I first moved to Nashville, Tennessee on July 2011, and moved away from May 2015-June 2016. And out of the four Fourth of July celebrations, I experienced direct racially charged comments three of those four times. Within patriotism, there is this allowance to also reject anything non-American, including other people.
One year in particular, I was sitting in what Nashville natives know as a “love circle” with a group of my friends. I was the only non-white person in my friend group. And a Latinx family sat nearby, I began to talk to them and discovered they were from Guatemala. It was a beautiful and civil meeting of two Latinx contexts. We were speaking Spanish during this exchange. Shortly after the fireworks started. Not five minutes into this lavish and showy display of American pride, a group of about seven people began to scream: “go back home!” to me and the family sitting nearby.
I say this again, at the core of your patriotism, there is whether intentional or not embedded rejection of non-American anything, including people.
I have felt this many times while trying to enjoy myself during YOUR guised patriotism amidst the celebration of colonialism. I have tried to stay quiet as you waved your terror flags that instill fear in many non-Americans. I have tried to let you enjoy your day. But the minute that your celebration and your unchecked privilege in living in the land of the free, at the price of my freedom as a third-world Latina, becomes a direct threat to my existence: I will come after you.
I come from a country that is still suffering, and will continue to suffer from U.S. intervention, at the price of corn and exportation of our local goods. I come from a country bleeding for your red, white, and blue. I come from a country that will never be what it used to be, because U.S. interventions are a normalized reality now.
It is not okay that I have a direct aversion to your holiday, because in the South patriotism is really another word for American superiority complex. It is not okay that I cannot enjoy my day and live my life, because on that day you are allowed to show your patriotism through pure and unadulterated hatred of my existence because I look distinctly different than your immigrant ass: because let us not forget who actually got here on a boat.
As a Latina trying to survive Fourth of July in the South, I have only a few words for my fellow compatriotas and hermanxs en la lucha: take care of yourself, because American pride has never done our raza any good. Celebrate however you have chosen to swallow the blow of colonialism. Mourn whatever and whomever you need to, who has died in our countries due to civil wars incited by American patriotism. On this day, hold yourself and your loved ones close, but mostly do not let them make you feel like a guest on our lands.
Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez is a writer, blogger and founder of Latina Rebels.