Profiles is an ongoing series, seeking to create spaces of affinity, where similarly identified folks have a space to talk about the perceptions, nuances and actualities of their identity.
For many people, identifying with one race and checking one box is a task that involves waves of confusion, unfairness and pure frustration. Coupling these experiences with micro-aggressions and ill-formed questions, such as: what are you?, where are you from?, is that your mom?, many people who are of mixed-race backgrounds become lost in a web of the unknown. Yet, being unknown in the unknown, is where one finds themselves, individuality and sense of self.
not ‘white’ enough
not ‘nonwhite’ enough
my flesh and feathers
perhaps on the
junction of my jaw
lies the piece
to satisfy your
puzzle of syllables
probing at my eyelids
the network of follicles
the buds on my tongue
try to find
your way out
to navigate my backbone
the grooves of my palm
there is no exit
a biracial poem
my parents will never know what it’s like to enter a room of people with the same lineage as them
And feel isolated.
Hiding in the farthest corner of the room at family gatherings.
My black cousins like to make fun of the way I speak,
As if it’s a foreign language, unfamiliar to their cultured ears.
excerpt from unknown
I try to be the person that is defined by myself
not by what others believe me to be.
It will never end. I am a product of
melanin and regret. I do not love my
skin because my skin doesn’t love me.
It is your fault you know? You made me
feel this way. I watch as my white
ancestors try dragging me
to their graves as I continue to
push them back down. My skin is split
into a shade akin to the skin of my kenyan