Two worlds inside of me

I see the evidence of my heritage

Every time I write my name.

Sanchez gives it away

As if I were saying it out loud.

But as concrete as that is

Why am I so torn?

Torn when I see images

of people here illegally,

Looking for a better life.

Torn when I speak Spanish

To my Spanish speaking parents,

Even though I have something to say too.

Torn when my son doesn’t speak Spanish

Because talking was so difficult.

Torn when my introduce my friends

Because so few are like me.

If we are supposed to look beyond the exterior

Why do I focus so much on these things?

I’ve never asked anybody upon meeting them

What is your immigration status?

Do you speak the national language?

How did you raise your child?

Why do you have the friends you do?

So why do I feel the need to defend my views

To both sides?

Because often times I feel caught in the middle

How could I not with an English first name and a Spanish last.

I’m torn between two worlds

Even though nobody has asked me to choose.

But I’m asked to question each side

When conflicts arise.

I question everything inside of me

Then I question them.

If I am happy being me

Why is it a bad thing?

I wait for the day when differences are embraced

Instead of rejected.

In a country based on hope

What an ugly thing to face.

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4 thoughts on “Two worlds inside of me

  1. My Two Worlds

    Black and White
    Those are my worlds
    I’m not just one or the other
    I once lived in world that demanded just that
    Pick one and be one, you can’t be both
    Talk, look, and act Black
    Talk, look, and act White
    They can’t be intertwined
    They must stand alone

    Why can’t I be who I am
    Choice of color does not define me
    I am strong, intelligent, and loving
    Segregation is not my reality
    I am White and I am Black
    They are what makes me, me
    I now live in a world that’s not ashamed to embrace both
    Like a white cream-filled chocolate cake
    I am better with both

    By Jennifer Goodlow

  2. Even though nobody has asked me to choose,

    I feel it when they look at me and ask me,
    for the fourth time, to pronounce my last name.
    Do I laugh it off with them?
    Or feel the stab in my side from the split
    that rests within me–
    Which part of myself do I want others to know me as?
    I’m from here, Oklahoma born and bred,
    southern drawl in parts of my speech to prove it,
    y’all is an acceptable word in formal essays here.
    But I’m from there, though my body has never travelled that far.
    The Middle East cradles a part of my body
    to sleep each night, tucks me in to bed
    and reads me Arabic lullabies that I may only know
    a word or two out of, at best.
    They never asked me to choose,
    but they wish I would.

    -Hanna Al-Jibouri

  3. A World of Colors, Colores
    Mucho, many colores to make a world. I love colors, don’t you?
    The creator spread colors across this great sphere of Earth; present in the foliage, en los animales, in the humans, in the sky, in the universe.
    What a spectacular design. Que marvelloso!
    Even a box of crayons, una caja de crayones; the more the merrier; and the names, oh, what fun!
    Fashions, paintings, architecture; so glad there are different colors, textures and designs.
    I am grateful for variety, aren’t you?
    Wouldn’t it be boring if everything were either black or white and los dos, the two never mixed.
    Then where would be our gray sky to yield the colorful rainbow and produce an array of colors as in bouquets of roses, rosas, roses.
    By Joanna Durante

  4. I grew up in a small town in Texas where the Hispanic, African American, and Caucasian populations were almost evenly represented. Yes, there was racism, prejudice, and profiling but it was something more often associated with adults instead of with my peers. School was the place everybody was the same. We had our clicks, but even within those, students from each ethnicity were represented. The groups were based solely on what each group loved (or hated).
    It was not until recently that I feel odd speaking in Spanish in public. I know very well that the cause is the uneasy feeling growing within society about immigration. “…Only against those here illegally” they will claim when confronted. But how do they know who is and who isn’t. Never in my life have I asked somebody’s immigration status when I introduce myself.
    I can understand the fear of losing jobs and the comforts of being an American to somebody not from this country. But the promise of a better life in America was something that this country was built upon. How can we now say we don’t want any more immigrants, when all of us, except for Native Americans can be classified that way? I once heard a quote by one of my professors, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. That is the quote on the statue of liberty. It does not say we will only take ones that meet a certain criteria.”
    It is time to imagine what this country would be like had immigrants not come here for a better life. It is time for America to get past the ugly part of its history and demonstrate that it has overcome racism in order to be united, instead of divided.

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