Black and White

Claire Lee

It seems like the world is black and white.

The textbooks tell me about “world history”

Plantation owners and their slaves

Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr.

The Nazis and the Jews in World War II

“The Book Thief” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Where is the rest of the world?

The segregation of Chinese in 1865

The skull of Vincent Chin crushed by a white man

The 1992 riots in Koreatown that killed 63

Why are people not educated about my story?

They said Civil Rights only applied to African Americans

Then told us to go back to our own country

And called us chink and gook without hesitation.

Then my people fought with other minorities

We banded together to fight the authorities

Because of this I grew up with no fear

Able to go outside without the threatening atmosphere

This doesn’t mean the racism is gone

Afterall, anyone should be able to go take a walk

As my peers pull up the corners of their eyes

They ask me if I can see clearly

And if I can’t help them with math

I am a disgrace to my entire family?

I kept it inside: the humiliation, the anger

But all it took has a virus from Asia

For people to start forgetting that we also suffer

A dad and his two daughters just going to the store.

A woman walking back home through an ally

A young boy, who was simply at college.

Slashed across their faces 

Punched and kicked in public

By all races and colors 

Even other minorities became enemies

The racists remarks, the ignorant statements

They resurfaced just because of coronavirus

“Don’t talk to me, gook, you’ll get me sick”

“You don’t deserve to live here, you infected chink”

They glare as if it is my fault ― as if I could have stopped it.

There is no sympathy nor kindness.

Not even a fake #prayforwuhan or #alllivesmatter

So tell me world, do you take us for granted?

We give and you take, but nothing is reciprocated

I can see the white, I can see the black

But do I matter?


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