It’s hard being educated in a family that’s not.
I’ve flipped the script:
brown and successful whereas the whites in my family
not so much,
so it’s hard talking about race.
It’s hard to say
“A disproportionate amount of African Americans are poor,
but it’s hard to say disproportionate without explanation,
African American instead of the n-word,
poor without home,
prison without Uncle Tony,
drop out without white.
“That’s just media,” my uncle says,
pushing his Sizzler salad bar tray away from him.
“Blacks are well off.”
I say, “No, that’s statistics.”
“Explain Oprah, then.”
Rather than talk about luck and entertainment
about exceptions and the dying American dream,
I try to explain Oprah in terms he uses with me
and his half-Mexican kids.
I say, “But she’s not really black, is she?”
but I mean to say economics changes color.
He says, “If you put it that way, I suppose she’s not.
Are you gonna pay for my steak and shrimp or what?”