the ballot

as a first generation immigrant,

the ballot reminds me of the paradoxical space

that folx of my diaspora live within in the united states,

where our parents' adoption of the myth of the american dream and xenophobic racism meet

to contain our identities in a constant place of

in-between, border-straddling, and non-belonging.

this place is where i was taught as a child to

erase my own tongue,

hate the shape of my eyes,

and distance myself from those and things labeled f.o.b.

this place is also where i learned how internalized white supremacy encourages many southeast asians to

adopt the model minority myth,

compete with each other based on proximity to Whiteness,

and sit in complicity as the buffer between Black and White Americans in anti-Black racism.

this place continues to remind me of

the necessary wrestle between and recognition

of our simultaneous privilege and marginalization,

of the duty we owe to our ancestors who fought to reclaim our motherland's independence as it was captured by one colonizer to the next,

and of the local and global movement to get free.

i submitted my ballot,

carrying the history of the struggle for all people to have their place at the polls,

and i remember that the revolution relies on

the people, our fire, and our fight

to reclaim and protect our power.

thy nguyenComment