I was created by a woman

Who suffered through third

grade not knowing a word of English

And by a man who fell off

his parent’s car port trying to shoot

his cousin with a plastic gun–

A five-year old cowboy


I grew up with Ella and Miles,

And Radio Disney

I grew up dancing to Andean music

In patterned wool fabric shawls

Tasting the cinnamon in Arroz

Con leche, eating Juicy Salteñas

And tater tots with kadjupy

I grew up playing dress up with

white girls and eating cupcakes

At their birthday parties

And then my own


America, I never had a quinceañera

Or have gone to my Mother’s native

Land or have learned to speak Spanish


You taught me to be afraid of dark-skinned girls

who looked at me, unsure of whether I looked like them

Or not

You taught me to forget about my “ethnic” background

Until Jessica Hernández

said she liked my bathing suit

In her thick Mexican-American accent


America, you have given me privilege

to feel comfortable in who I am

to be a strong, confident, young individual


So why do I feel rejected, paralyzed

More and more with every passing year?

Why do I feel flattered and infuriated

When I am asked What are you?

When I visit my dad’s side of the family and

My mom and I are the darkest ones

When I visit my mom’s side of family

And I am laughed at discretely for my “California” accent

And my Gringa looks?


Why did a black boy tell me to go back to Mexico in sixth

Grade? Why are there never any pictures of multi-ethnic

Families on billboards?

Why is it that you steal my voice and

Confidence when I walk

Into a classroom of only white and asian students?


Why is it that I am racist?


Oh, and America?

Can you please look in

Your Holy Bible and prove to me

That Jesus was white?

If so, do you think he would love

Me as much as you claim he loves you?

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