is the assertion that as a nation we are blind to others’ experiences. While every line of the poem is heart felt, I feel the most emotion regarding the last two lines: Because we are blind,and my greatest prayer is to see. 
We cannot hope to change things on any level if we cannot see that there is a problem. Covert sexism is one of the most hidden forms of bias and stereotypes in our country. While our country does its due justice to show its hatred toward any number of individuals and categories, many people like and support sexism and even see this as a good thing–including those most affected by it–women. 
I stand with Black Lives Matter, with the LGBTQ+ community, with immigrants, and the handicap, but at the heart of everything, I am a proud feminist. I know that there are many other issues, but I do not feel I can adequately stand for them in the same way that I can for women’s rights because it is not my experience. Here I speak to my experience, and I hope that the message in my poem resonates with the message of your website. 

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