Colours, Shades

By Siya Gwaan

after Desiriee Dellagiacomo 

Black girl says she doesn’t get it
Black girl tried to bleach her skin
Said she wanted to be sweet
Said its not called “black sugar”

White girl says doesn’t want to be told how to look
Says she doesn’t want to get thinner
Said she doesn’t want long hair
White girl loves black boy
But can’t just love black boy
White girl gotta explain and apologise
White girl gets praise for looking like black girl without the commitment

Black girl wonders why everyone loves everything about black girl except the black
So black girl bleached skin
Black girl wants to look more like her friend,
The pretty one with skin like caramel and her hair done all the time

Black boy says he doesn’t want a woman dark like his mother
Black man cuts that out of him real quick
Black boy says he isn’t scared
Says he doesn’t want to live his life in fear
He is not cattle before slaughter
He is not meat

Yellow girl wonders what her life would be like if her parents weren’t fueled by masters degrees
Yellow girl wonders how a race can be sexualized
People ask yellow girls and boys many questions
Which they answer, a lot sweeter than they probably should

Black, brown, yellow, red, white boys and girls all say,
“What’s up, my nigga?”
Black boy says he doesn’t mind
Black girl minds but doesn’t say
Black girl always minds but doesn’t say
Doesn’t want to be that girl
That too loud, black power
That “Slavery actually wasn’t that long ago” girl
That “No I’m not angry, I’m smiling for Christ's sake” girl

Brown boy wants to be left alone
Said he never thought terrorist jokes were that funny
I mean, they are funny


And brown boys laughs

All the time

Doesn’t want to seem offended
Brown boy can take a joke

Red boys and girls know why they’re called red
Want to remind people that once all their ancestors felt sick and saw red and bled red because of white
But red boy is too far north for anyone to hear him
And red girl is all alone in the south
And a colourless person leans over and whispers in her ear, 

“out of sight, out of mind.”