DISCLAIMER: There are sensitive issues in this post, and for that, there is a trigger warning here. If anything I’ve written isn’t true (I have researched, but there’s always room for error, unfortunately) please, please, please contact me. I want only truths, and I am not above being corrected. I am here to listen, learn, and be an ally.


This is coming a week late because I needed to first gather my thoughts, then my voice.

To anyone who knows me, it’s no secret I love the Revolutionary War, and I love history. I’m usually quite vocal about it, especially on battle anniversaries, and I’ve even written an historical fiction novel that takes place in 1770s Massachusetts. I’ve done my research, to say the least, and it should be no secret now the history we learn in school comes with bias.

So in this post, we’re going to dive into it and cover some things people don’t like to talk about. I’ll try and ease us in, but this post in its entirety is STILL only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

At the surface, and speaking to all Americans, let’s get the basic facts straight. This nation’s founding wasn’t easy. I do try to remind people of that. No, the fourth of July isn’t when we were independent from Britain. It was when we declared it. The war for that freedom raged on until Yorktown, 1782. Only after the Treaty of Paris in 1783 were we finally recognized as an independent nation.

And it was the Stamp Act of 1765 that actually spawned the revolution–almost two decades prior to our recognized independence.

But it goes deeper, and far bitterer than the fireworks and bbq’s with which we all now celebrate.

This nation was founded on the blood of those men who so ardently believed in the cause. As an American, this is something I acknowledge and honor. No revolution can be fought without bloodshed and loss of life. I feel I must honor the loss of life.

More insidious than the bloodshed of the Revolutionary War, it’s impossible not to acknowledge the even darker truths surrounding America’s birth–which came long before we declared independence in July of 1776. It goes back to when Europeans first stepped foot onto this continent. This nation was founded on land that did not belong to them–land that was stolen–and it was worked on, and economically supported by people stolen into slavery.

Swallow this truth. Now bring it back up again. How does it taste? Bitter? Sour? Vile? It should.

How can we celebrate our independence? My stomach knots and turns into a pit. And I am torn, because as a white woman, I want to honor the militias, minutemen, soldiers, and families who gave their lives fighting for this country’s founding. They believed in a cause so much they rioted, protested, and fought for nearly two decades to secure for their children, their grandchildren, a vision they knew was possible. But for whom? When our founding fathers finally wrote “all men are created equal” in that declaration of independence, did they truly mean it? Or did they mean “all white males are created equal”?

And all of this was at the expense of the natives who were here before them–who were so brutally killed and turned out of their land by colonization and disease; and those who were sold into slavery during the slave trade.

Jefferson’s words are strangely ambiguous in the declaration of independence. It’s known Jefferson kept slaves ion his Virginia plantation, yet he writes “all men are created equal” then goes on to call natives “savages”, which is deplorable, so we are meant to interpret those words in several ways. I want to believe at his core of intents, it was meant, truly, all PEOPLE are created equal. But as we’ve seen from history, and the years after we gain independence, people are anything but equal.

Natives are starved into signing treaties.

Slavery endures.

Women lose their right to vote (yes, women in the colonies could vote prior to independence).

In the light of current awakening (again), this needs to be heard and acknowledged. It always must be heard. Our nation’s founding is a shared history, but I cannot be the voice of the oppressed, and who continue to be oppressed. As a white woman, I can only speak for what I personally know and experience as a white woman. For others, I must listen, learn, and be an ally. We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen more, talk less.

I want to acknowledge the indigenous peoples of America. Their land was taken. Along with this, so was their culture assimilated, and treaties forced on them and broken. What happened to the native peoples of this land is deplorable and inexcusable. I empathize with the anger and resentment, but I can never know what it feels like. I know I cannot be their voice, but I can listen. I can support, and be an ally.

You should, too. Go to this website for starters, and see which tribe’s land you’re inhabiting. Look up that tribe. Learn about them. Listen to them. They are still here (a complicated truth). This is only the simple beginning.

Slavery happened. Unfortunately, the slave trade is not an isolated event in the history of mankind, but the manner in which it ended in this country has left continuous suppression and limitations which oppress the black community. In history classes, we only scrape the surface of this through our white biased education system. There are things they never teach us, and that is an abomination on the truth. I want to learn the truth, I want to hear the truth. I will sit, and I will listen. And I do acknowledge the privilege in which I’ve been raised.

The oppression didn’t stop there. We must acknowledge women–women of all colors, cultures and creeds.

White women had more privilege, but all women were often viewed and treated as men’s property. We went from our father’s house to our husband’s. Seen only as wives and mothers, we were discouraged from the workforce, and are often survivors of sexual assault and/or ridicule. Thanks to the #MeToo movement, more light has been shed on this, and those guilty, held accountable. But not all. We must keep supporting women whose voices are not being heard, in populations that are under-served (this is putting it mildly).

Women didn’t get the right to vote until the 1920, but African-American women, particularly in Southern states, faced inexcusable barriers. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965–which prohibits racial discrimination in voting–that all Americans could vote without barriers. Yet, we still see issues today (again, I know I’m putting it mildly).

In 2020, women still aren’t getting equal pay for working the same job as our male counterparts. As patients, oftentimes our symptoms go misdiagnosed as “anxiety”–a direct association with “hysteria”. As healthcare professionals, I’ve read several accounts of women in medical school, and during their intern, residency and fellowship years, who faced discrimination and unequal treatment compared to their male doctor counterparts.

I cannot speak to this in the world of nursing, because nursing has been historically a white woman dominated field. But I will say, just to have it out there, when I was applying to nursing school, (I already held a Bachelor of Science and had graduated magna cum laude) I was told by the admissions department at a major university “you should go wherever you get accepted because, no offense, you’re a white female.” Take that for what you will.

But I digress.

Nearly every group in this country has been marginalized, discriminated against, or has been a scapegoat for the dominant culture and race at one time or another. Natives, African-Americans, women; in the age of immigration in the 1800s, Italians, Jewish, Polish, and even Irish, were discriminated–of course to a lesser extent than the other peoples I’ve written about here. In the years of WWII, the Japanese of this country were horribly mistreated.

My Italian great-grandparents who came here faced terrible discrimination. They never spoke Italian to my grandparents out of fear they would speak English with an accent. They were ridiculed. They wanted them to be American. I am so disheartened by this. I wish I knew Italian because it had been passed on in the household as a part of our culture. But because of fear, discrimination, and assimilation, a part of my cultural identity was lost.

When we thought we’d targeted every marginalized group after women’s suffrage of the 1900s and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, in more recent years, we’ve seen hatred of the LGBTQIA population. So you see, in America, there’s always a group to hate, limit, and discriminate. And it needs to stop.

I feel I can criticize America because I am a part of her. I want her to be better. I want her to espouse her claims of “all men (people) are created equal” and “Liberty and Justice for All” and mean it. I want the hopes and dreams, the legacies of our fallen soldiers of the Revolutionary War to breath new life into a land where we are all truly free and equal. I want to rejoice in and be humbled by our beautiful amalgamation of cultures and creeds. Unless we’re of indigenous descent, we’re all immigrants. It’s what makes us unique, inclusive, and resilient.

We can never forget our raw, brutal past. Nor should we. It’s a history we must all acknowledge, and about which we must learn the unbiased truth. We are a free nation with far better liberties than others out there. For that, I am grateful. Change never happens overnight, and we’ve come a long way. But we’ve still a long way to go (Robert Frost’s “and miles to go before I sleep” comes to mind…).

I apologize if I have not mentioned a certain population here. It wasn’t intentionally done. Reach out to me. Teach me. I want to learn. I want to support you.

In the end, listen. We are not above learning and being corrected for our biased history. Learn, be an ally, and let’s all work together to bring this country to where it needs to be.

As our motto has been at the hospital during COVID-19: Together as One.

Let’s do that, America.


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