Now That I'm Older

A reflection on how my American creed has developed over the last few years.

By Simran K. from Avondale High School in Michigan

When I was a little girl

I thought skin color didn’t matter

I thought “liberty and justice for all” rang true

I thought America was about equality

Now that I’m older

I know this country was built by exploiting colored people

I know that the police aren’t held accountable

I know that black lives don’t matter to everyone

When I was a little girl

I thought I was safe in school

I thought guns were only used by the police

I thought people had good intentions

Now that I’m older

I know that I’m never truly safe anywhere

I know the government cares more about the 2nd amendment than children’s lives

I know how easy it is for anyone to buy a gun

When I was a little girl

I thought that the only difference between girls and boys was what we looked like

I thought I had all the same opportunities as boys

I thought girls had just as good a chance of being president

Now that I’m older

I know I’ll make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes

I know how many men fuel their egos by looking down on women

I know how many times women around the world hear “you belong in the kitchen”

When I was a little girl

I thought every kid in school had a lunch

I thought the government helped those in need

I thought America was about making a better life and helping those around you

Now that I’m older

I know how many people go to sleep hungry every night

I know that for many, the “American dream” has become the “American nightmare”

I know that politicians visit places like Detroit only to gain publicity and leave them worse off than they were found

When I was a little girl

I thought Christopher Columbus discovered America

I thought we helped other countries

I thought that our founding fathers were admirable people

Now that I’m older

I know this country was built on the backs of slaves abducted from their homelands

I know that our anthem is more offensive than patriotic

I know that this land was stolen from Native Americans who were exploited and faced genocide

When I was a little girl

I thought everyone was welcome in America

I thought it was the government’s job to protect everybody

I thought that diversity is what made America great

Now that I’m older

I know how many immigrants need to be protected from the government

I know that parents are deported and sent away from their families, leaving them with no income

I know that people actually classify human beings as “illegal”

When I was a little girl

I was proud to be an American

Now that I’m older

I find less and less things to be proud of everyday

Avondale High School

Avondale High School

Avondale High School is in Oakland County, in Southeast Michigan.

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