I’ve been staring at the checkbox labeled “African-American” for 20 minutes now. I can’t seem to look past the dash which separates these two worlds. To be Nigerian-American is to be the Atlantic Ocean, to be divide, to have two houses but no home.
Sometimes I think about what we actually hold in our heads. What are we thinking about that is substantial? How are we processing the lives we lead? What do we open up to others for everyone to peer into? We wear the stains of life on our whole body. There’s nothing to hide.
When I walked out of the Jackson Heights subway station in Queens, I could have been walking out of a metro station in Delhi or Mumbai or Chennai. Everyone around me was Brown, storefronts all around selling samosas, chaat and chai. It felt like home.
Punjab. Literally the land of five rivers. . . or, well, it used to be. You see, even the name of our homeland brings pain these days. How can I tell you the pain of Punjab? Quite honestly, it is a pain that I can hardly even understand.