By: Letonia Louis Robertson, 5th Place Division 3
I was taught that beauty was only skin deep,
Taught that vanity would fade;
I learned that God was my creator,
That I was fearfully and wonderfully made.
So the comments would confuse me;
I couldn’t quite comprehend
Why people said the things they said
In reference to my skin.
I justified it from other races,
After all, I do live in the south,
But the things I heard from my own race
Right out the horse’s mouth.
“Oh! She’s a pretty little dark girl.”
I used to hear them say,
As my mom would thank them kindly
And shuffle me away.
Many years have passed since then
And my complexion remains the same.
Now it’s “you’re dark but pretty, “
Like the two don’t go hand in hand.
The comments are never ending.
Through time they continually swirl.
“You have curly hair,”
“Your hair’s so pretty,”
“For a dark little girl!”
So my butt isn’t big and my nose is kinda long,
And my hair curls up with a mind of its own
So my lips are small and I cannot sing,
And I have no rhythm in anything,
I do not dance, can’t carry a tune, and I speak English rather well,
I guess that’s why with smiles they say “go head white girl!”
I’ve been asked if I was mixed,
which makes me laugh hard from my gut.
I say I was born in the south
that alone makes me a mutt.
I say that I am Creole
Just to see that look of such surprise;
Cause all Creole’s are high yellow
In our Southern eyes.
I thought I had mastered the comments,
Labeled them as an ignorance within my race,
Until they were made to my daughter,
And I saw the confusion in her face.
To face rejection from outsiders
In southern living comes day to day;
But to face it in your own race,
That can cause you some dismay.
To be pretty is enough said,
Or even that you like my hair.
But to contrast it to my skin tone
Well that just isn’t fair.
See the ignorance is common
But still it’s quite hard to dismiss.
They compliment and insult me;
It’s like stabbing me with a kiss.
So I lift my hands in prayer
And bow my head with eyes closed,
I pray dear Lord you strengthen me
and my children as they grow.
I pray dear God you shield us
From their piercings of the heart,
That come from thoughtless comments
Which tear us all apart.
I pray my daughter finds peace
With the tone of her skin,
And never again says “I wish I was lighter”
Cause beauty comes from within.
I thank my God for wisdom, knowledge, understanding and spiritual growth,
And the ability to be comfortable in my own skin
Regardless of other folk.
God made no mistake when he made us,
Cause God can do no wrong
And no matter who rejects us
To Him we still belong!
Of ignorance I’ve been a victim,
And shamefully admit, at times have made others a prey,
Failing then to understand that the comments
Hurt others in much the same way.
So I pray for our deliverance
From the deception of our skin
And for clarity and wisdom
To judge others from within.
See beauty is not only skin deep,
And complexion cannot convey
The beauty of a person
In any given way.
Light, dark, white, brown, black or in between,
We are all God’s creations and in His likeness should be seen!