For Brown Daughters Who Are Not Our Own

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I am writing out of anger, fear, caution and concern for your sense of being. Right now you may be to young to understand but I’ve seen you around. I’ve seen you in the airport, I’ve seen your pictures in the media, your father, the son of my mothers brother, has shown me your picture that he keeps in his wallet and today I saw you on the train coming from a Cubs game. And I wonder, how did you end up in the care of that white woman? Did you come through her womb? Were you adopted? Or Are you the daughter of a friend? I wonder what you are thinking? I wonder if you are safe? Are you a victim of micro aggression from other white people? Are you envied by other brown people? Are you bullied at school? What do you think of your self? Do you use that white woman, whose care you are in, as a standard to measure your beauty against? 
Are you whole?

I think of you as an embodied symbolism, a message to me, to other brown women.

When did you no longer become our daughter? What does it mean that women who despised (despise) our being, who sought (seek) to destroy our spirits through unspeakable acts of horror, jealousy, projections of inferiority be able to produce what we, brown women regard as sacred? Who is to blame? Is blame even necessary? Is it because of the self hating pathology of brown men? Is it because of our own trauma and its debilitating grip on our ability to properly care for you, to value you, to love you? Or were you snatched from our care by an (culturally) ignorant social worker who is an instrument of a violent system, called (anti-brown) family services?


Does the white woman you are with affirm you in your brownness? Does she understand that white privilege is not transferable? Is she teaching you how to survive as a brown girl and eventually as a brown woman?


How can she? This is something she will never be able to do. Something she can never take from us brown women.

Do you know that your brown skin is a reflection of the divine? Regardless of how you came to be. Do you know that you are an extension of a powerful legacy; That you have a commitment to other brown people? Do you know that the brown girls you may encounter everyday are your sisters and should be regarded as such?


If applicable at all, on behalf of every brown woman, I seek your forgiveness.

It is my hope that when you experience things that only brown women can remedy, we are near. It is my hope that when your brown being is in need of shelter from this imperialist, patriarchal and white supremacist culture, we are your refuge.

…We are your refuge.



Teaching My Daughter She's Beautiful
Lesson For My Future Daughter: Lesson 1: Never Compromise Your Dreams
Missing Daddies, Angry Mamas, And A Self-Perpetuating Cycle  

Liz A. is a woman on a journey of becoming. She is a "warrior poet", an avid journal-ler and is of the tradition of women who write to remain alive. Liz is currently a social worker in training.

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