Love It or Lighten It

Anna J. Small Roseboro

Love the skin you’re in
Be satisfied and you’ll win,
Unless your skin is black or brown
Then few folks even want you around.

“High yellow is mellow,”
Says the gawking fellow.
“And white is all right!”
“Don’t even say it”, I’ll fight.

Melanin count predicted your life.
If you’re dark, choose light for your wife.
Do so and lighten up the family tree.

Lighteners is what we were expected to be.
Those who purged the line of black
“If you’re black,” they said, “get back”.

Thankfully, we were taught to be proud.
“I’m black and I’m proud!” we’d shout out loud
Today when I hear that exact same stuff
I turn a deaf ear and walk off in a huff.


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Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems Copyright © 2021 by Anna J. Small Roseboro is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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