In Delft, I took a red tram to see blue and white pottery.

 

Vermeer’s painting Girl with a Pearl Earring (and blue scarf) was on loan to the Met.

 

There was a red notice apologizing for the absence.

 

I’m not sure which passport I used to get there, blue or red.

 

I have two. My father is American. My mother is English. We are all white.

 

Some people think my hair is red.

 

I don’t think it is, but that’s because my mother’s hair is actually red.

 

Well, it used to be, before it turned white.

 

The light does not blink red when I go through customs at JFK.

 

It does blink red for the man behind me. He is not wearing blue or red or white.

 

His skin is not blue, red or white, either.

 

I don’t always carry both passports. I do always get a red stamp of entry, no questions asked.

 

There is no mention of color in the definition of “passport,” an official document entitling protection.

 

There is no mention of color in the thesaurus entry for “passport,” key, path, route, doorway.

 

There are 29 words in my thesaurus for “white.” One is milky. There are no antonyms.

 

There are 74 words in my thesaurus for “black.” One is blue. There are seven antonyms.

 

The first antonym listed is white. Then, clear, bright, joyful, cheerful, pleased, virtuous. 

 

There are no see alsos in the white entry.

 

There are two see alsos in the black entry. See also: angry. See also: wicked.   

 

In July, I saw policemen wearing black riot gear in Baton Rouge detain Iesha Evans in her black and white dress.

 

In January, I witnessed policemen wearing pink hats in DC giving directions to white protestors.

 

For most of my life, I never thought twice about being given white teethed smiles from men in blue uniforms.

 

Most days, my red heart beats steady, my blue veins pump through unscratched white skin.

 

Every color I possess makes me safe. It’s easy to think I own every color.

 

It’s easy not to think about color at all.

A Study in Red, White, Black and Blue

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