Yellow on the Outside, Black on the Inside

Yellow on the Outside,

Black on the inside,

my head hurts,

don’t know how to decide,


born in Hong Kong,

waving “bye-bye” by five.

settled in South Seattle,


Black-on-black street battles,


We looked odd, didn’t quite fit in,

eating rice, Church’s Fried Chicken,

cruising down, Martin Luther King.


Dad worked as a cook,

mom sacrificed too,

saving every penny,

so we could go to med. school,

which we didn’t do.


Once again,

Rainier Beach was my ‘hood,

misunderstood, as we Asians arrived,

Our dreams? 



So much misperceptions,

about who we are,

didn’t know what to say,

when asked, “Are you from afar?”


I thought I was Black,

Using the “N” word at will,

only to get punched,

time standing still.


We listened to 1250 A-M K-FOX,

hip-hop, blaring from the beat-box.

Mom and dad?  Head scratchin’,

wondering, “Why in the world is Sam rapping?!”


Played basketball like it a religion,

got disrespected,

Told, “figment of your imagination”.


At home,

I stayed to myself,

Mom and dad, “go to work” (Chinese accent),

As a result,

my homework shirked.


The 80’s were great,

as we said “awesome” and “rad”,

“fresh” was cool too,

unless you were bad.


“You got faced!”,

“Eat sh!#% and die!”,

White kids would say, “bitch” in’

feeling Black, to me

everything was “pimping”,


Fast-forward to now,

I look as White as can be,

working in a profession called therapy,


business in Bellevue,

give to the poor,

clients are Asian,

shamed to the core.


Still, I’m torn on the inside,

shattered in two,

East meets West,

A cultural taboo.


Black or Yellow,

I’m still unsure,

When you say hi,

I must quickly decide.


“Yo!”,  Sorry I meant, “hello”.

“Hello”, My bad…I meant, “Yo!”

Either way, I’m a conflicted yellow, fellow!



This poem is about: 


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