I heard today I am whitewashed.
That was a new one for me.
But when you’ve been called as many names as I have,
it’s nice to have some originality.

“Nigger”, sadly, I hear often.
“Half Caste” is passed around too.
But to be told Im too white?
Yeah, that one was new.

He was black – just FYI –
The one who claimed I’m too white.
But I suppose that goes without saying;
No caucasian would say I’m too light.

I asked what made me whitewashed
And he pointed out my hair:
He asked “Why do you straighten it?”
I asked “Why do you care?”

He informed me that I was ‘Embarrassed’
Of being a caribbean girl
An assumption that he came to simply because
For once I hadn’t worn my natural curl.

I could only sigh as I tried to explain that
Though it might be important to him
I care far more about what’s inside
than the amount of melanin in my skin.

I am proud of my heritage,
Both the black and the white side;
But how I choose to express myself?
That is for me to decide.

– © J. E. Fitzgerald –

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