April 6, 2008
Four years old.
I’m playing in the sandbox.
He comes up and steals my bucket.
He snarls before I can open my mouth,
I run home to my mom, confused.

Eight years old.
Lunch time. I open my pink lunch box.
I close it as soon as I catch a glimpse of the chopsticks.
Too late; they’ve seen it.
“Look! She brought Ching-Chong food!”
I retreat to the bathroom and cry.

Eleven years old.
I’m old enough to know that boys don’t really have cooties.
Talk of the Spring Dance is in the air.
I blush as two cute boys brush past my shoulder.
“Haha, who would ever ask Ching-Chong to the dance?”
Embarrassed, I pretend I can’t hear them.

Thirteen years old.
Junior high. And the formation of “cliques.”
Mixed emotions. Shame, jealousy, frustration, inadequacy.
“Get out of my way, Ching-Chong.”
No more Nice Ching-Chong.
This time, I fight back. I punch him square on the nose.

Seventeen years old.
Not yet open to all the insights in the world.
But proud enough to love my culture and family.
No longer vulnerable to meaningless words.
Instead, stronger and ready to prove myself.
Poor little boy.
He has no idea.
The power of unity.
And the power of diversity.
It’s what keeps us inspired.
Each and every one of us.

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