Poet Paints Vivid Picture of What It’s Like to Grow Up Chinese — And It Hits Deep

 Poet Paints Vivid Picture of What It’s Like to Grow Up Chinese — And It Hits Deep
Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

"If you ask me if I'm fluent in Chinese, I will tell you my Chinese is a ghost lodged in my throat."

That's poet Athena Chu's metaphor for what it's like to be Chinese in America. 

"My Chinese is a racist joke I threw in the garbage, wrapped in a napkin stained with my culture and it made a sound as it hit the bottom: 'chink.'"

At the Massachusetts finals for "Louder Than A Bomb" slam poetry contest, Chu, a sophomore at Buckingham Browne & Nichols high school in Cambridge, got real during her poem "My Chinese," which illustrates the pressure to suppress heritage in a culture that either fetishizes it, appropriates it or makes fun of it — and it hit viewers deep. 

"Oh god, this hit me way too hard, every line felt like a memory of something I've said," YouTube user Ben Liow wrote. "Chills throughout."

"Absolutely amazing," user HeiLong24 wrote. "This broke me a little."

Check out 5 powerful moments from Chu's poem:

Source: Mic/YouTube
Source: Mic/YouTube
Source: Mic/YouTube

Watch the full performance below:

Source: YouTube

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Jessica Eggert

Jessica is a staff writer at Mic, covering breaking news. She is based in New York and can be reached at jessica@mic.com.

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