The American Dream
White Yellow Red Black
I arrived in America when I was six,
in land of the free, home of the brave.
I was taught that it was the country of
opportunity, somewhere I can build myself
to be whoever I want.
I came to a world so colorful
that I could hardly imagine there were six
years in my life where I didn’t walk among people
who didn’t look like me and
didn’t have the same color hair
and didn’t celebrate the same holidays.
I couldn’t believe the sky could be so clear and
the sun, so visible.
This was precisely where I wanted to be.
The entire world existed in America.
I would learn things on this soil and I would
teach everything my little six year old self knew to
those who walked this soil.
Blanco Amarillo Rojo Negro
I was taught English already back in China,
I knew words like love, hope, free. But as my childhood
blossomed in America, I had picked up a new language
with words like hate, never, foreigner.
The people of this country laughed at everything they hadn’t encountered before
and stripped my culture away from me until I was nothing but my race.
I made sure to wore sleeves no matter what temperature it was at recess
so that I didn’t have to show any more of my yellow skin than necessary.
What I learned on this soil was exactly how cruel my elementary school peers could be,
and how little console I would receive from my teachers because those were
the adults who raised their children to be that way.
I would grow up and develop thick enough skin to try and forgive America and
teach myself that if I wanted progress, I would have to be a part of it.
But it is times when I watch police officers raise their guns and beat down
innocent citizens on the news and times when I watch Jeronimo Yanez put four bullets
into the chest of Philando Castile, I know that I will never forgive America
because the people of this land will never see past skin color.
I watched the officer panic and quiver after pulling the trigger not once,
but four times and I watched the girlfriend of Castile,
who watched her lover bleed until he died for
no other reason except for the fact that he was black,
hold herself together.
I heard her address the officer as “sir” and found no trace of retaliation nor
anger in her voice because she was the one who never forgot her training
as a black woman in America,
and she did not forget that it could be her next.
And it fills me with anger and hate that the abundance of news like this
numbs us and that black men and boys are not only stripped of their culture
but of their lives too.
It fills me with hate to know that a jury of twelve, sworn to defend justice, sat through
the same 10 minutes of footage as I did and still consciously took the side of the white man,
and saw how he was on the defensive.
I am ashamed to know that this happens in a place that I chose to live in and that
my friends have to walk on sidewalks and experience the pain of having white mothers
lead their children to the other side of the street because they think that they are the ones
I cannot remember my life before this hate. This is not a country where you can be whoever
you want. This is a country designed for a specific kind of person who fits into a specific
kind of template. So how can anyone tell me that this is the land of the free when I know that
my brothers and sisters are in chains for crimes they didn’t commit and are
chained with fear by the very people that are paid to protect them…
This matters to me not because I know what it feels like to be a minority. This matters to me
because I’m a human-f***ing-being and I will keep holding my hands over the words that tell me
the GPA’s and the grades of young black men who were shot because it isn’t fair that the issue
only matters to some when the victims were good students or great athletes and proved themselves to be worth of sympathy because there should be no other reason for people to care except that