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Vic Mensa pens moving essay about his experiences in Palestine for TIME

He explains what the trip taught him about racism in America.

Vic Mensa is further proving that his talents as a writer are not exclusive to his music.

On Friday (Jan. 12), the Chicago rapper penned a raw essay titled, "What Palestine Taught Me About American Racism," for TIME, making comparisons between the perils he witnessed abroad and what he knows of those in his own backyard.

"My words are a reflection of my experiences on my trip, and my criticism lies with the treatment of Palestinian civilians by the state of Israel, no more and no less," he explains, detailing his intentions behind the piece and adding a note that he is not anti-Semitic. "As a black man in America, being stereotyped as a criminal is more than familiar to me, as is being unwanted on the streets of my own home and profiled by law enforcement."

He then details the story of a woman named Nora, writing about the struggles she and her family continue to face given that her home "is just one heartbreaking casualty of war in the ongoing struggle between Israel and Palestine."

"The parallels between the black American experience and the Palestinian experience are overwhelming," Mensa writes. "Staring into the worm-infested water tank on top of a dilapidated house in Aida refugee camp, I can't help but think of Flint, Michigan, and the rust-colored lead-poisoned water that flows through their faucets."

Read Vic Mensa's new op-ed in full via TIME and take a look at the music video for "We Could Be Free," which features footage from Palestine, below.

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