The Color Line | Teen Ink

The Color Line MAG

January 21, 2009
By Emily Chang BRONZE, San Francisco, California
Emily Chang BRONZE, San Francisco, California
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

It's okay, they said
as if it were a sorry mistake Mother Nature had at the canvas
sculpting, painting in perfection, until the final layer
revealed not peach but mustard yellow.

It's okay, they said like forgiveness
like I had been born with two Original Sins
as opposed to their one
the mustard-yellow veil covering my body
cracked, twisted, suffocated by the words in their mouths.

It's not your fault, they said
that my mother tongue
the words
the sounds
that rocked me to sleep when I was born
sound like birds talking with hard stones in their mouths
sound like mustard pans falling from the sky,
hitting the hard, white asphalt they laid down.

It isn't my fault
that you cannot see substance beneath the final layer of paint
to see
Gold underneath the veil that you created.
Too deafened by the imaginary pans to hear canaries
Too ignorant to erase the lines you drew on your white asphalt
The line that divides
is imaginary mustard yellow.

The author's comments:
This piece was inspired by an incident at school and is a commentary on race. I am the only one of Asian decent within my close knit group of friends, and whenever the issue of race comes up, they often say to me "its okay."
...what was wrong to begin with?

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This article has 3 comments.

JoanK said...
on Aug. 21 2011 at 8:40 am
I have an adopted daughter of African descent who is also growing up among mainly white people. Your insight is very valuable. I try to help her to feel proud of what she is (she truly is very beautiful) but she hates the fact that she stands out from the crowd.

Zero_K DIAMOND said...
on Nov. 15 2009 at 5:13 pm
Zero_K DIAMOND, Moosic, Pennsylvania
83 articles 0 photos 435 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life's no fun if you're not insane, otherwise you grow up to be an accountant." -Moi

Absolutely beautiful. Absolutely true. 'Tis awesomeness, no less. And I don't say that alot.

-Blessed Be, and may your path be bright!


ylimesdrawde said...
on Nov. 1 2009 at 8:54 pm
that poem is so complex yet so simple at the same time! i love the way it flowed and how it expressed so many feelings. love it :D