Every person of color’s favorite question to be asked is:
“What are you?”
“WHAT am I?”
Well, I can be whatever you want me to be, baby.
Nah, let me tell you what I really am.
I am: (fast) 65% oxygen, 18% percent carbon, 10% hydrogen, 3% nitrogen, and…
a bunch of other elements that I don’t remember because I SUCK at science
But that’s not the answer people want to hear.
People want me to say that I am some underrepresented minority
so they can say:
WOW, so mysterious, so exotic, WOW!!
They want me to say that I am multi-ethnic,
with blood so colorful that if you kiss me, you’ll taste the rainbow
sweet like Skittles.
You know, someone once called me:
the sum of the world’s reflections
the end product of imperialism
the ultimate result of years and years of oppression.
Basically, a combination of you, and you, and you, and you
and everyone who came before us.
But you know, the question people SHOULD be asking me
should have nothing to do with the color of my bronze skin
the shape of my almond eyes
or the fine texture of my hair.
The question should be: not WHAT, but WHO are you?
Because see, I am a woman, a daughter, a sister
a writer, an artist, a dreamer
a lover AND a fighter,
I’m a giver, bleeding out everything I have
and a sponge, taking everything back in.
I am: Mexican, Filipino, Native American, African, Chinese, Spanish,
and who the hell really knows
what else is mixed up in here,
and who the hell really cares?
I mean, you’re “just wondering,”
but if are you wondering
so that you could just place me in a box of racial stereotypes
or so that you could see if I fit the qualifications for your exotic racial fetish,
then fuck you.
And if you are genuinely curious about my race,
I’m happy to tell you about the cultures I am proud to be a part of,
but know that,
yes, my race is a part of me–
god knows how much it has molded me–
but my race, my race does not define me;
I define me.
I am more than the ethnicities quilted in my DNA
the physical features you see in front of you
and the chemical elements underneath.
My interests, my words, my actions, my beliefs, my choices:
THOSE are what make me me.
So now it’s my turn to ask:
who are you?
more by KRAYREY
photograph by Eli DeFaria