Brown is the New Black

The following poem was originally published in the 2013 edition of Old Red Kimono; however, the version was slightly different. It spawned from a conversation that I had with one of my Latino friends. We were discussing the issues and struggles of being Hispanic American, and this poem is meant to reflect those struggles conveyed to me. The comments are not reflective of my opinions, but are a compilation of thoughts and statements made by others. Finally, I am not trying to make a political statement with this poem, but my intent is to raise awareness. Thanks!

Brown is the New Black

My little brown friend told me,

“Brown is the new black”;

I told him this is America,

And he should learn to pay tax.


He said that he does –

with every purchase, he pays a share.

He said he’d also pay more,

Once we stopped the immigration scare.


He claimed that his skin,

was a scarlet letter for hatred;

He said illegal gringos

don’t receive such damnation.


I told him “go back where you’re from!”

He told me to do the same….hmmm.

I told him learn to speak English,

This is America! I exclaimed.

He told me Jesus didn’t speak English either.

Oh, he was putting me to shame.


I asked how he felt, always hidin’ around –

Was it worth it? Why not give in?

Always being profiled, for the color of his skin;

I mean, he must be hard- headed,

had he not learned his lesson?

He told me, ask my grandma for the answers to my questions.


So, I did.


And, she said this,

“Baby – now, let me tell you right here, just how it is:

Now-a-days, brown’s the new black; I saw this as a kid.

And us colored folk ought’ be more compassionate than we is.

You’d have thought by now we’d learn to live and let live.

We’ve got to live together – by someway or somehow.

‘We may have all come on different ships,

But we’re on the same boat now!’”

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