If you're any type of minority in this country, the current political atmosphere can, at a minimum, give you reason to worry.
If you're here illegally, you may be deported. If your immigration status is questionable or has expired---you may be deported. Even if you're one of the "good ones."
If you're all of those and Muslim, the current administration has painted you as America's public enemy #1. If you are Muslim and were born here, your loyalty to our country is questioned on a daily basis. If you are a Sikh and wear a head covering, you're attacked because not only does hatred know no bounds, but the morons who attacked you think you're Muslim.
And if you're Black, chances are that if a police officer executes you (while unarmed), that officer will probably get away with your murder.
By in large our country doesn't feel welcoming or affirming for those of us who are of color or practice a different religion.
(And yes I'm purposely leaving out the health care turn back the clock shenanigans that aim to make women second class citizens again. That's a whole other post.)
Yet amid the constantly onslaught of foolishness, I glimpsed a unexpected beacon of hope.
D-E-A-N-D-R-E. DeAndre---On a coke bottle. I nearly passed out from the sheer joy of seeing that name on an American icon.
Coca Cola is so American that it's practically is wrapped in the flag. It is one of the few elite brands that just *is* the United States. Coke is so embedded in our culture, I wouldn't be surprised if some folks think that it was passed around at the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
I can only speak for myself, but on a good day discussing race in this country is like bailing out a sinking row boat with a spoon. When you are a minority, the burden of proving your love for this country is placed upon your shoulders at birth. You're never a "real" American. While I don't dwell on it, I feel as if I'm expected to prove my worthiness as an American citizen every flipping day.
So when I see the name DeAndre on a coke bottle---a name so unapologetically Black---even though it's not my name, I feel included. I feel seen. In a weird way I feel validated and oh so American.
Just when everything is looking dim, a chance encounter with reminded me of the greatness and promise of our country.
Sometimes all you need is a life line to keep you going. DeAndre just happens to be mine.