“People Like Me” – Legacy Poem


Sonia Salado, Brush and Palette Outside Reporter

My skin color is like a target, automatically profiled and assessed. 

Dangerous, gang affiliated, ghetto, poor. 

My hands are criminals in the eyes of others, watched closely whenever I walk into a store. Better keep them visible. Smile, ignore, and walk away with your dignity just like you were taught. 

Schools are another story—seventy-three percent White, one percent Black, and eleven percent Hispanic. 

Click clack. 

To them, I’m a number, a percentage, a portion, a percentile, or whatever they want to call it so that they can jot it down with their pens and add to their diversity rate. 

Better flip the switch, no using slang because then your “hood, even if it’s “cool” when your other friends say it.

 A typical unsaid double standard that contributes to the other millions in society, certain citizens must abide by to survive in the upper class.  

I represent a melting pot that mocks me with its hypocrisy. 

If I educate myself, or speak up and outgrow the old fashion values my family holds on to, I am whitewashed. 

It’s like India Maria said, “ni de aqui ni de aya.” Not from here, not from there. 

I can never be White enough or Hispanic enough for anyone. 

Can someone please tell me why in the year 2022 people like me still have to prove themselves to everyone? 

To this question, I leave one final response. 

I dream that one day all the people in the world like me will know that breaking the cycles of poverty and struggle does not make you any less authentic to your culture or race.

We wish to thank Thurston Middle School student Sonia Salado and her English teacher Ms. Silver for helping Brush and Palette represent the diversity of perspectives from across our district. Please see our “Guest Contributor” link on the LBHSnews.com homepage if you are interested in sharing your gifts with the larger school community.