Me, You and Us

I’ve lived in the same city my whole life but I still get treated like a foreigner. Even though I waited in the everlasting line to eat Perry’s ice cream, that you can just buy at Walmart, at Papa Jacks after every chorus concert like everyone else. Even though I eagerly await the next season of ¨Riverdale¨ like everyone else but I am still looked at like an outsider. I guess I can't be a local if I can't check the white box when they ask for my ethnicity.

Racism, the timeworn theme to society every year. I mean can't we find another topic to discuss? It's far from extinct. As much as I'd like it to be, it still casts a shadow over my life as if it's a ghost haunting me. What white supremacists don't realize is the fact that if our bodies get stripped down to our skeletons; we are all the same. Why don't they see that when the white man whipped his slaves until they lay in a pool of their insides, it was the same shade of red as his own? If he slit the wrists of his workers and his own he would see the same blood and feel the same pain.

They can tell you that they know how it feels over and over, but the truth is they don't. They can make their claims to the relatable topic of bullying but getting picked on for liking bugs instead of sports is vastly different than getting tortured for your features. Your eyes that are so slim that you can barely see out of them and your natural hair that looks like an explosion. They have not experienced racism to the degree that we have. Centuries ago Caucasians were not the ones being enslaved. We have been outsiders long before this day. They get shamed for how they dress, their education, how they’ve let themselves go, but never for their color. Our beautiful palettes of tints, tones and shades get downgraded to pools of filth. We get looked upon with disgust all because of the color of our skin; our parents skin, our ancestors skin.

My art teacher gave us a project; draw a picture of a social issue that means something to you. Mine was about racism and how we all bleed red. Hers was about black lives matter. She is as white as it gets. Don’t get me wrong her piece turned out beautifully but what I don’t understand is why she chose that topic. We live in a white based community. Never in her life has she ever felt threatened to be white. She has never feared judgmental stares when she got on the bus because of her color. She has never been told to leave the room when the teacher starts talking about the treatment of slaves. She has no idea what it’s like. Saying your friend is an African American does not make you any better than the rest of the white folk. No one that has sat on the sidelines their entire life can really capture and send the message that “Black Lives Matter.”

I have white parents. I used to think that I was a melting pot. It took me awhile to realize that I’m not Irish like my dad nor Polish and German like my mom. No I’m Chinese but that’s all I know. I don’t look anything but and that makes me a target. Down the road and into the Primary school bus loop a boy stretched his eyes thin “to look like me.” Another shoved his pinky finger in my face “because that’s the equivalent of the middle finger in China.” Sixth grade teacher asks “What’s something nobody knows about you?” Everyone answers “I like to fish.” or “I like to play baseball.” My turn I say, “I’m adopted.” Junior high, not feeling so well, go to the nurse, I want to go home. She calls the only other Asian girl’s mom in the school to come pick me up. The mom asks, “How is Alex?” “Oh, wait.” Upstairs hallway leading to the Senior high. Global History and Geography 10 teacher offers to allow me to leave the class while he talks about the One Child Policy. Internship in the next town over, boss calls me China because she ¨forgot my name.” Last week someone asks me, “So are you Asian or Japanese?”

Yeah my ancestors probably picked rice from the ground but yours probably whipped slaves. If calling me a rice picker is a “true” term, couldn’t I just brand you with “slave owner.” We should be proud for everything that we are. For everything that our ancestors experienced and fought for. We are carrying our cultures with us like a kid holding his brand new spiderman lunchbox. There’s nothing to ashamed about. Our festivities are the same as Independence Day and President’s Day. They are no better than Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras. There is no superior race. You are not better than me based on your complexity. You really just look like a ghost to me. Floating around haunting us.

Having awareness of our presence is not enough. You need to accept us for who we are because we’re not changing. We don’t fit into your mold for a reason. We’re not supposed to be anyone but ourselves and anything that you do is not going to change that. Remember how Hitler tried to eradicate all the Jews, how he failed? It’s truly inhumane to try. You won’t succeed because in case you haven’t noticed we are the majority. Not you, us. We make up half of
the world’s population.

And America is a melting pot. The cities are proof of that. There they live together in peace. They make it work, why can’t the rest of the world? There are better things to be starting fights over than how we look and what we celebrate.

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community
My country
Our world

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