What Are You Thankful For?

There has been a lot going on in the news (and even more going on outside of news coverage). I have to say, on top of being mentally exhausted and emotionally drained from this seemingly endless string of unfortunate and tragic events (and stupid people screaming stupid, uninformed opinions about them), I’m feeling extra thankful this year. I am a relatively privileged individual, and I try my hardest never to forget that.

I mean, yeah, I’m a female, and I’m black, and I was born to a lower-middle-class family, so I’m far from the most privileged, but I honestly can’t complain. I never had to go hungry, ever. I always had a loving, supportive family and a roof over my head. My parents couldn’t pay for my college education, but I finished undergrad and grad — the former as magna cum laude, the latter with a 3.7 GPA. And I was always nourished. I’ve got my health.

Reading about Syria, Iraq, ISIS, terrorists, racism, Islamophia, or police brutality just hurts my heart. Being a U.S. citizen living on the mainland in a city too small to be targeted for attacks is something that crosses my mind often. I mean, yes, the U.S. makes me sick sometimes, but I’m safe (for the most part. Let us not forget the police impunity and trigger-happy bigots around here). I was in the 4th grade when 9/11 happened. I was terrified. And that attack happened miles and miles away, and no one I knew was hurt or killed.

But imagine attacks like that happening every week. What if car bombs and landmines were a daily worry? ISIS isn’t sending us photos of drowned refugee toddlers, saying “See this? This is what happens when you leave us.”

Guys, this is looking a lot like a remake of WWII and Cold War American culture. Many people don’t even seem to realize we’re being spoon fed fear-mongering propaganda. I’m still waiting for the 2015 edition of Duck and Cover. The only difference is that we welcomed Jews running from Hitler, but we won’t welcome Syrian refugees.

But Jasmine, what about sleeper cells? Terrorists disguise themselves as refugees! Muslims hate America!

Um. It’s waaaaaay easier for a terrorist to sneak into a country than for a terrorist to disguise himself as a refugee. Our screening process is pretty damn rigorous. And even if one happens to sneak by, there are tens of thousands of terrified, hungry, starving refugees running away from the same thing we’re trying to destroy: ISIS. 

And anyway, America is pretty good at breeding it’s own terrorists:

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The mass murderer behind the 2012 Dark Knight theater shooting.

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The 2012 Sandy Hook shooter.

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The KKK. ‘Nuff said.

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“All terrorists are Muslim!” Ok.

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This guy, the Virginia Tech shooter, was from South Korea. Does this mean we should ban South Koreans from coming to the States? (No. In case you were wondering, the answer is no.)

I could go on.

But Jasmine, you act like such a bleeding heart, but you probably wouldn’t take a refugee into your own home.

Yes. Yes I would, actually. And if I had the money (I’m talking $30k to spare), I’d support a family via this sponsoring program.

So, while you’re having your lovely feast this Thursday, be sure to really think about what all you have (and what some of you are trying to keep from others).

The holidays are about love and happiness and support. It’s time with your friends and family. It’s a time of giving. And that’s the only way we’re going to fight this vicious cycle of terror and hate. ISIS wants us to hate the refugees and turn them away. When that happens, some of the rejected refugees develop hatred for Westerners and turn to ISIS, where even more hatred is bred.

So give! To refugees, to the homeless, to the veterans, to rescued animals. As cliched as it may sound, love really is the only way we can win.

Happy Thanksgiving! 😀