Monthly Archives: September 2016

Dark

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Outrageous.

They are telling me to be less pale.

Can you believe it?

Telling a girl to change the colour of her skin

Years ago, they told me:

“Be white! The shade! Colour your eyes in black!

You must be our perfect

China doll.

We do not want a ruddy pink face.”

As though it was somehow “unflattering” to be seen with my pinkness,

As though it was insulting to own a face freckled by sunlight and burned by mirrors.

A face that had grown and changed over thousands of years of cold

And wet

And dark.

“Dark.”

Now they are telling me to be more dark.

And I look upon my Irish face and ask them “how?”

In return, they hand me tinted moisturisers,

Contouring kits,

Bronzing beads

And a handful of false hope within a spray tan.

So I begin my quest.

I moisturise,

Contour,

Bronze.

And with a resigned sigh, I spray a chemical across my body in the hope that I will be acknowledged.

And I look in the mirror that burns me.

And I see orange, followed by more orange with a dash of newfound insecurity and two new green eyes.

I look up to the sky

Ask whatever gods

“Why do they want me to be this way?”

In return they send me a gun and it dawns.

 

I think back to those years ago,

Imagine being told:

“Be white! The shade! Colour your eyes in black!

You must be our perfect

China doll.”

And looking in the mirror

Only to see a dark face.

I imagine being told for decades and centuries:

“Be white! The shade! Colour your eyes in black!

You must be white!”

I imagine being pushed into a box,

And pushed away for an “unacceptable” colour,

All the while being told:

“Be white! The shade! Colour yourself white!

You must be white!”

 

And I finally imagine

Staring down the barrel of a gun.

Being questioned by a man with a

Ruddy pink face.

Being asked what I am doing

Why am I acting so suspicious?

I imagine telling them

 

I am not white

And I am doing my weekly shopping.

 

 

I am not white

And I am driving.

 

I am not white

And I am a child with a toy.

 

I am not white and for that reason, in the corrupted blind eyes of your justice I must be punished.

 

I look once more into the mirror that burns me.

Behind my fake orange.

With my hands I scrape it from my face and feel a different burning.

Shame.

I am so sorry for what my skin has done.

I am so sorry for the pain that white has caused.

I am so, incredibly sorry that while people die, I complain about my colour and act as though I am the one that has been inflicted by the greatest injustice.

 

I wish to start again.

 

So please,

Be unapologetically black,

Be unapologetically Hispanic,

Unapologetically middle eastern,

Unapologetically Asian,

Unapologetically indegineous.

And I will bashfully try,

To be apologetically white.

 

 

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