By: Tracey Liu
When I was five years old, I believed that America was a beautiful place. The outdoors were tinted with the fragrance of freedom and of belief, while the sun always shone, seemingly to bless us with its very presence. When I was younger, I had believed that America, with it’s very righteous and democractic thoughts, was the living definition of beauty.
As I slowly grew up, America showed that, while it could still be beautiful, it could also be frightening. Where I might have once been shielded away from the horrors, I was now thrust right into the middle of it, tearing away my youthful images of the once brilliant masterpiece that was in my mind:
Discrimination against Asian-Americans is spiking up due to COVID-19.
Black Man Shot and Killed While Jogging.
66-year Old Asian Wounded While on Subway.
An Ugly Tornado of Islamophobia Has Reared its Ugly Head.
They kept coming. These ugly parts of America were exposing themselves little by little, breaking down the once beautiful images I had of the country. Those parts became demons - hungry for the hate, hungry for the negativity, hungry for the violence, hungry for the brutality.
The demons waged a war against us. We fought hard, but they fought harder. The sun shone above, while a beautiful blue sky reared its alluring head as if wanting to drive those demons, those hungers, out of the country. But to no avail. The demons continued to pollute the country, pollute our minds, pollute our thoughts, until finally, we weren’t even able to remember the foundations in which this country was built on.
A little girl once dreamed that America was beautiful. Yet when she grew up, she quickly realized that the beautiful parts of America were overshadowed by the ugly parts.
The ideas that we fought for; They were beautiful.
The freedoms that we won; They were beautiful.
But the ugly demons that reared their ugly heads overshadowed them.
The racist comments.
The screams for violence.
The constant need to remind people that minorities do not have the same privileges as others, because of their beliefs, their skin.
Though her dream has crumbled piece by piece every day, she still carries the same hope inside of her:
That one day, America will be beautiful.
That one day, minorities will not be oppressed, will not be discriminated against, will not be brutalized, will not be waged against, will not be shot for no reason, and will be accepted.
And though this hope is still there, and though she has come to terms with the truth of the situation, she hopes everyone will see the truth too:
America is beautiful. But the beauty is terrifying.