Good friend, therapist & poet: Sam Louie.
Sam and I have been co-facilitating presentations on race in the therapy setting. It has been encouraging to see therapists respond so appreciatively. Folks have been giving us feedback and reminding us that this conversation isn’t happening enough. How can we be effective therapists if we don’t understand the dynamics of race & culture?
During our presentations Sam often shares a poem he wrote to capture the confusing picture of acculturation in the US from an Asian perspective. I felt it important to share it here. This is the recorded version.
I’m yellow, you’re white,
right or wrong, my last name is Wong.
I look different you call names,
I ask why, is my skin be to blame?
Set apart in the U-S of A,
I wonder to myself, “Am I ok?”
Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these!
Go ahead stare, glare, point a finger,
why not, they won’t care,
Besides, it’s everywhere!
Playgrounds, schools, work,
Psst, my boss? Insensitive Jerk!
You see, no matter the place,
Because of my face
I can’t escape race.
We try to fit in, fit in,
eat Kentucky Fried chicken!
Sing songs, pledge allegiance,
Oh say, can you see?
My country tis a thee,
This land is your land, this land is my land?
However no matter what we do,
There are those, whose desire is to exclude.
This message ain’t about hate,
don’t get me wrong,
It’s about fate
for those born a Wong.
Can’t forget the Kims, the Chins, the Lees, or the Nguyens,
Want nothing more, treated as humans.
Trust, respect, acceptance, inclusion
Are we asking too much, to forego exclusion?
A song from the 80′s, whoa I remember,
encapsulates what I so treasure,
I’m only human, of flesh and blood I’m made,
Born to make mistakes,
doesn’t mean, living here in this place!