Take a look at me.
Wonder how I got here.
No, really- wonder,
because maybe that's humanity's
Everybody thinks they're smart enough
to tell the story just by looking at its cover.
I am white. I am so white it's painful,
so pale I know the frustration
of never having found a foundation
in my color,
of having to settle,
of being too much of an inconvenience
to make a shade for.
But there is privilege in this;
there is no denying that,
and please know: I am not denying anything.
I can't. It is true.
My privilege is skin deep,
inescapable and ever evident,
but it did not get me here today.
Because no matter how white I am,
my soul has never fit in.
It must be a motley of colors.
I am so white,
yet I'm not white enough-
eating alone and wearing the wrong clothes,
unable to read music
because we couldn't afford piano lessons,
and now that we have the money for birthday parties
no one will ever come.
I am ten shades less tan
than the preferred caucasian
and they will never, ever let me forget it.
I am judged the moment someone sees my family
because suddenly, the puzzle pieces must fit-
that's why she's successful,
she's a rich white girl-
except fortunate parents doesn't automatically
mean you get everything,
doesn't mean I didn't do chores,
doesn't ever mean I got paid for A's
or that college help was guaranteed.
I had to earn it.
A's were expected, chores a duty,
I fought for my success and only then
was I promised assistance
to get through college without drowning in bills,
yet even then
I still had six figures to consider
and weeks' worth of scholarship papers
just to make it out with anything to my name.
Privilege was present,
but privilege was not the reason
I won enough scholarships
to make it through.
(It is possible for a white woman to work,
as much as I've heard that it isn't.)
My skin won't tell you that I've suffered,
quite the opposite.
My skin won't admit the times
that I pulled at it, hated it,
the days I wanted to make my pallor permanent
and the day gooseflesh trembled
beneath a blade.
It can't tell you about the tears
or the panic attacks
or the abandonment or depression or inexplicable grief
for joy I never knew,
belonging I never experienced,
and privilege that could not protect me from assault
because most of you wouldn't be listening anyway.
there are reasons for my self-loathing.
But you won't know it,
won't even realize it exists as a subplot,
if you refuse to open my book
and learn my story
because my cover is white.
You won't realize that
I am scared to let my friends meet my family.
You won't know I've lost friends after they have.
You won't know that I care,
that I'm angry too,
so furious my teeth are cracking
but I can't say a word.
I am not supposed to.
I have been scolded for it.
not to judge a book by its cover,
yet they still do,
tossing novels aside every day
because their binding is displeasing.
Maybe some of the authors before me
wrote horrible stories,
but you stand to discover an unexpected favorite
if you can give others a chance.
And you stand to find a fellow motleyed soul
by opening that shiny new book you can't trust,
don't want to trust,
and testing the waters of the first delicate page.
I was terrified to post this; my friend finally talked me into it. She said people needed to hear it, that I needed to say it. Before anyone assumes, she is not white.
Society is never going to get anywhere if we don't listen to each other.