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On the Corner of 86th and Madison

On the Corner of 86th and Madison

it was on the corner of  86th and madison

when a dear old lady, stooped over with age

called to my sister and I

she said but one phrase

just one phrase –

 

“dirty, disgusting Asians”

 

speechless

i was

ridiculed

i was

 

but mostly,

embarrassed

i was

 

to live in this nation

we are granted free speech

it is meant to empower…

 

my dear old lady,

what caused you to say such words?

what in your long years made you think like so?

 

do you know?

 

oppressed

we were

punished

we were

 

the mere origin of our descent

the far and exotic “orient”

was enough? for our forced descent

 

do you know?

 

silenced

we are

belittled

we are

questioned generalized underestimated exoticized ignored fetishized mislabeled misunderstood degraded suppressed emasculated hidden mistreated stereotyped disrespected

we are

 

do you know?

 

i am not dirty

i am not disgusting

i will never apologize for being Asian

because in the end --

 

resilient

we are

brave

we are

 

to live in this nation

where words can turn into action

the weak use this to hate

yet we use this for success

 

i do not think you will ever know

as aged does not mean graced

but i will share with you some knowledge

so see if you can follow –

 

our names are not “ching chong”

our eyes are but a shape

we are not all from China

we are not all the same

 

some of us may be foreign

but many of us American

ultimately we are all human

and we do deserve respect

 

my dear old lady,

do you know now?

do you get it?

 

it was on the corner of 86th and madison

where i lost my faith

but i will regain it  –

 


 

strong

i am

tough

i am

proud

i am

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