You're So Dark: A Recollection of a Colorist Household

Literature Default
a poem by Julianne Tenorio

dear asian youth,


when i reminisce about my childhood

old film photographs

grainy video recordings

i should be able to look upon my memories

with nostalgia, fondness, happiness

like looking through a snowglobe where

time stands still


yet, when i think back to the days where i’d play outside with my friends from noon till dawn

i can only remember my mother and father saying, “you’re so dark.”

“you need to stop going out in the sun, or you’ll be black!”


“keep your skin fair, so people will think you’re beautiful and not dirty


i wondered for years why my mother slathered sunscreen onto my golden skin

even though i had already applied some minutes before


i pondered for years why my parents snickered when i came home with skin tarnished by the sun


now, i realize it was because of the rays that tickled my melanocytes

had triggered the oh-so-terrible melanin that dirtied my skin


it was only recently that i found the words to describe what this was

this irrational fear of the dark


colorism


i grew up in a colorist household

but i’ve learned that it’s quite meaningless to be scared of such things

go out and bask in the warm embrace of the sun

appreciate the hue your skin radiates – black, tan, fair or light

you are not tarnished

you are sunkissed.


- Julianne T.


Cover Photo Source: https://www.vogue.com/article/makeup-skin-care-post-fenty-beauty-inclusivity