Light-Skinned

I only like light-skinned girls, he says. 

You only like light-skinned girls? I repeat. 

He smiles with all of his teeth, as if flattery had flocked from his tongue and found its way to land on

my ethnic ears. 

He echoes, Yes I only like light-skinned girls. 

Light-skinned, I laugh. 

Thats right, he replies. 

What an interesting first thing to say, I thought. 

To imply that someones most valuable traits dont penetrate beneath his eyes, 

rather stops on the surface of their epidermis. 

Never reaching the realism of ones rootsnever touching the tips of ones truths 

never heeding to the harmony of ones heart, disregarding everything we were taught to not forget: 

the detriment of judgment, 

of anyoneof each other of our lighter or darker-skinned kin, of our own Mother. 

I delved into a flashback of the time my little sister was 5 and she said she wished she had skin the

shade of mine because 

its beautiful  my heart dropped. 

Then thoughts started to ripple as memories rang bells and chimes about the times I would have been

branded  

and confined to the inside with my body at the beck of one called master, 

meanwhile my ebony-skinned fathers spine would have been plastered with stripes of blood  

beneath the blue night of sky, seeing a mirage of stars, being scarred and stripped of dignity, 

whipped into shape with no ounce of pity while new ships ashore are bound to gather up another round

 

I flash back to the now. 

No more do we scream aloud Im black and Im proud because the colorism of light vs. dark is plowed  

deep in the fields of our minds. 

The stereotypes, the stems of self-hate, the feelings of second-rate, 

the social conditioning that led us to isolate ourselves from ourselves. 

And this is why. 

This is why we see ones skin as less or better than the rest. 

This is why the hue of ones flesh 

or the texture of ones hair 

or the swell of ones chest 

or the size of ones derriere 

is ever evident, yet evidently lacking any prevalence. 

Still, here we are quick to call someone racist while we simultaneously deny the dark of our own faces. 

An enlightened discovery indeed,  

I suppose the shade of ones outer shell exposes everything you need to know 

or maybe, just maybe, it reveals how you truly feel about yourself. 

But Ive passed your brown paper bag test, 

Im sure your ancestors would be proud.