Reading Jonathan Mendoza’s poem instantly caught my attention. What struck me even more was the actually video of him reading the poem he wrote. The way he delivered his poem was excellent. Jonathan is facing a problem he does not not know if he is white or brown. In his mind Jonathan is constantly at war with himself not knowing if he is white or brown. I have made 3 important points that I got from his poem. The first point is when he says “Brown boy screams hides inside white skin white skin silence”. This is a very powerful point in the poem. He explains how in the inside he is suffering/seeking for help, but all of his emotions inside hide in his white skin. It bothers Jonathan that he is neither Brown or white he is both. He gives a great example of this when he says “White boy goes to white barbecue meets white cop white cop does not know boy is biracial starts talking immigration policy”. This connects perfect with the first point that I mentioned. Not only is he confused of his color but other people are confused as well. A lot of people just like the white cop see Jonathan as an ordinary white boy, and unknowingly bring up racial topics. I have a personal experience just like this that I would like to share. A close friend of mine is mixed he is Italian and Cuban. He is dark skinned and at the time that I met him he was new at my school. He didn’t have any friends or anyone to sit with during lunch, and I just seen it in his face he did not know where he would fit in. I think that connects well with Jonathan’s story because as crazy as it sounds they both do not know what color they are. Physically there one color but mentally there 2 colors.
The second important point he mentions is when he says “White boy visits family in Mexico realizes he’s the whitest intruder since conquistadors”. In a way Jonathan does not feel comfortable around his own family. He realizes he is the only white member in his family. As a personal opinion this can damage his relationship with his family. By him feeling out of place and uncomfortable with his family can cause him to react in a negative way. Negative as in he might not want to go out to eat or spend time with his family because of the simply fact that he does not feel comfortable being around them.
The final point and the most important point of the three is when he says “Biracial boy is welcome everywhere, Biracial boy is not welcome everywhere”. He is lost, he is confused. His blood is brown but his skin is white which allows him to camouflage anywhere, but that also means he is not welcome in certain places where he should be welcomed. Camouflaging is one of the many issues Jonathan faces in his life. Fitting in the wrong crowd sounds odd but this is exactly what Jonathan does everyday. A perfect example of this is when he says “Brown boy goes to white synagogue is in the only family not invited to the dinner party”.Not only were the powerful words that he said touching, but what he was doing physically. His constant movement added an extra touch to the poem. He was constantly opening up his arms. At one point during the video you can see his veins popping out of head from all of the emotional he put into his poem. His behavior during his poem has not only showed me that he is passionate about writing, but that he worried about himself. He doesn’t have the answer to the question (Are you brown or white?)