Friday, May 18, 2007

I am posting a poem I wrote a few year's ago because The Book Group I attended last night got me thinking about this again.

Black Denial

I am not black.

I say it with a deep sigh that comes up from my soul and escapes on the wind of my breath.

I am not black.

I carry this secret with me

Even though it rings false on the bells of my heart.

I am not black.

To latinos I am them.

Angry and insistent voices tell me

I do indeed speak Spanish.

“Look” they say, “you are like me.”


I am not Latina.

Many try to see themselves in me.

Others try harder to find the differences.

I am not black.

Made clear in the exclusions of my youth

that mocked my cries of racism.

I am not black.

Made clearer when refused admittance

based on my skin tone. High yellow what?

The only reverse of racism is acceptance.

I am not white.

Once I wished for the sun kiss that would make that statement unnecessary.

I am not white.

My grandmother’s grandfather bought his freedom in the fields of North Carolina.

My mother sat in the colored section despite her light skin of confusion.

I am not white.

I am so many things that no one but me will understand.

“What are you?” Is the frequent question.

I am what we all are.

I am wonderful, beautiful, magical.

I am so much more than a color.


Perky said...

That was beautiful, powerful and personal. Thank you for that.

I often wonder what my younger son will think and feel as he grows older. He is Roma (often called "Gypsy" in this country and others) and looks Indian to many people. I love his brown skin, black hair and deep dark eyes; in fact, I would love to look like he does.

There's no denying that he bears no resemblance to the rest of us. There's also no denying he's the most gorgeous. He's bound to be asked time and time again to explain why he looks so different from the rest of his family. People who meet him by himself expect to see an Indian or maybe Latino woman pick him up at school - they are shocked to see him call "mommy!" and run to me with my pale skin, red hair and green eyes.

And yes, everyone wants to "claim" him. I've had people ask me if he's Latino, Indian, Native American, bi-racial, Eskimo, everything except Roma!!!

To me, he's my beautiful son. Nothing more, nothing less. I see the differences between us, but they don't affect my actions, feelings or hopes in any way. I wonder what he will think, feel and experience?

Rachel said...

That was beautiful.

My sister borrowed the book club book and read it (I know it's your copy, I'll get it back to you!) and it left her feeling very apprehensive about how her own children will feel growing up. They live in a racially diverse neighborhood in Ardmore, a purposeful choice so the kids would not feel like outsiders at all.

It will be really interesting to see their experiences as they grow up.

Anjali said...

Oh, my. So, so moving. I've read it several times now.