i am brown

October 19, 2007
By Daniela Fragoso, Kingwood, TX

i am brown
with a yellow undertone
which turns red after being in the sun

Perhaps it is due to the melanolin in my skin
or maybe it’s the years of toiling under the sun my ancestors have withstood that’s responsible for this particular hue of brown
which silently announces my “mestizo” blood

My brownness makes clerks give me second looks when i walk into a store
without knowing anything about me apart from what they see
they have already decided that i must be watched extra carefully

My dark skin, curls, and eyes
Are enough to help them decide who I am
i’m brown, therefore i must speak “Mexican”,
have an aptitude for cooking,
drive a pick up,
and eat tacos every night

Truth is
I don’t care much for tacos
or trucks,
I’m a terrible dancer,
I have two left feet,
and cooking is definitely not one of my strengths

I look at the clerks and smile
They think twice
They begin to doubt…
I mutter an accentless “good morning”
and finally convinced
they turn away

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