An immigrant’s perspective
These last two days have been despicable. As a first generation immigrant who moved here almost 20 years ago, what I have seen in the last 48 hours has been appalling. The amount of intolerance, hate, violence and accusations are more reminiscent of a war zone than of the country I have to come to appreciate and love.
As some of you may know, I am not a US citizen (yet). I am however a permanent resident who has lived in Dallas since 1998. When I hear songs like “I am proud to be an American“, especially around the July 4th independence day, I am filled with awe and wonder. Things like that make me want to become a part of this great nation.
But the hate, fear mongering and intolerance I have seen in the last 48 hours, culminating in the shooting last night in Dallas, is contrary to everything this nation stands for. I personally believe it is the consequence of all the movements with very unfortunate titles and hashtags that seem to promote separation. They seem to perpetuate and instill a sense of “us vs. them“.
I am talking of course of hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter, #GayLivesMatter, …. I fully agree and support the ideas and endeavors the organizations behind those slogans stand for. I fully support any organization that is advocating equal rights, equal treatment, equal support for any group it represents. But it’s the slogans and hashtags themselves that I have difficulty with.
And here is why. This country is one based on the truth that
“all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
This is a nation that pledges its indivisibility with
“liberty and justice for all”.
And unfortunately these slogans have the appearance of perpetuating some kind of distinction. Some kind of divisiveness. One might say this is not the case. But if one has to spend hours, multiple tweets, instagrams and pages of facebook posts to explain that there is no intent of separation, one might wonder whether the slogan is effective at communicating the ideas behind it. From a marketing perspective, and that is ultimately what these hashtags are, having to explain a single hashtag or slogan at length means you have picked a bad one. That’s just reality. The fact I have to follow up a slogan with an explanation, shows how inefficient the slogan is.
Instead of promoting equality, I fear these slogans do nothing but increase an ‘us vs. them‘ environment. Black against cops. Cops against blacks. Straights against gays. Christians against Muslims. It continues to instill the sense we are not all in the same boat. It perpetuates a feeling and sense of not belonging to this one great nation. It indicates one belongs to a sub-group within this nation and that identifying with this sub group is more important than identifying with the larger whole of the United States of America. It’s creating a Divided Sub-cultures of America.
Hence I ask all of us to wake up. Don’t perpetuate the hate. Don’t let social media, or any other media for that matter, influence you to use hashtags promoting a sub-culture. Love your neighbor. Be he/she black, white, yellow or red. Gay or straight. Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Atheist. For centuries this co-existence and tolerance are what makes this country great in the eyes of the foreigner. And you’re destroying it. Not ISIS, not terrorists, not corrupt politicians, nor crooked or abusive cops. You. An American. You and you alone are destroying the fabric of this country by preaching divisiveness and intolerance. You are wrecking the one nation, with equality and freedom for all in which each of us enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If we are trying to address police brutality or inequality, why not use #EqualityForAll, #StopPoliceBrutality or #HigherPoliceStandards.
But if we are trying to come together as a nation, promote #OneCommunity. Tweet #UnitedWeStand. Instagram #UnitedStates. Because it’s not politicians who will make this nation great. It’s us. And the sooner we stop the divisiveness via social media, the better we will all be for it.The sooner we become #OneCommunity, the better it will be for the United States of America.