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RECLAMATION

A Sunny Day in New York

A Guyanese girl born in America, not uncommon

A first generation student in a Catholic school, also not uncommon 

A first generation Indo-Guyanese American girl that is Hindu in a catholic school

Uncommon 

Total known, 3

 

When I was a young girl

My mother scrubbed the insides of my knees

Because it looked dirty, 

it was just my skin

 

When I was in high school,

I carried a bottle of sunscreen 

in my volleyball duffel

It was for my skin

 

When I was on the beach,

 three summers ago,

I hid underneath a towel 

It was for my skin

 

It was for my self confidence 

That I was hiding from society

It was for a standard

That I was scared to spend too long outside

 

Afraid that I would be too dark even for Bollywood

The stage for brown girls

The ones who were fair skinned and grey eyed

Darkness reflects labor and labor reflects lack of wealth

God(s) forbid the media represents the poor

 

But I have to support brown girls like me

So when Priyanka Chopra entered Hollywood

I was proud of our representation

When she married one of the Jonas brothers

I was proud of our representation

When I found out she tweeted in favor of India 

while the country was considering war with Pakistan 

I was embarrassed of our representation

 

I think we have a case of identity theft

This girl claimed she is Guyanese 

She didn’t like soca music

She didn’t want to dress in a saree

She didn’t want to admit she likes dancing 

She didn’t want to be different

 

So she put aside Hinduism for Catholicism 

Convinced she would one day convert

And get married in a huge cathedral 

 

So she put aside soca for pop music

So she put aside sarees for dresses

And sat from the side lines while everyone danced

 

She never thought twice about it

And she simply was “the whitest brown girl”

That everyone knew

 

And one day she was baffled to hear 

That she was rejecting her culture

That people think sarees and bindis are pretty cool

 

She was baffled to hear that suddenly 

She should be proud of her dark skin

And her long straight hair

And her dark brown eyes

All features she considered just average

 

So she reclaimed her culture and added a twist

 

A fusion of Western and Guyanese 

She learned she is neither one or the other

Fluid like the sea, her interests intertwined

 

It is not one God or many, it is both

It is not soca or pop, it is both

It is not a saree or a dress, it is both

 

Don’t just visit the melting pot,

Stir it too.

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