Semilore Kilaso: Two Poems
Nigerian Voices Today
To Be a Breakfast Cereal
what does it even mean to be a person of colour?
I hate the term “people of colour”
They brand me like breakfast cereal
To say I should be happy I have a colour/
I should be cheerful like the rainbow
but who has the colour of the rainbow except an alien
I am alien to my own skin/
I cannot trace my race with the colour of my face.
black – not black enough to be “African American”
White – not white enough to be a “person of no colour”.
brown – not brown enough to be brown
There an abundance of brown between black and white &
I am a cup of coffee drown in a gallon of milk.
My Passport Says Otherwise
Today in school, a girl handed me a flier inviting me to join the African American Socio-Cultural Society. This is the sixth invitation I am receiving this semester. How do I explain that I am not African – I am not a citizen of any African country. My passport says I am American, so does my grandfather’s. My hair does not speak American English, it does not like water like my tongue. My caucasian neighbours says I am too fair to be a “person of colour” and my eyes should be chocolate and not the ocean – the ocean is for persons with skins lighter than beach sand. She reminds me that I am not American though my passport says otherwise. She reminds me I am a person of colour – a spectrum of many colours and I don’t fit here or there.
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