Nonexotic

I come from a different culture, that’s true

Is that why I am labeled exotic by you?

I am a regular girl, not a Disney princess

I do not transform when in ethnic attire I dress

*

Your culture is exalted, epitomized

My culture however, is exoticized

When you look for experiences new

Indulging in an ancient ritual is what ypu do

Cloaked in faux-aura of mysticism

Indigenous cultures feed romanticism

Neatly packaged for Western consumption

Age-old rituals get a stylized transformation

That fits the aesthetic Western world has in mind

A sliver of our culture gets refurbished, redesigned..

*

I cringe inwardly when my staple chai is repackaged

As chai tea latte- believe me it is not a privilege

To have a beverage steeped in cultural history

Be distorted and sold as expensive, exotic tea..

You borrow from yoga, qigong, tai chi to project

An exotic approach to fitness, I bet

The ancient wisdom of these systems of fitness

Factors in much less than the need to impress

Indulging in quaint foreign goods and customs

Makes you think that you have become

More culturally conscious, more erudite

You take what’s appealing, rest stays out of sight..

*

Our coloring, our eyes, our hair are labeled exotic when we

Do not conform to the Western standards of beauty

We are expected to take this as a compliment

After all, this indicates a favorable intent…

Though by definition “exotic” singles us out immediately

As not one of them- different from them are we…

*

I wonder why despite all the progress

There is but one standard for behavior and dress

Can “exotic” be considered simply

An equal way to live amid diversity?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s