Thanks for writing this. As a Mexican-heritage U.S. citizen, I understand the complexity of how groups are labeled. There is a huge distinction between Illegal or Undocumented--for example--and I completely agree that the words and spelling we choose to embrace can reflect and/or reinfornce presumptive biases and systemic inequalities. For people saying that this essay only perpetuates racism by highlighting skin color, I disagree. I think it highlights this country's painful need to confront the racial realities that this country has profited from, exploited, and abused for centuries, and now we are seeing that it's no longer okay to simply pretend it doesn't exist. I'm all for capitalizing privilege and inequity, and as a poet and teacher myself, this essay resonated deeply and changed my mind about a word that I have always lower-cased. Excellent, intelligent, and critical piece that I will definitely be sharing the in college and high school classes I teach and asking our future leaders what they think about it. Thank you, this got me thinking deeply about the subject and how I use this word, as someone who is neither Black nor White.

Bay Area writer, blogger, teacher. Books: Piñata Theory (2020); This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album (2019). Twitter + IG: @alan_chazaro