I Woke Up

Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images
Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

I Woke Up

I woke up this morning, eyes wide with new perspective

Reminded daily of the historical white vs black tension

Why can’t I be brown and be accepted?

Maybe because being brown led George Floyd to his deathbed

And Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and that’s just a few names to get started

But the “One Drop Rule” says I’m too dark to be white

and the “You Ain’t Black Enough Rule” says I’m too light-skinned to be right

I’m here to say the truth lies within the heart

It’s a problem we’ve avoided from the start

I am you and you are I, skin color is only a divide

Think about the larger picture, and make unity our newest scripture.

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The current state of racial affairs

We live in a world where police brutality and ongoing racism is normal way of life for brown folks. Living in Portland, OR, considered one of the whitest cities in the US, I am aware of my racial identity every single day. Although I am aware (and proud) of my ethnic background, I try to veer more towards unity every single day. You can be any race under the sun and I’ll judge you based on the merit of your ideas and character, rather than the color of your skin.

And that’s the way it should be, right? As a society, we should be moving in a progressive manner. Not progressive as in the political movement, but progressive as in being better than we were yesterday. It’s easy to believe that brown people living in America should group together and move to a place where we are accepted and not looked at as a “minority.” But, that doesn’t solve any problems, it simply continues the divide.

If we want to curate an environment that suitable for our children and grandchildren (and so on), we must confront and fix the divide rather than making it larger. We have to teach and actively demonstrate to our children that we should behave based on principles and morals, instead of superficial features and stereotypes.

I truly believe that a portion of this issue stems directly from parents telling children one thing and contradicting that statement with their actions. Children are sponges and they will absorb your tendencies and thought patterns whether you tell them to or not. Therefore, by bettering yourself, you’re actually bettering your children or siblings as well.

And if you’re mixed-race like me (which is progressively becoming more likely as the years pass) then you have to balance on a fine line when regarding this subject. I may not be black enough or white enough or Mexican enough to appease either of those groups, but I’m human enough to understand that outside of cultural distinction, we’re all the same.

When they rip away our skin and flesh is the only thing remaining, maybe then we’ll understand that we’ve been fighting all of these years … for nothing.

One thought on “I Woke Up

  1. To see this with my own eyes, in my lifetime where I’ve only dreamed of a better world for my children and grandchildren, is beyond comprehension. Are we seriously going backwards here..in 2020??
    Your words are powerful, my friend. 👏🏼

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