I remember when I first learned my ABCs.
A stands for apple
B stands for bird
C stands for cat
But further experience taught me
A is for adjectives
Words that describe nouns,
Words that create categories.
Categories that are used to divide and separate.
B is for Bruce Lee
A character people most associate with me
“do you do karate?”
Because when he used karate to chop down stereotypes,
He also built them up like the Great Wall of China.
C is for chopsticks
A utensil that keeps my culture together
But in order to pick something up,
You need to separate the two.
D is for dog
Because every time I see one,
I just can't help desire to eat it.
Because your stereotypes
Hold me down like an anchor to a ship
E is for eyes because
Eyes are the windows to the soul,
but when I was born into this world,
it was just too beautiful for me,
so I squinted my eyes in order to take a better look.
F is for face
When facing the reality
that some people glance and instead of taking in my personality,
they walk away seeming to already know who I am.
G is for gook,
I heard this first when I was 9
The word hit me like a bomb,
like bombs that tore apart Vietnam
Now I ask,
What the heck is this?
What does this mean?
You don’t have the right to insult me, my family, and my people!
H is for Harry Potter
Cause it was the talk of the town a few years ago,
So my friends and I took a test to see what house we were in.
I was Ravenclaw.
Just like Cho-Chang.
Coincidence? I think not!
I is for ignorance,
As it is is defined by the lack of information,
but it’s okay,
my goal is turn that ignorance into integrity.
J is Jeremy Lin,
And Yo-Yo Ma, Michelle Kwan, and Maya Lin
Because these people widen my path
and just because I look “different”,
doesn't mean certain traits have to stick to me like rice.
K is for Kung fu
some people cannot tell the difference between things
that come from China,
and things that come from Japan.
L is for language
Because people ask me, “ Do you speak English?
And in case you haven’t noticed,
In fact when it comes to language,
I speak two.
How ‘bout you?
M is for Mandarin
My grandparents only speak Chinese,
in order to communicate with them, to connect with them
I must to learn this language.
N is for nationality
It is something no one chooses.
So every time you mistake me
It takes away my individuality.
O is for opposite
Because when I was young, I was told that
But I have no one to attract to, I’m always in the middle,
As if I were a shadow that always behind a person,
Something no one notices until you
P is for piano,
an instrument I play,
but I wonder why it was created to be white and black,
When so many Asians play it...
Shouldn't it be yellow and black?
Q is for questions
like "Where are you from?" or "Where were you born?"
As if I had a sticker on my back that said “Made in China.”
R is for race,
Because you can only see race
So, if you're blind, you can’t see race right?
S is for sidelines,
As we are always on the sidelines,
until we raise our fisted hands only to be invisible yet again.
T is for typical
As in “Typical Asian.” I hear someone say.
So every action I make goes with or against my “way”.
U is for understanding
Because I want people to understand
More than just the color of my skin,
That you should look within.
V is for violence
As violence is not the answer
But how can I do that when
Concepts are like fire,
Burning around me.
Phrases are like stones thrown at my face,
And words are like daggers slashed towards my heart,
W is for warm
For the warm love from parents and friends
But then something balances out with my pride.
A heavy stone is taped on my back.
X is for xenophobia
Because some people put tags on me
“Where are you from?”
But they never say America.
Y is for you
Because only you can make a difference
while you have to think outside of the box
Because when I try,
I don’t have the right materials
In order to get out.
Z is for zealous
Because zealous is what I’ll be,
When this will go down in history,
Just like the old faithful yin and yang
Bringing peace and prosperity
A stands for apple
B stands for bird
And C stands for cat
So next time you see someone like me,
All you have to do is look back at your