black enough?

growing up I was taught that the

straighter and more constraint my

hair was then the neater it looked

blow dry it, flat iron it and just put it


and why? because for some reason

curly or unmanageable hair was

unfinished it wasn't "done"

not until high school did I actually

discover that I had a curl pattern

because I finally did a big chop that

threw away my heat damaged hair

I am Dominican, 100% through and

through, I change my hair but I still

always get the million dollar

question "where are you from?"

in elementary school growing up

kids called me mixed 

middle school kids called me Indian

and even high school too but Latina

was something I had to teach some

people about

As i taught other people, I learned

so much more about myself.

colorism and racism in Dominican

Republic is very real.

I've never been taught to refer to

myself as black but Hispanic/Latino

is not a race. to be completely

honest it took me a while to

understand what that meant. that I

had to pick between white or black

because I don't know where I


obviously I can't be white, but the

things that tiered down to me were

saying no you're not black either.

There is a disconnect here,

growing in a prominently black

community I never felt completely

apart of that group. i didn't know

how to identify myself besides

Hispanic. later on I realized Latina

was what I should be saying and

now Afro-Latina is proper term.

These curls and the slight yellow

pigment in my skin ain't come from

the white man. my fathers brown

skin and moms hips didn't either. I'm learning to identify with my

roots that may so be mixed but I

can't outshadow any blackness in

me because everyone else wants

to deny it. I can't keep

straightening my hair because

when I have it curly I get a

comment like "are you ready

because you're hair is not done" 

I am admittedly a 19 y/o young

woman trying to identify with the

Afro part of Latina. Through

learning and loving myself. and

speaking out about it. It's some

who find controversy in who gets to

say the N word or not. I don't, does

that mean I'm denying my

blackness or is it jus because I

thought I wasn't allowed to say it so

respectfully why start now? me

opting out shouldn't steer people

the other way, that's a distraction

of the real problem

There is this cast of whiteness and

European standards from where my

parents are from, raising their

children to believe that they don't

have roots from Africa. that their

melanin pigment is just from the

hot sun and tropical climate. and

that is wrong

and it'll take me more time but I'm

not ashamed of what more I might

learn of where I come from.

because that's who I am. 


This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country


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