I am not American

I am not American

I am not American.

Don’t be fooled by my passport. Don’t be swayed by my birth certificate.

These papers are political and politics is made by people.

I am not American. 

My language is the evidence. I speak the tongue of a land I’ve never been to, of shores I’ve never seen.

Do the French speak Chinese? Do the Portuguese know Russian?

What most would find a frivolous discussion is my reality.

I am not American. 

Why else would my countrymen make up words to punctuate my difference?

Nehgra. Nigger. Negro. Nigga. African American. I’ve never been any of that.

I’ve only ever been Cameroonian and Congolese. Togolese and Ivorian. Ghanaian and Beninese. Malien and Senegalese. Even a slice of Scandinavian.

The DNA does not lie.

My countrymen either lied about who I am or told the truth about what they thought of me. 

I am not American.

I have fought and died for this country as property. I have fought and died for this country with second-class status. 

I have represented this country in competition at the highest levels from Olympic races to the Presidential one.

Through my efforts I have emerged victorious for this country. It still hasn’t been enough to guarantee my equality.

Peeking into a prison proves it.

Checking a college campus confirms my claim. 

Viewing a boardroom makes it plain.

I am not American. Yet an American I remain.