How To Befriend a Brown Girl: Part 2

On things not to say:
“I wish my skin was a dark as yours.”
“I wish I could tan so easily.”
“You’re such a pretty color.”
“What are you? Like what are you mixed with? It’s so pretty.”
“I totally want to have mixed babies. They’re the cutest.”
Inhale. Exhale.
My brown skin is not a fashion statement.
It’s not a fad.
Why do you keep applying beauty only to aspects of my being
Like why is only my hair pretty
Or just my skin is pretty
Or just my lips are pretty
But I’m not just pretty?
Why am I only pretty because I’m mixed with something else?
Your willingness to procreate with a person of color does not get you invited to the barbecue
We are not accessories.
Brown babies are not accessories.
BROWN BABIES ARE NOT ACCESSORIES.
You can have brown friends, brown babies, good intentions and still be part of the problem
I can’t peel my skin from my body and change into something less brown
Something more comfortable
I can’t alter my soul and suppress my culture
I can’t shed my skin like a coat
So stop treating the color of my skin like some trend
I AM NOT A STATEMENT
I am not your ally card
I am more than your token
I am not en vogue
Loving myself isn’t avant garde
It should not be an act of war
But I will fight that battle
In hopes that one day there will be no war
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Brown Skin

Sometimes I stare at the back of my hands
At the brown skin covering my frame
And try to convince myself that
Brown is

B e a u t i f u l

But in that caramel color I see
S h a m e
A n g e r
D e s p a i r

Sometimes I stare at the back of my hands
And I am exhausted
When the weight of all I must overcome

C r a s h e s

Into my s h o u l d e r s

America was built upon the backs of ancestors I’ll never even know of
And hundreds of years later
I can’t breathe for the weight of all that I am owed