Drop The “I” Word

Black Panther is Undocumented

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Drop The "I" Word

Brooklyn, NY

WHAT? Yesterday on the good ole’ Twitter I tweeted that I wanted to interview illegal immigrants on their stories, on their dreams. Someone replied to me with the following words: #DropTheIWord and call us undocumented. Upon further research, I found there is a whole movement about this. To not call us (YES, myself included) illegal. Instead, we are undocumented. We just don’t have papers. But for the right of mankind, we have every right to exist, every human being is legal to be here on planet Earth. This got me thinking. Do we really need to soften the blow? Illegal v. Undocumented. On one hand I get it. The whole world outside of the US calls us undocumented. It is once we come here, the media, our politician, they are quick to call us illegal. Sure, it can sting. On Super Bowl Sunday, when Kelly Clarkson was singing the national anthem, in a room of 40 people I alone stood up and put my hand over my heart. Some started laughing, some saying “you are illegal, you don’t even belong in this country”…in a joking matter…but it does hurt. Maybe I am trying to prove myself by standing up during the national anthem. Maybe the fact that I understand our American political and government system more than my peers is just me proving that I truly belong here. As one friend said to me once “you are the most American unAmerican.” But you know what. Sure, illegal hurts. But I am going to stick with it for now. Maybe the more it hurts us, the more we shall do something about it. Undocumented sounds like not a big deal…nothing needs to be done. And I will be damn if that is true. Something must be done. There’s something illegal going on. Something illegal to no fault of ours. It hurts like hell. It limits us. But something will be done to make this legal. So ya, I will drop the “I” word from time to time. And I will use it from time to time. Let’s make a point. I am an Illegal American. I am an undocumented American. But I am American.

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