07 August 2008

[Poetry] The History of This Mixed Blood

People ask if I’m mixed because my skin complexion is light
What does that mean?
Is the shade of my skin determined by my complexion?
Fully black people aren’t light?
Our society makes lighter complexion a gift.

Being light-skinned is not a gift
In slavery days, it meant living in the Big House
People say that it’s better than picking cotton
They assume that this is a compliment
Light skin does not grant me a “Get Out of Slavery Free” card
And it does not make me less affected

I would have lived in the Big House
But I was not exempt from being a nigger
I would have been a house nigger instead of a field nigger

Life in the Big House goes as follows:
Hearing my mother get raped every night by Master
Multiple times—every night
Playing the role of Master’s youngest sex slave
Multiple times—every night
Getting whipped by Master’s wife
;for her shortcomings
Multiple times—daily
Pushing out five to ten bi-racial babies
Almost every nine months—until I am infertile

Having to watch my mixed children get sold into slavery based on their complexion
Having to pretend to be illiterate to avoid getting whipped

Even after slavery, we still have that slave mentality
Niggers became niggas
Ignorance became our bliss
Light was better than dark—as if day were better than night
Dark became jigga-boo
Light became wanna-be

Watch us bleed
Watch our blood leak to the white ground
Our blood is red
The same blood buried under cotton plantations
The same blood buried under slavery soil
The same blood washed away from white bed sheets
The same blood washed away from torturing whips

Watch every ounce of breath seep out our limp bodies
Watch us struggle for just one more sip of life
Our air is the same
The same air taken from us when we were hung from nooses
The same air taken from us when we were choked by Jim Crow
The same air we used to whisper failed secret escape plans in the depths of the night
The same air we used to whisper “I love you” to our dead loved ones

My ancestors came in every shade of black
My ancestors picked cotton
My ancestors were raped and tortured

Sacrificing blood, seat, and tears to create this bi-racial child of rape that your ignorance downgrades to a skin tone

**written November 11, 2007
Words & Sounds,
P. Nicole

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