Vic Mensa penned a sobering op-ed for Teen Vogue that aptly describes what it is like to be black during the Fourth of July.

The “U Mad” rapper described being American as “bittersweet” and compared it to being born into an unaccepting family.

Mensa explained how symbols and history have been manipulated to give citizens a false sense of unity:

“To be an American is to be indoctrinated with racism, violence, capitalism and manifest destiny, the principles upon which the land of the free was founded. We are purposefully miseducated as children and told to put blind faith in our country — sold to us as “patriotism” — that we may not open our eyes to the ugly truths of this nation. The facts behind Thanksgiving, chattel slavery, the civil war, internment camps, mass incarceration, and even the national anthem are all sanitized for over-the-counter consumption, available in chewable vitamin form at a drugstore near you. Anything to keep the profit machine running, including murder and terrorism, America’s #1 export.”

He says he grew up in a “multicultural, progressive, artistic and inclusive” America that is being swallowed by a power group that "prefers complete control to democracy."

Mensa slammed people who suggested critics of America simply leave the country, saying that opinion is an “arrogant” example of white supremacy.

“I think it is worth noting that however imperfect of a home this country may be, it’s the only one we’ve got. Our people put blood, sweat and tears into this soil,” he wrote.

The 25-year-old says he doesn’t love America, but he loves some of the “people and places” in this country.

“But I love Chicago summers on Lake Michigan, Philly cheesesteaks on South Street, falling in love in Brooklyn, street fairs in Asheville, North Carolina,” he admitted. “I love putting in work for the city that raised me with my foundation SaveMoneySaveLife and putting resources into the streets of Chicago.”

He concluded by reiterating his decision to abstain from holiday festivities in favor of something more meaningful.

“I don’t celebrate the 4th of July — I celebrate the people I’m building with, so that we can finally have a seat at our table that we make together,” Mensa wrote.


You can read the whole piece at Teen Vogue.