I, Too, Am America

**Re: the title, Langston Hughes made that argument on behalf of African Americans decades ago (and of course, many other people made it before he did) and we're still being asked to verify?!**

When I first turned on the internet this morning and realized that President Obama had released the long-form version of his birth certificate, verifying that he was, indeed, born in Hawai'i, my first sarcastic thought was, "Bet some people are finally regretting how we stole Hawai'i now."

Beyond my sarcasm, though, I think the president has set a horrible precedent. I mean, on a grand scale, he just got pulled over and asked to show papers proving his citizenship. I could be optimistic, I suppose, and think, "Well, maybe now he'll take a firmer stand on the treatment of immigrants and other people of color who are harassed, badgered, interrogated and violated every single day over questions of citizenship. Maybe he'll have this as a reference point." But optimism is not my strong suit.

He is supposed to be, as we so smugly and arrogantly love to say, the most powerful man in the world. This should be a lesson as to how that power is negated? mitigated? birthergated? by race and the equation of "Americanness" with "whiteness." In releasing that birth certificate, President Obama not only validated current problematic (understatement!) immigration policies, he conceded to the historical demand for people of color to "prove" their citizenship and that they deserve access to political and civil rights.

And why? He can't really believe the people who even posit shit like this will ever be satisfied or accepting of his presidency. Instead of saying, "I'm tired of this shit, it's ridiculous, so here is proof," he should've been saying, "I'm tired of this shit, it's ridiculous, and I won't engage with it."

I don't understand how you validate the extremists in the "other" party while always scornfully chiding the so-called extremists (ahem, perhaps actual progressives?) in your own.

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