| i don’t know. I am black and i am white. I am poor. some days i feel rich. most days i am a scavenger. a hunter and a gatherer. most days i dream of freedom.|

My hair will never look like my mother’s. or like my father’s.
our skin color doesn’t match
i feel empathy for their distinctive cultures
and they have no understanding of my mine
they have one race.
They have a history to memorize.

–Ha. so you’re like a mutt then?

i feel pride for my ethnicities equally. i feel respect for the religions and traditions of my ancestors.

“why are you trying to be something you’re not?”

how can either of them take me seriously?
i have been at a disadvantage since birth.
They have seen my childhood and neither of them can relate to it.
it is natural that they should be biased.
it is natural that they should be confused.

my father laughs at me:
why are you listening to bob marley now? are you trying to be a rasta? what do you know about black history? ((you should be a modest, Christian girl-child))

my mother laughs at me:
okay Shaniqua. why are you trying to act all gangster now? you sound so ghetto. why do you have to copy their attitude? are you trying to be like them now? ((you should speak proper english — I am praying for you to stop being so defiant))

[my disobedience is a feat i am proud of]
My name is not Shaniqua.

i am not black to my parents. i am not white to my parents.
i am a problem. a mistake.

I am a race that they cannot comprehend.

My existence is a constant threat to their livelihood
my parents are quick to introduce me to the public
they must acknowledge confused eyes
and answer unspoken questions
they have to explain what i am

some days i get to be black
some days i get to be not black
{i hardly ever get to be biracial}

they cannot even see the world through each others eyes. how could they hope to see it through mine?

you can keep asking me to change who i am but
i refuse to assimilate.


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