Lisbeth Coiman: “Allyship”




Identify the hair root-cause of self-hatred
Mother washing my hair with chamomile tea
To make it blonde
But she only made me a “bachaca”
All throughout my childhood
I never understood why
A woman who despised Black people
Married the son of a Black woman
Gave him seven children
I wasn’t the darkest
Just the one with chicharrones
The kinky hair she grabbed with one hand
To slam my head against the wall
Because I was a carefree tomboy
Who didn’t/still don’t give a damn about straight hair
“Bachaca, machorra,”
She used to call me



At the hair salon
The enlightened witnesses
Show me the beauty of my hair
Celebrate the wooly texture of my unruly curls
My negritude



Recognize all forms of hate
As corrosive acid destroying our society
Religious intolerance



Refuse to laugh at jokes
About white man in white coat vs. Black man in white coat
Nor accept
negative comments about
Unsafe Black neighborhoods / women / men / children
Instead, ask “What do you mean?”
Not because I don’t know what you mean
I know exactly what you mean
Know I am not complacent
Nor participant,
Nor do I allow you to use my lighter skin as platform



Native American
African American
Marginalized American
From Patagonia to Canada
Hear the silence
Hidden in the white spaces
Between lines in the history books of the Americas



Black culture was not created for white entertainment



In the classroom
Teach tolerance.
Encourage new immigrants to preserve their culture and language
While shedding the bias and prejudices
We all carry
In our immigration baggage



Do not question
Younger generations’ right
To choose between protest and self-preservation
Place themselves between an armed police and a black man
Or pretend invisibility on their way to a supermarket



Celebrate amalgamated ethnicity
Honor the ancestors of this continent
I am not your mulata, nor your criollita
Your colonized view of my complex identity
I am a brown woman
Una morenaza bella, loca, inmigrante
I am The Other
My ears
Wide open
The call for action

What are you looking for?