I’m constantly having to give people geography and history lessons on how my grandmother’s hometown is 65 percent Afro-Puerto Rican, on how the majority of slaves were dropped off in the Caribbean and Latin America, on how just because our Black comes with bomba and mofongo doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. And it seems I’m always defending the parts of me that I’ve inherited from my mother: the roots that come from this country, the facts that Aunt Sarah tells me about our people in the Raleigh area, the little sayings she slips into her emails that I know come from her mother, and her mother’s mother, and her mother’s mother’s mother, to the first African mother who touched foot on this here land. The same wisdom I whisper to Babygirl every now and then, a reminder of where, and who, we are from.
This stuff is complicated. But it’s like I’m some long-division problem folks keep wanting to parcel into pieces, and they don’t hear me when I say: I don’t reduce, homies. The whole of me is Black. The whole of me is whole.
— Elizabeth Acevedo, With the Fire on High