Brown Sugar

The melanin in my skin
Says which rank I’m in
Too dark for the fair boy
Whose parents wants a fair toy
Too dark for the definition of pretty
I must be fair not just witty

Chocolate, Mocha, soya bean, black
Shades of brown from my front to my back
They are scrutinized and graded less
In the social scale which I must confess
Makes no sense

I’m brown, so I’m the curry girl
I must wear seashells not pearls
I should try this bleaching cream
Just hold my breath and don’t scream
It will sting and it will burn
But it’s all for the fair skin that I desperately yearn

The melanin in my skin
Is all natural but not acceptable
So I must try the unnatural and the unnecessary
The dangerous and fallacious
Ding, ding, it’s now my turn
To be the color of milk that is churned

Cannot stay out too long in the sun
I don’t want to look like a toasted bun
I must fight melanin and I must squash it down
And I will be vanilla and not chocolate brown

But what if I I am cool with my complexion?
Rise against the code of color specification
Crash, burn, break and churn
Forsake the voices the clatter and chatter

I am brown. all shades of mahagony
I am brown, stained by coffee
I am brown and I stand proud
Of the melanin in my skin

For God made me this way
It’s encoded in my DNA
I rise above the murky waters
I’m the brown princess. I’m his brown daughter

-Roshanthi John-

This piece was written by a friend of mine from Sri Lanka as a response to hearing about skin discrimination.

I thought it was pretty cool. The poem, I mean, not the discrimination.

I definitely have had some pretty nasty words thrown at me but I also have had people say some pretty smashing things about my skin colour (I’m looking at you, man who calls me Brown Sugar)

Sure, it bothered me when I was younger that there were some people who made me feel like I was less prettier because I’m darker, but, I don’t know, it doesn’t matter to me now. My security about my skin comes from knowing through and through I am fearfully and wonderfully made, loved just as I am.

It sucks that there are people who don’t know how to appreciate human colour diversity, but hey, forgive and move on with the people who do.

Thinking of: Reply 1988, DCON 2017 and Church Camp in 3 days!

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