My American Identity Crisis through Poetry

I use to say I loved being in a diverse community, believing that was the center of unity. What a young naive boy I was. Not able to put one and one together and not knowing of the hard lesson of being an “other” among others

As a benefactor of the Tinsley program, THANK YOU Martin Luther King Junior, helping desegregate minority centered cities. I can say he helped pave the way for the young man I have become to be. My key was education, while so many others have gone and passed; Living a lie to believe the way to the top was fighting until their very last.

Yeah I understand, sometimes it’s what you have to do, selling and slanging; All of the above and gang banging. I never had a problem with that; it’s just how it is in East Palo Alto, boxing up young men and women fighting among each other with all the disunity. But proud to say that tenacity was made here, just a different breed, if you come you’d see

Yet I’ll talk about my city all day but I know it’s divided, no matter how much I try. It’s a generational thing being taught to hate one another. From the streets, to your education or where you come from as so many cultures are bundled up forcing themselves to live with people who they consider scum

Feeling the hate not being able to speak Spanish, Not enough this, not enough that. It’s okay. Do I learn to hate or take the other path, turn the cheek no matter how strong the hatred spawning their wrath? To be stronger than before until you can’t test me anymore, knowing that there will be a lot physical pain to stray that way. Well, looks I learned the hard way

It was my path not theirs. Proud of being a Latino. Even though seen as too American for the Mexican; Too Mexican for the American. Having to understand that difference of being both…But why should I feel ashamed? To feel second among the others, falling in the same category pushing away as we push away one another. To feel brown and powerful. To know that though I play on the lines of both identities. Both Mexican and American, to see that I am American and Mexican, or being that I am Mexican and American…I guess that’s makes sense

Diversity is not acceptance; It does not mean inclusion. Diversity is like asking someone to your party. Inclusion is asking the person to dance To mingle and have the chance to explore the color of the mind not to be shallow and blind.

But hey what do I know, just another young man with a strong opinion right…Until you validate your opinion with A considerable amount of experience

How does a young boy understand the difference of struggles between one another when he just wants to be happy, enjoy what little he had. Thankful for his family and friends and not worry so much about the color of the man.

Then as a young teenager and the hormones were kicking, transforming with features of my people. I didn’t lose sight of who were my friends because I thought our personalities were that perfect blend.

I tried my best to live by the words of Dr. King, Standing up for my friends when racial slurs were said to them. Until it hit me one day after a rumble starting from a slur said from a young white man. My friend was appalled by me standing up for him. It’s not your fight, you’re not black. They turned their back on me. I always thought that they were others, I am an other, So we must stick together.

This divide ran deep, and instances like this began to happen more frequently. I wasn’t this, I wasn’t that. Fight after fight hurting my nature to be human and friendly. Should I resist and not care, being like those around me with their nose in their air?I hated their apologies knowing they didn’t mean it sincerely when I explained how this all affected my search for my identity.

I understand the difference, but how do I find a way to bridge that over here divided by hoods? Losing close friends making this divide very real and hard to be understood.

Despite all this, I chose my path

I learn the hard way

I always will

I resonate with ideas so it’s Okay for all this

pain to happen; from the looks of it, it’s better this way

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