Yesterday, in the fifth installment of NWA’s seven-part series, Sharon F. Warner spoke about issues of race in a time of war. Today Felicia Madlock continues the discussion of race, asking the question, “Am I American?”

September 11th, 2011 by erokCom via Flickr CC

Felicia Madlock

Today I had a revelation
About my national identification
Am I American?
Yes I was born on American soil
And I am spoiled
By wanting the American Dream
Wealth, luxury, and material things
But am I American?
I abide by American laws
With its racial injustice and social flaws
Am I American?
So my history dictates
But I refuse to accept this poisonous fate
Am I American?
Land of the free, home of the brave.
Whose original constitution excluded those like me
Am I American?
Am I a capitalist captured?
Bound by greed, notorious desire?
Am I American?

Conversation Starter: Felicia questions what it means to be American. Is there only one way to “be” American? What does an American believe, look like, stand for, enjoy? In this supposed melting pot of cultures, has the idea of what it means to be American become limited? Has it always been?

Writing Prompt: How did your personal identity influence the way you experienced the atrocities of 9/11? Write a short essay or poem thinking about the morning of 9/11 through the lens of your own identity. You might consider some of the lenses Felicia points out: race, gender, and personal wealth.