It is no secret. I love my adopted country. I choose to live here. I choose to raise my child here. I choose to invest here. I choose to donate here. I choose to deploy my talents and gifts here. Right now, I am heartbroken with America.
To have a young white man walk into a church and spend an hour praying with the black people inside and then proceeding to shoot them down breaks my heart. Such sacrilige in a historic African American institution breaks my heart. To have our home-grown Taliban destroying the fabric of our society breaks my heart. To have hate crime of this magnitude in my family breaks my heart. I feel like my entire family is unravelling. Like when my brother died. Like when my father died. Twenty-two years, my family has lived in grief. I understand. From Selma to Sandy Hook to Fort Hood to Baltimore and Charleston, my family is killing itself from inside. And there are still who believe that our gun massacre in Texas where Americans killed and maimed each other will make ISIS and other terrorists scared of us. Such blindness breaks my heart. In this blindness lies the core of our family’s dysfunction.
Like every family, along with our strengths and gifts, we in America have our own dysfunction, chequered histories, and terrible secrets. Open secrets that we like to pretend do not exist. Secrets like racism we want to push under the rug like the Catholic Church did with its systemic pedophilia. Secrets corrode families from within. We do not need terrorists from outside killing us.
A white man walked into a historic black church and killed black people. This is racism. Let us not pretend it was merely one person’s mental illness. It is the sickness of us all. Rapists in India reveal a deep-seated patriarchy which is increasingly threatened and made insecure. Racists in America reflect a deep-seated system of white privilege and racism which doesn’t want to give. At the heart of it, this is a terribly human crime, not merely American one. Except we can get guns more easily than any other western, industrialized country. We need to be brave.
We need to be brave. Brave enough to acknowledge the secret. Can we be brave enough to face ourselves in the moral mirror? And ask tough questions of ourselves. Are we doing enough for the weak? Are we doing enough for the disenfranchised? Are we protecting our most vulnerable? What kind of education are we providing our young people? Are we doing enough to change?
Secrets kill a family. Our family deserves better. Our society deserves better. Our children deserve better. Our world deserves better. Let us stop pretending.