We Weren’t Made in America.
We MADE America.
From: “In Times of Terror, WAGE BEAUTY”
The question of how human beings learn to be who they think they are has always fascinated me. So much of our understanding of human identity mirrors product development concepts, where we stamp humans by place of origin and date of manufacturing.
Origins the place one begins. This could be such a fascinating ecosystem of conversations. Sadly, it is now flattened to a nation state and color coded passports.
What a boring way of engaging human experience.
The effect of this mentality is most evident in those of us who either had the land of our origins invaded or were forced out of them. These series of events thrust us into a world where we are continually expected to explain ourselves our identity and our origin.
Those who’ve never lived in a body that is constantly under interrogation do not know how emotionally and mentally draining it is.
Yet the most tragic part of chronic interrogation is this - as long as we spend the vast amount of our days answering the questions being asked by others we have no time or energy left to ask our own.
Am I an American? What a boring question ask me if I’m a lover, a decent father a present son.
Am I British/ Frances? Australian? Was I manufactured her? Am I a bio-toy to have my country of origin embedded on my belly./
We are an ancient people, a mosaic of genes and dreams and all other human elements of beautiful beings who were stolen and occupied.
Where am I from. To be honest, due to erase of stories and language, I can only travel back so far. What I can tell you is this: even if we weren’t made in America, we made America.
-Mark Gonzales (In Times of Terror, Wage Beauty | Ch. 2)
Epilogue: On The Too Rarely Discussed Topic of Belonging.
I’ve always found it tragic when a society argues about immigration far more frequently than it discusses BELONGING. By doing so, it limits the depth and boldness of our national dialogue by never asking core questions like:
- What does it mean to truly BELONG somewhere and WHO gets to decide who belongs in a society?
- Do we discuss belonging as a question of law or social values?
- Is belonging a right, responsibility or both?
Once we answer those questions, I believe the answers to the immigration debate will come far more easier, and in vastly more imaginative ways.