It is just.
That word. Black.
Black souls, my experience.
Black minds, my experience.
Black voids, my experience.
Black limits, my experience.
I am not Black.
That you should attempt to put me in that color scheme now
When before you turned your back
Laughed at my pale skin purpling beneath your vile brown fists
“Suggested” in insincere tones how nice I would look after a visit to the tanning booth
Tugged, pulled, destroyed my braids in taunted accusations of vanity, of self righteousness, of pride
Beautiful, luscious, endearing, accepting.
I am not black.
That you would suggest I identify as something you prefer to categorize me as now
When before I was a non entity in your world. Putting your mother and your father’s words into violent display
Looking down your smug, ugly, wide eyed faces into mine with cruel and evil contempt
Before I even was old enough to fully understand the scope of what I really am
There you were.
“You, whitey. You Light Bright. You half colored. You, honky. You, high yalla. You mulatto. You wanna be white.”
Never did I have a name.
My hair was too brown too long. My music like my language like my soul
Like my rhythm, like my skin color-white.
Always white. Always ‘think you betta than me’ always
judged, always sought always hurt. Always rejected from the simplest of pleasures.
But quick, oh God how quick, you were, you all were, to grasp upon my willing or unwilling as it made no difference to ANY of you
my flesh, feel my flesh, take my flesh, force my flesh, tear my flesh.
The skin deemed ‘too white’ to play double dutch in the school yard has ever been revered
as your fingers make it purple from
brown angry fists of rage,
from dark chocolate fingers of passion,
from light brown palms of sensual punishment.
This flesh you reject because you were never taught better, this flesh, so pale and milky beneath
my tan, this flesh always teased about and hated upon. This flesh. This sweet, light, succulent flesh
is what your eager fingers would explore and play at your leisure before
When faced with others more deeply complected than I.
Like your souls.
Like your educations.
Like your ignorance.
Like your hate.
I. AM. NOT. BLACK.
Neither am I white.
Unlike you, they have never asked.
My black sisters.
My black brothers.
I am not your definition of me, your photo of me, your expectations of me. I am not theirs either.
When asked to identify with race, when demanded to prove my color as if my color were something beyond
what resides on my body and instead interlaces deeper to the core of me where all other people are just red.
My white mother my black and Indian mother, my Islander father, my brown father. All well spoken, all bold, all proud, all dedicated, all loving, all ME.
You say, “It don’t matter what you call yourself, whitey only sees nigga.”
I say, “It doesn’t matter what you call yourself. If you call me a race instead of my name all I see is NIGGER.”
Not MY NIGGA.
I don’t own slaves, you see.
I don’t hate skin colors, you see.
I don’t judge who you are by your speech, your choice of music, the names you give your children, where you were raised, by your bank account or the name scrawled across your ass.
It is typical. Stereotypical. Pathetically typical. That you are threatened and angry at my defiance
of your categories of my parent’s defiance of your rules. It is unjust to attempt to force me to bend to your life and your story.
I am not black.
MaryAnn is a computer technician and freelance writer hailing from Philadelphia. She enjoys reading, her children and living the best life she possibly can.