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Jul 2018
there are two dimensions
to this living.
One is the surface,
the ethereal,
the light to the dark.
The shadow to the skin:
The depth of pigment.
But then, there is the deeper sin
the battering within.
The judgment of blackness
based on skin.
It has hounded us,
through our history,
from House to field.
from basketball court
to court house.
From boardroom
to dorm room
to class room
to living room.
Granny used to say,
ooh girl you've got good hair.
Nice and wavy,
like your grandpappy's.
Used to say,
see you're the pretty one.
Running her fingertips
along our cheeks,
mired in awe
of our caramel complexion.
while like tar,
it stuck to the minds
of our classmates,
With jealousy
they said light-skinned,
not black enough,
not us enough.
not us enough.
when one day in class,
the teacher had asked,
"what do mommy and daddy do?"
Works for the state.
we piped up proudly,
"my mommy and daddy have college degrees,
one creates houses
the other works in network security"
all the while,
our classmates had laughed,
made fun of us,
"so, that's why you don't talk black"
Two smart ******,
bred a smart *****.
And so the story of us,
had morphed
from the days of Angela Davis,
to this new form of self-hatred.
the valley between us
suffered a cataclysm
and became a canyon.
Continued to grow,
our skin a stain,
and as actors we had to train,
mellowing our dialect
just to make it seem as if we had intellect,
cause we all know a succesful black man,
has two distinct voices,
and not through his own choices,
it is bred from necessity.
can't sit in front of white man
and talk like pickaninny.
got so comfortable out of our own skin,
that we felt we were the ones
digging out the edges of the canyon.
So far thrown from blackness
that maybe this is how they separate us,
make us hate ourselves
and love they wealth.
make us hate our hair
and love they locks.
Cause like superheroes
we switch from day out
to day in.
Being dark, light or caramel complexioned
we stay hounded by
how close we get to whitening.
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