Tensions rose as people stared at the TV screen, at each other. As eyes met, the questions began, and so did the ridicule. Comments spread like wildfire, catching everyone’s ears as they tore through neighborhoods, social media platforms, and families. Unsettling, even hidden opinions quickly rose to the surface, quickly became the center of attention.
“This isn’t who we are.”
“It’s so embarrassing.”
“What a poor representation of America.”
The list could go on and on.
She stares out of her window, trying to make sense of it all, but burning with an anger she wasn’t expecting. What do they mean by these comments? Why was this so surprising? She glanced down at her skin, her beautiful black skin, illuminated by the lamp next to her bed. Funny, she thought to herself. I don’t think this attempted coup, this violence, is very surprising at all.
“If you don’t like America, leave and go home.”
“God, ‘you’ people are a handful.”
The words echo like voices in her mind, seemingly unfit to survive inside a person’s soul. They linger, their damp, bone-chilling aggression ringing loudly within her. The Capitol wasn’t a surprise because these daily comments aren’t a surprise. The America I know so well, she thought, was exactly what the TV was playing over and over again. The shame of who we really are stings every day, not just on the days it makes news.
If this isn’t us, then why am I treated the way I am? No, in fact, this is us. An America of repression and racism, of hate and irrelation.
This is the “us” she sees every day. Why must it be broadcast for everybody else to finally see it, too?
We are the same America as we’ve always been. How then, will we change?
Abha Karnick is a south Minneapolis resident with East Indian roots who graduated from Hamline University in 2019. Her passion lies in storytelling and finding moments to capture.