I know you feel the need
To lecture everyone in the room
On what you know
I know that because you’re a cool-enough-to-school-others, blonde and blue heroic hipster,
You probably know my heritage a lot better than I do
If being an Armenian was tight enough.
And I could care less about those ironic Anarchist patches
Sewed onto your comfortable racist skin
But learn how to stop teaching others about their bodies
And shut the fuck up and listen
When Women of Color struggle to speak up in spaces you are entitled to.
It was cute, you know, the way you
Fucked up my last name to make it
Somehow echo as easily as yours.
Pilavdjian Mujukian. Say it Right, Jan.
But it wasn’t alright when you called me white, after I said I am not.
Silence. Formally insisting your skin has lived in mine for longer than the hour we met,
Rage. Reducing me to a clear shot like policing identities was your occupation and right,
Ego infiltrated its slickness into my space, spit at
my mother’s wild tongue from my lips, and split the Middle East from my hips
Like your answer was the absolute value of my correctness
because white American men always know what they say.
But what you meant to say was you only think about race
when you can outsmart it, if it’s convenient enough, sexy enough,
That my body is not mine but an apology for you to undermine and
dismiss as you wish like the dialogues you twist towards your own direction.
As if being Armenian is just another word for you to white out
to erase the problems from the name
This is a problem
Because being an ethnic error is not a platform for your
Controversial, quasi-intellectual Marxist-macho bullshit
Because bitches in positions of power
Cannot make fun of the powerless at their own expense
My body is mine.
My body is mine.
My body is mine.
But I didn’t couldn’t any of this. I believed you.
I just wanted to fit in.
But If I loved who I am then I would’ve told you to
Kiss My Oversized Not-optional Armenian ass.
I heard it tastes like a real version of the
Hummus you sell at some vegan restaurant
And it’s fuzzier than that unique Oriental rug
beneath your hardcore punk bands guitars.
Maybe I’m not brown enough so it’s easier for you to define me as a little less than white.
like assimilation would make you more comfortable
Maybe my English makes more sense than my mother’s or I don’t purposely look homeless.
Maybe I don’t veil my haircut that screams unladylike dyke or your mother never taught you any manners.
Maybe Kim Kardashian’s ass is so massive
You can see an atlas on it from the atmosphere
And just because you’ve never heard of where we come from doesn’t mean your imagined geographies are correct.
First, point your fucking finger to Armenia.
Did you think it was next to Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Blueberria?
Did you think Turkey was in Europe?
Did you fail to realize that before some denied genocide in 1915,
Our native land stretched to Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan and the Syrian
Desert where One and a Half Million bones still sleep
She is the Cradle of Civilization, a country in shadows but her people of the sun
Did you think that your Western Ideas of race apply to the rest of the world, or that North Africans and Palestinians are Caucasian? South Asians are yellow? And since Hispanic is not a race, do you think they are white, that discrimination against immigration does not exist?
But I don’t blame you for our invisibility or for not knowing this.
The U.S. government still denies the Armenian
Genocide because they have a military base for
Terrorism in Turkey and my history or heritage
Was never taught in your language.
But let’s stroll through my hood, Glendale, the town of Brown Down.
I know that shit would make you uncomfortable.
Where everyone is My Friend, rocking fresh
off the boat gold chains, reeking of hookah,
Cologne, Zankou Chicken and Cigarettes
Or as my neighbors call us
illiterate ignorant immigrants and when
they don’t say it they think it.
Because low-key I think you really stupid if you can’t spot
An Armo in a crowd of white folks.
But the deepest difference is you were born
to be anybody you wanted, as loud as you wanted
Your voice is more valuable than a country,
Where its women speak in traditions of
silence in kitchens and children, threatened by their
men who think the whiter the BMW the lighter their skin.
We don’t have friends. We have family that stuck to
us with our ancestors blood and we never tell
anyone else how hard our country is crumbling.
I am an outsider. Too queer to be Armenian
but humble enough to appreciate it,
Hungry for company because I never
learned of Queer or Feminists or any sort
of Radical Armenians after years of
Googling them. Instead I found solidarity
in other communities that struggle to be heard,
You have never struggled to sing
And I don’t care if you’re a
Also an Environmentalist straight-edge vegan,
Tattooed like a coloring book
God-hating radical Anarchist
You’re not a fucking minority if you chose to be.
So don’t laugh at my face
For not knowing the words you know
Without knowing that English
Is not my first language
Don’t laugh at my hairy ass
or that I’ve gotten my mustache
lasered twenty times and
I still can grow a more badass beard than yours.
Don’t think I am free to love
without knowing strangers have
tried to marry me for citizenship status
Don’t make fun of my family
for the way we run shit
Without knowing my sick sixty year old single mother
Works in a sweatshop
Because Immigrants are natural born radicals
We never rebelled against our parents
But the land we were never welcomed in
To dream and to die
By this country for a better life
And pray to never forget
Where our seeds were born
But you’re right. I am totally white.
I just needed you to tell me I am wrong.