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written February 2016

America, I was born into and raised in a culture of fear
“Hai Pa” to make a faux pas
I was never sure what I was supposed to be
The generation of 9/11 which targeted Brown people to be played as a deck of cards
What I missed was that nothing changes,
Just the color of the crayon
Used to fill out the wanted posters and political cartoons
Red - savage, Black - stupid, Yellow - rapist
Every color something ugly I quickly learned what I should be but could never be
Strong, smart, civilized - White

You - who find yourself so devoid of culture, so insecure
That out of a full color palette you can only identify yourself as white
Not even cream, sugar, pumpkin spice –
I’ll have some coffee with those
– bits and pieces of other peoples, you paste them onto yourself, creating a paper mache monstrosity, masterpiece of appropriation to make yourself beautiful
Yet I am the other, we are the other
Did you ever think to ask to share?
Did you ever think to look into the mirror?
What a glamorous lie that has been strewn for you to play the victim: “I’m so bland, I don’t get to be interesting or exotic, so I’ll just take that”
Blues, Jazz, Chai, Coffee, Bananas, Mangoes, Bubble Tea
You can blame your Puritan ancestors for this:

Believing that God desired simplicity, and could be placed into a tidy box while all of creation screams of COMPLEXITY
Unknowable, unfathomable, unsearchable is the Creator who created color and diversity not so we might reduce it into a one variable solution but stand in AWE

My friends, you are already beautiful
You don’t need to cover yourself in CoverGirl or Maybelline
Because maybe you have an identity and color already
You are made in the image of God
You are a walking example of multiethnicity, the joining of cultures: Anglo, Saxon, Germanic, Greek
You already have something to bring to the table
– You know I don’t make no casserole –
So come and learn, share, give,
not just to toss a plate of potluck into the trash
– You know I made those dumplings from scratch

So let us come together
Us of every color, of every nation
To share in the magnificence of multicolor
Beauty of every pixel that comes together to form a splatter painting for the ages
We are all beautiful, we all have our rough edges
But like iron sharpens iron, color accentuates color
We must move beyond the white-washed backdrop onto the canvas of our Creator