Orange Chicken

Alicia Ing, Staff Writer

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Yellow, Oriental, Ching Chong, Ling Long, Chink

Far too many times have I seen confirmation in your eyes when you ask

“What kind of Asian are you?”

and I say, “I’m Chinese.”

What you don’t see is the voice I repress

the suffocating idea I want so badly to express

that it’s not all I am

Because regardless of the boxes you tell me to check

or the boxes you tell me to fit in

I can be Vietnamese without being a Nguyen.


My knowledge, my accomplishments, are overshadowed by my race

Because the only reason I’m 4.0 is the color of my face

I am not your dictionary.

I am not your calculator.

The only thing that adds up

is your inability to comprehend that I am more than what meets the eye

Even me with my tiny, slanted eyes

I can see how blind you are to who I am inside.


What you don’t see are the teardrops cascading down on my textbook

as I tell myself I’m not good enough

What you don’t see is how growing up

my favorite character was June from Little Einsteins

because she was the only one that looked like me

The only Asian I could see before I turned off the TV and saw my reflection in the screen.


When the stories society spins are rooted in stereotypes as old as archives

it renews the paint stroke of whitewash on the canvas of our lives

I have become complicit in shaming myself for my own heritage

Privilege is what I lack, because “person of color” doesn’t just mean black

In our day and age, with being a minority, I’m no novice

I know to find racism, I’ll visit the oval office.


Stripped of respect

I am a knight with no shield

no power to wield

If all I am good for is overachieving

the reason I’m extra is to level the playing field.