Double Standards

When I was 9, that’s when other little Black girls
Started to tell me that I had good hair
And asking me if I had white in my blood.

When I was 11, that’s when I wished 
I was darker, so I could prove that I was 
Black enough.
I envied my grandmother’s Little Rock smooth skin.

When I was 13, I threw a birthday party
My crush came. He was dark-skinned,
And my best friend’s brother.

When I was 15, I lost my virginity
To the same young man
And I grew to love his melanin

When I was 17, I found my high
School sweetheart, he was
Light-skinned like me
So I knew my heart wouldn’t break

When I was 19, he broke
My heart, and I knew that I 
Was wrong.

Now, I am 21
And my perceived notions
Of Blackness have fallen apart

My relationships were a
mirror of the way
I saw Blackness and,

I was fooled into thinking 
That the Black man
Dark in hue, would hurt me

And while it was true,
They did,
It was also not true,
There were many who never would.

Like slavery would have it,
Dark was bad, light was better
But in the end we were all property.

When Trayvon passed,
I felt something.
Then it was Mike

And then it was Eric
And then it was Freddy.
And Tamir, and then I lost count

And finally it hit closest
When I saw myself in Sandy
And I knew that she no longer

I realized that the way
I loved the Black men in my life
And the way I picked them
Did not matter, good or bad

Or the way that I loved 
Myself, or my sisters
Brown in hue
Just like me,

Also did not matter.

Because this love used to be 
A reflection
Of society.

Of difference,
When there is none.

And apparently,
Those thoughts
Can kill.

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