I Am Not Who You Think I Am

I Am Not Who You Think I Am

by Jess Greenburg

 

I take a step

They whisper, “I bet she’s flat-footed.”

I take a sip of my drink

They snicker, “Thank God that’s only water.”

 

I turn to go home

They tell me to have fun on “the rez.”

I turn on the TV

Then they call me a lazy slug.

 

I don’t go to the football games.

They ask if it’s because the team is called the Chiefs

And the mascot is one of “my people”.

 

Someone mentions their God

And the heads turn to me

One of them speaks up

“She’s Indian, she doesn’t believe.”

 

I’m quiet when they mention

Their Thanksgiving days and their Colombus days

And the rest of their

“We killed your ancestors” days.

 

I’m quiet

So they say I don’t speak their language

That I don’t know how to have fun

That I’m dumb, “like the rest.”

 

So I speak.

I speak about their Thanksgiving days

And their “we killed your ancestors days”.

They stare at me.

 

They ridicule me.

I’m being “too sensitive.”

I need to “lighten up.”

Because they “don’t see color.”

 

But I can’t help but think

“Lighten up” really means “lighten up your skin”

I can’t help but think
“Lighten up” really means “whiten up."

 


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