Saturday, March 3, 2012

On Race, Ethnicity, & Beauty; What is Your Ethnic Makeup?: Slam Poetry - Slip of the Tongue by Adriel Luis


 So, this is probably a little unorthodox and controversial for me to put this here, seeing how this is somewhat of a beauty blog.  However, I am an English major and an Education minor with a vast appreciation for the social sciences, so what the hell.  This is bloody brilliant and just so well-written and spoken, it would be a crime not to re-post it.   So!  Please take the time to listen and read this.

(I only dragged out the bit most important to me; click here to read the full version in all its glory.)

“Girl, what is your ethnic makeup?”

At this point, her glare was scorching through me,
and somehow she manages to make her brown eyes
resemble some kinda brown fire or something,
but there’s no snap or head movement,
no palm to face, click of tongue, middle finger,
roll of eyes, twist of lips, or girl power chant.
She just glares through me with these burning eyes
and her gaze grabs you by the throat.

She says, “Ethnic makeup?”
“First of all, makeup’s just an anglicized, colonized, commodified utility
that my sisters have been programmed to consume,
forcing them to cover up their natural state
in order to imitate what another sister looks like in her natural state
because people keep telling her
that the other sister’s natural state is more beautiful
than the first sister’s natural state.
At the same time,
the other sister isn’t even in her natural state,
because she’s trying to imitate yet another sister,
so in actuality, the natural state that the first sister’s trying to imitate
wasn’t even natural in the first place.”

Now I’m thinking, “Damn, this girl’s kicking knowledge!”
But, meanwhile, she keeps spitting on it like
“Fine. I’ll tell you bout my ‘ethnic makeup.’
I wear foundation,
not that powdery stuff,
I wear the foundation laid by my indigenous people.
It’s that foundation that makes it so that past being globalized,
I can still vocalize with confidence that I know where my roots are.
I wear this foundation not upon my face, but within my soul,
and I take this from my ancestors
because I’ll be damned if I’d ever let an American or European corporation
tell me what my foundation
should look like.”

I wear lipstick,
for my lips stick to the ears of men,
so they can experience in surround sound my screams of agony
with each lash of rulers, measuring tape, and scales,
as if my waistline and weight are inversely proportional to my value as a human being.
See my lips, they stick, but not together.
Rather, they flail open with flames to burn down this culture that once kept them shut.
Now, I mess with eye shadow,
but my eyes shadow over this time where you’ve gone at ends to keep me blind.
But you can’t cover my eyes, look into them.
My eyes foreshadow change.
My eyes foreshadow light.
and I’m not into hair dyeing.
but I’m here, dying, because this oppression won’t get out of my hair.
I have these highlights.
They are highlights of my past atrocities,
they form this oppression I can’t wash off.
It tangles around my mind and twists and braids me in layers,
this oppression manifests,
it’s stressing me so that even though I don’t color my hair,
in a couple of years it’ll look like I dyed it gray.

So what’s my ethnic makeup ?
I don’t have any.
Because your ethnicity isn’t something you can just make up.
And as for that crap my sisters paint on their faces, that’s not makeup, it’s make-believe.”

Does this not make you smile?

1 comment: