Mixed Girl by Aliya Cannon

Aliya Cannon- NKU Social Work Major and SGA President

A poem about the struggles of being biracial in America.

Aliya Cannon is a Senior at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) in Highland Heights, KY. She is a social work major and is president of the Student Government Association and serves on the Board of Regents at NKU. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc (ΣΓΡ).

Aliya Cannon- NKU Social Work Major and SGA President

Dear little mixed girl,

I’m sorry—I’m sorry you had the constant urge to fit in.
Weeping alone as your tears seep from the seam of your eyes,
As you were too black for the whites and not black enough for the blacks.
For forever you’ve allowed your pigmentation to define and characterize you,
To tear you down, to devour your heart, mind, and soul.
I’m sorry that no one had a sit down with you to explain how you will never fit in,
And how you should be proud to stand out,
Because society will use your complexion against you,
Calling you names, hurting your feelings, driving your mind into darkness.
And I’m sorry, I wish I could have saved you.
I wish someone would have saved you from the heartache.
But then again, how could they know?
How could they understand when they’ve only experienced half of my struggle.
Mama didn’t know either.
Mama saw me as me, her daughter, a natural beauty.
Mama doesn’t see the color through her dark brown eyes and genuine love.
Mama’s five shades darker but it doesn’t matter because I am a shade of her.
And baby girl, I’m sorry no one sees the emotional lacerations that rest underneath layers of skin.
Over time you’ll learn to cope, to manage, to deal with it as it doesn’t get easier.
A struggle reluctant to go away,
So I’m sorry little mixed girl that they say you get the best of both worlds,
But you’ve somehow found yourself stuck in between the two,
They don’t understand that it’s an endless cycle of not knowing who you are.
I pray and hope one day you become comfortable and confident in being the outcast.
You’ve become labeled, conceited and arrogant.
But behind the label—I know you are insecure and transparent.
For one last time, I’m sorry little beautiful girl.
I’m here to hear your problems and wipe your tears,
Because everyone else is blind, but I see right past your fears,
So look in the mirror and smile big and bright on the journey that’ll test your might!


The older you


  1. I could only imagine what this young lady is facing as she reaches out with words to other biracial girls and continually apologizes for who she is. This really touched me as she talks about her struggles of being biracial, it made me feel companionate toward people who may have had experienced this. I liked how she spoke of her mama and how her mama saw her for who she was, however, society had given this little girl a different view of herself.

  2. This poem melts my heart. It is hard for anyone to fit in at college, I can’t imagine feeling like society is against you too. Writing is a good way to cope with this feeling of feeling “different.” It is hard to fit in when you have this feeling and I am glad this girl had a chance to publish her story.

  3. I love reading this poem. It is heartfelt and you can imagine a little girl crying because of the things people have said to her just because of her skin color. I can tell that this author is putting her heart into this poem and these are experiences that she went through. I also love the idea of writing to your younger self because you can say all things someone would have said to you when you were younger.

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