To be awake, to unify: the American challenge

This week, the Newswire asked, “What does it mean to be American?” Four students responded.

To be awake, to unify: the American challenge

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In this day and age, for me to be an American is to be aware.

I identify as an African-American male. That is enough for whoever is reading this to come to their assumptions about me. I have to know that I live in a nation where hatred is hidden behind Constitutional amendments, political agendas and slogans like “Make American Great Again.”

Despite my disposition, we should all be aware that hatred, pain and isolation truly know no color and if one community is hurting, it will eventually spill over to another and another and affect everyone. This is why it is our duty as Americans to learn to rid ourselves of anything and everything that impedes us as a people.

We live in a country where, if something is wrong or the people don’t agree with the direction we as a nation are headed, we can change it. However, we the people are divided. As Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided cannot stand alone.”

As Americans we constantly battle between holding on to our personal beliefs and accepting others. We believe we have to shut out any other different thought — but that’s simply not true.

Instead, we should weigh every different thought, perspective and approach to see if it is healthy for the human beings who make up this nation. When done justly, politics and social justice concerns become a monumental task, but that does not mean they are aims that should not be sought after, fought for and defended.

In the words of Audre Lorde, “It is not our differences that separate us, but our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.”

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Ihsan Walker is a junior criminal justice and Spanish double major. He is the President of the Black Student Association.