The Two Sides of Me

Jada RiveraMay 2, 2019Society and the IndividualPoetry

Artwork by Christine Domercant

The kinky curls of my hair
And the light-caramel tone of my skin
Show the two different sides of me
The two beautiful races that entwine together
Puerto Rican and Black

I am not just the crispy, juicy,               I am not just the merengue
Sizzling fried chicken                            And bachata
And hand clapping,                                That salsas its way
Sunday-church-going side                   through my veins
Of my Black family                                 As it does with my Hispanic familia

I am a combination of both

I am not just the tender-headed        I am not just the late night parties
tantrums that come from                    And the extra-over-the-top
the pulling of the comb                       birthday celebrations
Through the unruly curls                    For long life and living well
Of my Black family                               Of my Hispanic familia

I am a mixture of both

I am not just the feeling of pride         I am not just the flags waving
All throughout the short                      And the loud, proud voices singing
28-29 days                                              ‘Obertura Patria’ during the summer
Of Black History Month                        Puerto Rican Day Parade that
That the Black side of my family          I’ve only attended a couple times
Loves to celebrate                                 With my Hispanic familia

I am a unification of both

I am not just the chains                       I am not just the immigration story
And the beatings                                  Or the wild stares
And the screams                                  And all the disgusting slurs that
And the suffering                                 She had to face from everyone who
Of my African ancestors                     Didn’t like that she was Puerto Rican

I am a blending of both
So yes, it hurts
When society tells me that

I’m too light to be Black                         I’m too dark to be Hispanic
Because I don’t like rap music              Because I’m not fluent in Spanish
Because I don’t live in                            Because I don’t eat
“The Projects”                                         All the cultural dishes

But that doesn’t stop me from being mixed
From being proud
From being, well, me

Jada Rivera is an Afro-Latina girl who lives in New York City. She is 13 years old, pretty short, and has a huge interest in writing. She can often be found with her friends, joking around and having a lot of fun.