Brown Skin
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Brown Skin

In the 3rd grade, the boy at recess said I shouldn’t wear shorts

In the 4th grade, the girls at the table said I should always wear long sleeves

My skin is dark and so is my hair

And that to them

Was a problem

It wasn’t beautiful, it was gross and weird

It was something I was taught to cover up

Taught to be afraid of my own skin

Imagine that.

In the 6th grade I was called a dot head

I’m Muslim, not Hindu

In the 7th grade I was told to go back to my country

I was born in Brooklyn, New York

The United States of America

is my country

I was judged by my skin color before I even opened my mouth

They made up in their minds that I wasn’t “American” by the time they heard my name

I was deemed as an outsider the minute I stepped into the room

People were full of questions they didn’t know how to ask

So instead they hid their curiosity behind insults and big egos

In the 10th grade things changed

People saw me as “exotic” and “foreign” because of the henna on my hands and the elaborate jewelry I wore on special occasions

In the 11th grade I was asked questions about my culture

Where I come from, what languages I can speak, what Gods I believe in

They thought I was an alien, not from the same soil as them

As if we weren’t all made with the same hearts and brains

2 eyes, one nose, 10 fingers, blood running through all our veins

See the problem not only lies in parents not telling their kids to treat everyone the same

It lies in us not telling our kids to be confident

In telling them that people aren’t allowed to pick them apart

Which leads them to believe they are in a category in which they must stay in

A category that can be also seen as racial profiling and discrimination

A category in which as a brown skinned individual

I am stuck in

A category that has yet to be broken

But if we teach our kids that confidence is key

Then we’ve taught them to be happy in their skin and to love themselves

With all that self-love they won’t have time to think they are in a category

Or allow people to pick them apart

So this is to that girl in the 3rd grade

Wear those shorts when your mom picks them out for you

Stick your tongue out at that boy and tell him you are still beautiful

Don’t let his words defeat you, don’t let them put you in a box

Show everyone in your life you are not only what is on the outside

And when they come to love you they must love all of you

For you are your culture, your values, your paisley henna designs, your sequenced shalwar,

You are your dark hair,

And you are your brown skin

You are made to sparkle

You are made to twinkle

Now it’s time

To let that brown skin shine

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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