To all the whites I’ve loved before

Being called an “Oreo” as a young girl and throughout adulthood was a dagger thrown at me for existing in a Black body while cranking my head to Nirvana; knowing all the lyrics to R.E.M.’s Green album; shopping at Lululemon; dying my hair purple; dating white folx; making vegan mac and cheese; being addicted to Buffy, the Vampire Slayer; swirling like a hippy at drum circles in the UCSC forest; busing to Whole Foods in Redondo Beach from Inglewood at age 15 so I could eat organic; and so on and so on. I never saw these activities as “white” but that label was used by those whose perception of black people was simplistic and narrow-minded. In all-white spaces, I felt perpetually misunderstood and undervalued. In all-black spaces, I was goofy, aloof or just plain weird. I have come to understand myself as complex, broad-minded and thirsty to try new things; thanks in part to my mother’s acceptance of my

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