I can still remember the first day I discovered I was “Black.” No I wasn’t a super hero,or a princess; I wasn’t anything but a shade. Pigtails with beautiful barrettes swung from the sides of my face, bag straps firmly pulled, binders, books, and a pretty pencil case still didn’t make me the same. Everyday I was reminded that I was the brownest body in my entire grade, and that I was not enough! Everyday was a competition, from the play ground to the classroom.
Our teacher had the entire class put our hands up, as he begun,” eenie meenie miney mo” we waved our hands hoping to not be “it. ” He continued,"catch a nigger by the toe, if he--,” he gasped. He heard himself for the first time, this cultural hate symbol spewing from his lips. He excused the class, but my chair and a few others remained filled as he apologized to the “people of color.”
From eight to thirteen, I'd been called nigger so many times I thought it was my name. It was deplorable. However, nothing could beat the feeling of your crush texting, calling you every night while holding his Latina dream as he passed you in the hallway. It was then I realized how devalued I was because my accent, and attitude were too many degrees farenheight on this paper bag test.
Fourteen years later and the same remains, men that have dated me promising a lifestyle or a status somehow always return with fare skin women with longer, straighter hair, that are bilingual. The only languages I've ever known were English, Gibberish, Patois and "F--k out of my face." And those four languages didn't keep me on the island. I've debated on whether I could still be triggered by these weak comparisons while obtaining knowledge of self. But deprogramming twenty two years of "less than" takes much more than watching "The Hidden Colors" series, or removing pork from my diet.
I want to fail this paper bag test for the twenty third year, while standing arm and arm with a king who realizes that no matter the bag choice the focus is who secures it.