New Voices

To Be An American

written by Camille Ollivierre

To be an American do I have to be white

Should my hair be as straight as you hoped your son would be

My eyes, as round as the world you hoped would be yours

Should my nose be as small as your knowledge of morals

My lips, as red as your face when I say nigga

Should my back be as broad as the land you stole from its natives

My arms and legs, as long as your damage to my people will last

Should my hands and feet be as large as the amount of racists in this country

My nails, as short as your apology for killing off my ancestors

Should my reflexes be as quick as you are to accuse my brother of stealing

My mind, as brilliant as your four fathers who believed it okay to treat people like animals

Is that what it means to be an American?

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