4.13.17: Listen to Kids of Color

by Ariana Gonzalez-Bonillas ’18

Writing essays in middle and high school
And even into college
I was told I wrote too passively
And today I realize
Of course I wrote too passively
I was taught to question everything that came out of mine
Or any other woman-of-color’s
Mouth
I was taught that white men were the be all end all
I was taught that their opinions were fact
I was told that white men telling me “well, actually” was not an act of violence
What a fucking lie
“Well, actually” cuts into my skin and makes it question its own validity
it brings up the goosebumps
as I remember what it feels like to not be someone that is believed in this society
My opinions are never regarded as fact
My peoples’ version of history is not factual when you look at it through Anglo eyes
But thank goodness I don’t have those

I am not asking for my opinions to be regarded as fact
In fact
I am asking for white men’s opinions to be regard as what they are
Opinions
Pieces of sound that do not have to be taken so seriously
As soon as anyone’s opinions are regarded as fact
Then the rest of us are left to believe that we too can be regarded as fact
When in fact we should pull white men off their pedestal
Not want to get up there ourselves

The same thing goes for capitalism
For the white women CEOs who want to reach white man’s power and lose their feminism
If your feminism isn’t intersectional, then it’s not feminism
So white women, remind me how 53% of you voted for not-my-president
Don’t even get me started on white men’s voting
It’s not fun being grouped and generalized huh?
It’s not fun being told that Mexicans (by which I am sure he meant all dark brown Latinx people) are rapists,
and some of us are probably nice people
It’s not fun remembering the Mexican Repatriation movement in the 1930s
When all Mexicans, Mexico-born and US-born
Were coerced into returning to Mexico
By the US government
It’s not fun to think that the not-my-president has promised that 80 years later
So I want to see your pussy hats at immigration reform rallies
But not at the front of the line
You’re there to support, not speak for us
I want to see them at Blacks Lives Matter rallies
I want them supporting No Dakota Access Pipeline
It’s not fun to have to protest for my life and not just my vagina
Besides, some of us women don’t have vaginas
Or papeles

But after all of these protests
I would love to teach kids of color
To teach them that a world without them
Is lost
That their brown eyes should not be shut
To the atrocities that are happening
But I want to live in a world where
Black and brown children
Can keep their eyes open
Because they want to learn their history
Our history
Of how they were trafficked
Of how the border jumped them
Of how their land was stolen
Of how they were excluded in an act of 1882
Of how they were moved to concentration camps
“Internment camps”
Of how they were shot with firefighter hoses
of how the bus was burned
But we know this
We know our histories
So then why are we
STILL HERE
Hearing about a new ban on Muslim siblings
Hearing about deportations everyday
Hearing about hate crimes rising
Hearing about how bathrooms are up for assault
Hearing about the rise of the Nazis again
Hearing about racism as a point of pride

I have never lived in a post-racial society
I have yet to live in a society where our bodies are not stereotyped to the death
Where children are still fighting for water
Flint, Michigan
Dakota Access Pipeline
Why
Are we
STILL HERE
Why am I still hearing the lie of
“equal rights for all” on
“our” Declaration of Independence
Ironically enough
Our electoral college elected someone with enough racism, sexism, and nativism
To match the white man’s Founding Fathers
Maybe that’s why we’re still here

My non-white siblings
This country was not made for us
My non-cismale siblings
This country was not made for you either
My Native American Indian siblings
This land was yours to respect and care for
And the lands were stolen out from under you
to be disrespected
Is that why we’re still here?
Maybe we’re still here
Because our education still prioritizes
White men and boys
Because we are taught that slavery was not “that bad”
Because Andrew Jackson was just “doing his job as president” when he ordered for
The Trail of Tears
Because in the Japanese-American concentration camps
“People still lived their lives”
They had to!
To survive
We have to!
To survive
We have still thrived under oppression
But did we have to live under it?
Should we have to carry it on our backs while we dance the night away?

I’m going to celebrate my siblings of color
My gender-queer siblings
My LGBTQ siblings
My differently-abled siblings
Our intersectionality
Our identity as politics
As I fight for it
As I survive
As I want my children to thrive
My siblings’ children
An education that loves them
That validates their ancestors’ struggles
And accomplishments

Listen to Kids of Color
Listen to their realities and dreams
Listen to their discoveries
Listen to their self-love
Eradicate their self-hate
Listen to them like we were never listened to
So that we can get out of here
And walk into equity
To thrive

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