Diana Nguyen – “Chapters of America”


My father stares as I’m reading
my world politics textbook, an air of admiration. [speaking in Vietnamese]
“English is good.” There’s a ticking bomb that forms
at the back of my throat. I can’t carry a fluent conversation
with the very people that look like me, yet his smile is the widest
when I speak to him in a tongue he can only comprehend half of. I want to say…
[speaking in Vietnamese] “It’s bigger than this.” Chapter one. Whiteness’s soulmate is purity. Keep us captive in these cages,
cut our throats open so that we may remain cooked in order to see
if they like the taste of my culture. Chapter two. Make us go to their mass
each Sunday morning. Equality to them is seeing you
on your knees worshiping them like they’re your god. It’s why Jesus is not Asian, nor a woman,
nor black, nor brown; he is white. Chapter three. My father speaks
with the tongue of Vietnam. See, the American flag
has been dragging his mouth around. He has no time to fix his accent. Chapter five. Equality to them
is like spitting the word in my face while simultaneously choking the air
out of me until my eyes widen, my hair dyed blond, my mouth’s silent, my mind, nothing but an empty nest for them to empower me in a room
full of them with the word “diversity.” See, I don’t just speak
two written languages, I speak two cultures that never seem to quite fit
right on my feet, and I am tired of trying to wear shoes that seem too big or too small, balancing between two countries that always seem to crack
if I walk too far off because they’ll never be mine anyways. And my father, he’s still staring at me
with those, with those gazing eyes. The silence makes me realize
he’s more proud of me for being closer to them
than him and I will ever be, but, Father, all I have is the skin
that you’ve protected me with. It’s these eyes
that you’ve provided for me, it’s this blood coursing through my veins,
keeping me alive. [speaking in Vietnamese] “Can’t you see? It’s bigger than this.” He’s still staring, distaste clicking on his tongue. [speaking in Vietnamese] “Child, just speak English.” (applause)

7 thoughts on “Diana Nguyen – “Chapters of America”

  1. YES PREACH! uts so sad that these are true๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–คbeutiful

  2. Please I can't be the first one who immediately thought of the show Bojack Horseman

  3. straight facts… all America does is 'white-wash' other countries and cultures, c'mon do better.

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