American-first, Muslim-second, from an Angry Black Man

3 thoughts on “American-first, Muslim-second, from an Angry Black Man”

  1. I had to respond with the same beat, brother:

    “Bitch please.
    Have you lost your damn minds?”

    I.

    I cannot claim to a heritage of slavery—
    and my ancestors—slave owners and drivers of the cruelest kind—
    the plantation kind—
    Drove herds of Africans as if they were mules, not men—

    II.

    I’ve got a grandmother with eyes and a nose that don’t lie.
    Features that scream of a Moorish ancestry,
    Mocking her claims of “pure” Spanish blood—
    Too embarrassed to admit it may have been “spoilt” by—
    what do they call them here?
    Sandniggas?

    But no worries. I was born just in time.
    To remind her exactly where she came from—
    A stubborn granddaughter with brown eyes.
    And skin that can turn real dark if she sat out too long.
    “She’s just like a mora,” everyone would say while
    peering at me with straight noses and light eyes.
    It earned me the name negrita (blacky) from my grandmother.
    My pride confused her and the nickname subsided that day I told her:
    Negra como una mora? No joda, abue. Mirate en el espejo. Me paresco a ti.
    Black like a moor? Don’t fuck around, grandma. Look in the mirror. I look just like you.
    “Y’all can kiss my tawny ass.”
    My grandma couldn’t understand such pride,
    But secretly liked my defiance in the same sinister way someone is fascinated with taboos.

    I’d tell her that I would bask under the sun ‘til it burned—
    And, hell no! I wouldn’t lighten my hair like them white girls whose scalp you can see—
    Hair like tissue?
    Hell no!
    My hair hangs with thick and heavy waves—
    It yells back “straighten out your own problems, and let me be”.

    Hair and skin and eyes that belong not to Spanish folks, but
    to the Moorish lady whom my not-so-great grandpa kidnapped and married—
    In whose tangles my grandfather dreamt—
    I won’t deny that, grandma, I won’t.

    III.

    My mom, my dad were immigrants here—
    have broken their backs pulling themselves by the bootstraps.
    Some say it’s a myth, but they did it.
    My other grandpa (the one with the pale blue eyes)
    bought his own damn house working with my father—
    Installing air conditioning systems, sweating their asses off
    so others wouldn’t have to.
    But my dad and his dad bought their own damn shit.
    They worked within the system because it was the “right thing to do”.
    They contributed to this country much more than any lazy motherfucker who will come around telling me—or any person with brown skin—to start packing.

    I am too much of my father’s daughter to retreat,
    I am too much my father’s daughter not to claim my ground.
    Bitch please. I stand firm.

    IV.

    The ground your ancestors tilled is my land, too.
    It is a strong ground. It is a fertile ground.
    There is life in that ground, because it has been watered with blood and tears.
    It’s a ground that breathes and echoes history.
    It speaks, too. And has invited my family to stay
    as long as we build upon it too—
    My father and grandfather’s eyes—resembling drivers—
    became the driven like mules, not men.
    In their brown, sun-parched skins, they’re more like
    Shadows—
    Like a costume that imitate their lighter oppressors—
    Almost, but not quite.

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