white fever

Crumpled on the floor in the
valleys between pillows,
giggles in the air like the string
lights above our heads,
We dream about the boys in movies,
so unlike the boys we know.

My high school was majority minority.
48% Asian. 24% Hispanic.
The boys we know are
dark-haired, olive-toned.
Curved wire glasses on stubby noses
Round faces, round and around

The boys in movies are
defined and refined
A sharp jaw, a sloped nose.
The American dream:
a white picket fence
and a white boyfriend.
A Barbie dream house,
Ken not sold separately.
The boys in movies are beautiful.
They are white.
Maybe there’s no difference.

We think hapa babies are cute,
but we never stop to ask
If hapa means half, which half are we praising?
Is a baby worth more if it doesn’t look Asian?
And we never stop to wonder why
Two halves Asian is too much
And maybe
it’s because we know
that in America, to be Asian is to be exotic, and
exotic is only good when it’s a costume
shed and left on the bedroom floor.

That’s the best thing an Asian girl can be in this world—
a beautiful fetishized fool.

Maybe we want more for our mixed daughters
We hope for smooth Asian skin
(but pale, like a white person)
We hope for smooth Asian hair
(but light, like a white person)
We hope they look a little like us
(but enough not, like a white person)
(so she can pass as a white person)
(so she can be a white person)
So she can sail smooth through
a racial minefield that
never gave us the same privilege

See, wanting mixed babies is
wanting white privilege.
But what kind of mother doesn’t want
to give her child everything?


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