I Am a Complex Mixture With a Rich History of Survival—birthed From the Colonizer’s War That Destroyed All Traces of Taino Origins but Not Before Raping and Enslaving Them. They Created a New Generation While Erasing All Memories of the Past but a Future Marked by Mixed Skin, Fallen From God’s Grace, and an Unknown Future.
I See My Whiteness and Blackness, Feeling the Weight of Not Knowing Where I Belong. Beholding the Variety of Black to Brown Hues Covering Me Like Fabric While Embracing My Sister, Whose Fairness Shades Her Rosy Cheeks as Her Brown Curls Hide Her Honey Eyes. Although It’s Hard for Others to Believe That We Are Family, Our Ties Go Beyond Our Genetic Makeup and Appearance.
I Am Called Negra, While Everyone Calls Her by Her Name. I Am Told That It’s a Form of Affection but is It Another Way of Telling Me Who I Am and Where My Sister Belongs in Society? As We Get Older, Nothing Has Changed in Our Love and Devotion for One Another. We Look Different, We Dress Differently, and Even Style Our Hair in Unique Styles. Yes, I Understand That We Have Tricked Your Eyes but is That What It is or Your Lack of Education?
We Consistently Inform the Untrained Eye on What is an Afro Caribbean Person and How Not to Group Us Based on the White or Dark Skin, the Texture of Our Hair, to the Complex Features That Pigeonhole Us Into a Box That People Need to Check Off for Census Purposes.
We Grew Up Hearing the Talks and Cries of Oppression Sung as Lullabies That Scared Us to the Core. We Do Not Want to Replicate the Tensions of Two Groups, Yet We Are Treated According to Our Looks. We Understand Who the World Caters to and is Very Removed From Our World. My Sister and I Now Struggle While Having Shared Dreams. I Am Her Negra, and She is My Blankita Who Came to Be by the Bonds Made From the Faithful Long Ago. Our Past and Future Are the Same; While We All Follow the Implicit Rules That Govern Humanity, We Listen to the Beats of Our United Hearts. Please Put Your Hands in Mine Because I Won’t Let Anyone Tell Us What We Are as Your Gaze Looks Up at Me. We Are Each Other’s Hope and Future.
I Am Called Negra.
Luz is a Dominican children’s book writer and proud south Bronx resident. She loves telling stories that highlight culture and language and affirm children. Her work stems from the love of helping children and families feel seen and understood by the magic of stories.
As a writer, she won the Best Animated Short Film at Bridge Fest in October 2020. In March 2021 featured on PBS’s chat and learn. ¡Pequeña Maria Descubre su baile! Little María discovers her dance! As well as partnering with Disney Storybook Art Team in helping write the “Family is Everything (Disney Encanto) picture book. Her latest project is The Secret of the Plátano, which will be available in English and Spanish on Sept 7th, 2022, and published via Soaring Kite Books, a small imprint of Lerner Publishing.
Luz Maria Mack was born in Villa Mella, Dominican Republic, and immigrated to the United States as a young child with her family. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Metropolitan College of New York and resides with her three children and husband in Bronx, New York.
2 Comments Add yours
Great piece. So relatable. I am Dominican too. Love this.💕
Thank you for your powerful writing, Luz.