Educational Ethnicity

Location

No one told me about the

Importance of taking advantage of my education

While it was still free.

Instead they just continued to talk through me

Past me,

Hoping their message would rest on the bridges of the ears

Attached to the kids whom they thought were worth it.

 

Constantly ignoring that my level of intellectual capacity was

Bouncing like a see-saw,

I could see what they saw in me,

And how little they saw in me

So I projected their thoughts and played them out to fruition:

I became the adolescent know-it-all who just didn’t give a

 

Figures of role models passed me by,

Always aiming to help the smarter

As if in an attempt to be a footnote

In their Nobel Prize speech.

 

When what they couldn’t see was that all those kids

Become burn outs,

And those ignored start revolutions.

 

We learn to teach ourselves and each other

Creating a community of outcasts

That are usually downcast in society.

Moving fast as their new prodigy

Gets their childhood stripped away

As they stand on the stage in front of millions

While we stood in sandboxes getting dirt kicked in our

Hopes and dreams,

 

Because like an abandoned flower garden

Everyone just walked by

Thinking how great theirs is

Compared to us, just spiny cacti.

Completely oblivious that once opened, we hold liquid that will sustain life lost in the wilderness.

Completely oblivious that once opened, we can produce flowers and scents magnificent.

Completely oblivious because we’re irrelevant and unintelligent

To them

But that doesn’t mean we’re not worth it.

 

I am the reason why there is a shirt and shoes policy.

I am the reason why there is quiet in the library.

I am the reason why.

I am the reason.

My people are the reason,

Because there is no off button

No quiet button

On the lips of a Hispanic.

 

Having come from the ocean,

Dripping with happiness

Our muscles trembling with fear and excitement of the unknown

We step into local businesses trying to find aid

Trying to find work in order to get paid

In order to become American made.

 

Dripping water from our steps

We simply forget that over excitement is seen as a threat

To a society where everything is given

Versus ours where everything was taken

Not to be mistaken

Because we look different than those who you buy for 9.99

Off a Toys R Us shelf next to Stacey and Ken.

 

We invented Theresa but she’s still not enough.

Her curves are mistaken as well as her hair

But the one thing they got right is that she has a great pair a

 

Being human is more than mimicking a sculpted piece of plastic.

It’s more than ‘monkey see monkey do’ even though that’s what we’re taught

While the other kids are given individualized attention

We have been marked

Workers.

Proletariat.

Everything to 'Bougie' for me

But I know those words so shouldn’t that mean something.

 

Oh, wait…

You’re assuming I learned them from MTV

Because I’m never independent enough for you

Even though I was raising my family since I was 11 don’t you see?

 

Standing up and holding the walls of my house

When they threatened to fall down

Because mama was tired

Eldest was in school

Middle was crying

And the baby

In the carrier

That I rocked with my foot

As I held the walls of the house.

 

And did you ever think that the reason I was so tired in school,

That same tiredness you mistake for ignorance,

Is because I was trying to balance being an adult and simple multiplication

But that’s not enough of an excuse for you.

 

Silly adult.

Silly over privileged

Don’t tell me how. To. Run. This.

SHIT.

 

Don’t tell me I’m not mature enough

Because just for once I want to act my age

But in your mind I’ve always acted older

Than the image of your kids.

“That kid’s going places” you think

But you STILL have the nerve to talk down to me.

And by me I mean my people

I mean those who sit below the level

Of poverty of my sisters and my brothers

Of those over tired mothers

Of those who work to the bone

Only to get home

And get beaten

Because “Dinner wasn’t ready when I got here GODDAMMIT I gave you this house what more do you want?!”

 

Don’t you dare

Strip me of my liberties

Claiming religious purities

Viewing us a nothing more than dirty

My family has been here for over thirty

 

Years.

And I see it in your eyes the moment I take off my white girl disguise

And tell you that I’m Cuban

How your respect for me wains.

 

Did you know my Grandmother hopped on a plane,

When she was just 16.

To come to a country

Where they spoke English instead of Spanish.

Where they give handshakes instead of

Kisses on cheeks here are the equivalent of ‘no homo bro’.

 

I don’t see you

Stepping out of your comfort zone

Because your little niche of American pride

Blocks the view of your own eyes.

As your words glint off the recording of that one smart kid’s Nobel Prize

Speech

That you listen to so diligently

Gripping the cushion of your seat

Leaning forward to the screen

To hear your name flutter from their lips.

As we get beat down and dismissed

Cleaning crew

 

Paid below minimum wage

Paid to clean your mistakes.

 

But I don’t see you doing that though.

 

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