We are fighting to preserve the democratic ideals that lured us to America.

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The author’s daughter wears bracelets of Kenya and the United States, the two countries of her heritage.

The first time I was asked the question, I didn’t know how to respond.

“If American is so bad, why are you here?”

I was asked the question by an American man of European descent, who was a classmate at the University of California, Berkeley, where we were studying journalism. We had been embroiled in an argument that began when he stated firmly that Americans were “the richest people in the world.”

I was winning the argument by using information I had learned after living in the…

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“Uber vs Lyft” by stockcatalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Since the COVID-19 shutdown in March, I have had a strong urge to stand up and speak against Uber and Lyft. As the virus spread across the country, the two ride-hailing companies, which I had been working for since 2014, abandoned the drivers who make up the core of their business.

Because they had us misclassified as contractors, we did not qualify for traditional benefits, which depend on how much an employer paid into the unemployment insurance fund. We found ourselves at the mercy of the state, which decided to award $167 a week to every Californian who didn’t qualify…

The United States has just fairly elected Donald Trump, an openly racist and misogynist right-wing zealot, who has bragged about forcefully grabbing women “by the pussy.” You, my white liberal friends, cannot understand how this could happen in 2016 America. You truly didn’t expect this to happen. What should you do?

You sob. You cry. You scream.

But that’s not enough. You, my white progressive friends, decide to reach out to me. You text me. You call me. You tag me on Facebook to apologize.

“I’m sick to my stomach with shame,” you write.

But most of you, my white…

Edwin Okong'o

Memoirs of an African father struggling to raise his American children while fighting demons from a traumatic childhood.

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