What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelly to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.
Daniel Inouye, Japanese-American infantry veteran, 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Quote from Ken Burns’ The War.
In WWII, a lot of the medics were pacifists or conscientious objectors who, though unwilling to kill, were ready to sacrifice their own lives to save others. They were paid on average $10 less a month than the men whose lives they were there to save.
Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.
And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.
If you were raised lovingly and told you were perfect and beautiful and loved and the best at all things, I am just jealous. You had it much better, and so you really should spread that love around as opposed to judging those like me who never had that, never knew what it was like and never could even imagine it. I could learn from you instead of feeling judged by you. Give the less loved and less cared for and less treasured a chance. If I had that opportunity, then my language and attitude might not be so offensive. If I had been told once when I was a little girl that I was pretty (other than when I was being sexually molested – that doesn’t count) it might have made me nicer. It just didn’t happen. So I had to make do and make up for it myself. And that made me a bit on the edgy side. It made me a bit of a bitch.
When someone says something negative about my face or body I will always and forever just completely lose my shit, because I have so much hatred in me, a violence that lies just beneath the surface of my delightfully illustrated skin. Being called ugly and fat and disgusting to look at from the time I could barely understand what the words meant has scarred me so deep inside that I have learned to hunt, stalk, claim, own and defend my own loveliness and my image of myself as stunningly gorgeous with a ruthlessness and a defensiveness that I fear for anyone who casually or jokingly questions it, as my anger and rage combined with my intense and fearsome command of words create insults meant to maim, kill and destroy."