Are You Sure?

Are you sure? Trying to buy a tie Sales woman clearly sees us at the counter It’s obvious by the way she turns away  Cheerfully she says “Can I help you?”  to a white customer We move closer, ”excuse me, we’re ready” She pretends not to hear but I know she does  I’m filled with vengeance rage  I’ve never felt this anger before  I look at Damon  He just wants to leave, not bring attention We casually walk out of the store You didn’t call her out! We should demand service! Damon says, I don’t want to deal with her right now If I got mad at ignorant people, I’d be mad all the time I’m not in the mood  Let’s just go somewhere else  We could have caused a scene Forced her to ring us up  Demanded to speak with a manager  But...would a manager believe us? We couldn’t prove if they ask Are you sure? When I tell my friends the story, I see why Damon’s tired No way, that wouldn’t happen in Portland! Are you sure she heard you? Are you sure she saw you? Are you sure it was racism? To my friends, 

Shopping While Black

What stores are we going to?  I don’t know… the mall?  a bunch of stores? Well, I can’t wear a Banana Republic shirt if we’re going to Banana Republic Immediately I’m confused, huh? Careful what brand you wear shopping? Don’t take that purse  Why? We’ll probably get followed in stores With that purse we definitely will  Pull into the mall parking lot I cut between cars to get to the door faster  Damon stays in the main isle Why? Imagine some old lady opening her door The first thing she sees is me walking towards her? Assault for walking through a parking lot while black? Walking casually around store  Completely oblivious Take your hands out of your pockets!  You look suspicious, like you’re hiding something What? Suspicious just because my hands are in my pockets? Arms folded, I’m cold, Clutching bag close to my chest, to keep warm Don’t hold your bag like that! You look suspicious like you’re hiding something Huh? There’s a specific way I should hold a bag? Never considered a shopli

You Sound So White

“You Sound So White” -my husband said to me  Starbucks manager called 911, two black men didn’t buy coffee  Handcuffed, arrested by multiple officers, no charges filed, then released Tweet goes viral, national outrage Remember this 2018 story in Philadelphia?  Sometimes I am clueless to my privilege Huh? I know I’ve waited for a friend in Starbucks Nobody has ever called 911 I ask, “Isn’t there more to the story?”  Damon, whips his head around, “You sound so white”  Nicole and Trejan look straight at me in agreement Silence cuts me like a knife through my heart Tears come, but why? Why am I so fragile? Anger, embarrassment, shame, outrage No words explain the pain of being called out I have privilege=I must listen, not defend In the “you sound so white moments” there is NO appropriate reply  All I did was ask an innocent question! Why didn’t they wait outside until the other guy arrived? Maybe they should have bought a drink White privileg


I’m in pain, hear me screaming, I need to be heard Violence is happening, it needs to stop Innocent black men are being killed, THAT needs to stop How do we make all of this stop? I’m not racist….Am I? Explain to me how I’m racist, what? What are you? I’m biracial aka passing=I have white privilege What is this white privilege you’re talking about. Why do we have to label? Your normal is not my normal, wake up I’m displaying “white fragility”? What even is that? But, there must be more to the story, sitting in Starbucks, put your dog on a leash? I would never do that #whitefragility What are you doing in this neighborhood? I live here Shopping while black? wear a GAP shirt into the GAP, carry big purse=get followed around Can’t we talk about something else for a change I’m sick of hearing about racism Police lights flash, immediate fear, am I alone or is he driving I’ll drive the babysitter, or false accusations and he might never come home #whit

Invisible Line

I’m on your side I just don’t know what to say I don’t even see color I was taught everyone is equal I would never treat anyone bad They don’t deserve to be treated like that but there’s nothing I can do about it It’s not my fault I was born this way Whitest black person I know So well spoken Doesn’t talk like she’s black Too many of them just makes me.... uncomfortable Is that your real hair? I just had to touch it! It’s so poofy I had to know what it feels like! How do you get hair like that? Is it real? You laugh, mean well, smile, but would you pet a dog without asking the owner first? Another diversity training/tolerance training? learn how to “tolerate them”...Tolerate? How about making things equal? Instead of barely tolerating? Love to hire you but we need to interview some minorities White man can’t get a job these days, it’s reverse discrimination! I’m not being defensive, just think about it from the white side! Well, I thought we’d b

From Rice to Cornbread and Biscuits

From Rice to Cornbread and Biscuits During the 1970's and 1980's, in the small town of Bend, Oregon, our family of six went to mass at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. On our way home, we stopped for donuts at the supermarket on the corner of Third and Revere Street. After devouring our sugary treat, we headed back home and Mom started cooking the delicious Sunday Dinner. I often helped my mom cook, Italian and Mexican dishes were her favorites. I hated chopping onions because my eyes filled with tears, but I was always up for grating cheese. The meal always included a main dish, green salad, vegetables like green beans, broccoli or asparagus, and rice. The dinner could be beef stew, lasagna, enchiladas or spaghetti and the Nakada family always had rice. Dad is Japanese and he grew up eating rice with every meal, and my white mom kept his tradition. She wasn't a big fan of Japanese food, but she always made rice for Dad. Sunday Dinner was a tradition for the whole