Michigan in Color

mic
Check-Box for "African-American"

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.

-

I’m a wolf of the streets, I smell your fear.

Carlina Duan

As a freshman at the University of Michigan in 2011, Carlina Duan didn’t know what the term “person of color” meant. 

 

“I wasn’t keyed into that way of speaking as much. I’m not sure the campus was either.”

 

-

As I was walking through campus earlier this week, I realized that there were a lot of people and things that are underappreciated at Michigan. So here’s a shoutout to some of them: 

 

 

“Introspecting about what’s in our heads. Probably nothing.”

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.

In front of the subway station, uncles drinking chai and discussing life.

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.

-

I imagine her waves, before I enter 

like hands softly caressing the sand of the shore 

They ease their way towards my feet 

And we meet each other halfway 

"I took it at Dr. Hari Singh Sevak Senior Secondary School in Kotkapura, Punjab (school named after my Nana ji, maternal grandfather in my mom's hometown)"

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.

-

When the Motherland

Finds Home in

Your mouths,

My heart Beats

as fast

as You Speak.

I Hear

the Sun

-

PART 1