I didn’t hear the word “black”
used to describe my fellow classmate,
until third grade. Kids joked innocently
and said that I was “yellow.”
I told them I’d prefer to be green.
I know now the proper terms.
Words like, "racism" and
"discrimination." Words that my mom
taught me when I was "old enough."
And maybe I was stupid
for saying I was green. Sometimes
I wish I was still that ignorant.
Now, I look at the TV
and I can’t enjoy a story
without counting all of the blue eyes,
the actor that looks like me only plays the
Kung Fu master or
computer hacker. Sometimes
I wish I didn’t know.
I didn’t know I was a feminist
until I stumbled onto the word
as I learned how to hold keys in the dark
like daggers. And I learned
"Girls aren't funny," and
"Girls shouldn't be loud."
And my mom taught me how to stand tall
and be unashamed. Sometimes
I wish I didn’t have to be taught.
I was taught to hate the color pink
because people called it “girly”
and somehow that made it
inherently wrong. But now pink
is just as beloved to me as blue.
I didn’t realize I
was so weak. Until now.
When I hesitated to type
the words “feminist” and “Asian.”
As if even saying it, might make me
ostracized. For being radical.
For being a female minority.
For being me.
I want a place in this world.
Not only for me
but for everyone who is afraid
to claim who they really are.
In the land of the free,
our identities should not be burdens
or chains holding us back.
In the home of the brave,
bravery should not consist of
confessing who I am.
In the 21st century America
I've known all my life,
why am I afraid?