Rachel, I was offended and embarrassed after reading your poem, not only for myself but also for you. To have people respect you, you need to respect yourself first. One major problem I had with your piece was you seem to contradict yourself. You say you have brown skin so therefore you are invisible and fade into the walls. Next, you say that you wish for the Miss American glow. This confuses me because three out of the last five Miss Americas were of African-American descent, so it seems to me that you just stereotyped the Miss America glow as Caucasian.
Later you state that Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for the same reasons you are writing, but you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Your line using the names Maria, Mei Ling and Becki is absurd. Dr. King did not struggle so that you could stereotype. Every line hurt me more and more. The same reason you wrote the poem is the reason all the things you wrote about are still happening.
A lot of the poem discusses how men treat you badly because you’re African American. This may be your experience and I am sorry for that, but that does not give you the right to bash other races. Would you rather be a woman under the Taliban and have to cover your entire body every day of your life?
Please, if I can help you realize one thing, it would be to see what we have in this country. I realize I don’t know your background but maybe you should take the time to realize how many people you may be offending. Realize that color is just that, color. If you want all shades fighting for you, as you say, it might be a good idea not to discriminate against those same shades. But wait, a shade is a color too, and don’t you want people to stop looking at color?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.