I Wish I Were White

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If I were white, I could’ve been Jesus in the passion.
No, he wasn’t white, the church reluctantly admits, but
Chad, the varsity quarterback who scored
four touchdowns in one game, makes such a great Son of God!
Brittany, his cheerleader girlfriend and pastor’s daughter,
is already Mary, his mom. Why break such great chemistry
and cause strife among the elders just to make
a political point about an ethnic Jesus?

The college pastor/eHarmony matchmaker
might have tried to set me up with the girl I loved
rather than the only other brown one in the ministry.
Did he not notice how devotedly I followed her,
or was the idea of us together inconceivable?
She would’ve still said no when I asked her out,
but rejection would’ve arrived before the date rather than after
she realized the feelings I expressed to her weren’t just a joke,
and I wouldn’t have spent an entire week preparing
for a chance I never had—not even one in a million.

If I were white, it wouldn’t be so ironic
when white social justice warriors tell me to check my white privilege
because I dared disagree with them on what it means to be different.
I would be their equal rather than their damsel in distress
who congratulates them with cake for defending me against myself.
They wouldn’t call me self-hating because I dislike mariachi music
and never learned Spanish. I chose to follow the goth girl to French instead.
I’d have followed her into the crowd, but black and white clashed with me.
So did the Hispanic and Asian crowds.
I just sat on a bench and watched the goths from afar as I listened
to Morrissey on my smuggled-in Discman.

If I were white, nobody would ask me whether or not the white boy
I take the park is my son; it would never happen.
Nobody would ask me where I was from.
Nobody would respond, “I mean before California,”
when I answered.

If I were white, I could choose my own class.
I’d be the default character: a clean slate, perfectly average
with limitless potential. I would be the human,
not the elf who only works well with magics
or the dwarf who’d better be a tank if he wants to be useful.
I could be a paladin, wizard, or ranger.
I could be a dashing rogue and not just a thug.
I could even be a ninja, because some ninjas are white,
but a ninja of Hispanic or Southeast Asian origins? Inconceivable.
I could be just American. I could be the everyman,
the star of every video game and movie, the god of every religion.
I could be Jesus transfigured, shining in white.

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