Imprints on our skin, fresh in our blood:
Straighten your hair, they slurred, as they staggered past. Straighten for you means whiten, Europeanise. Force my tight, nappy curls between the hot iron clasps of your European beauty standards; making myself acceptable for your viewing.
Her hair’s grey but she’s black, they laughed. Your white privilege reaches beyond the scope of society as I cannot show my individuality as a black woman;
because I am,
a black woman:
black and a woman.
The melanin pigment in my skin causes you to sneer at the colour of my afro hair but embrace it against white skin, in straight hair.
Is that your real hair? Not racially intended, but racially interpreted. If my skin were white or my background mixed, no questions asked, but you cannot fathom the idea, that a strong black woman can grow her own hair whilst growing, building and moulding herself.
These slurs attack the racial heritage within me, and the blinded body choose to interrogate my individuality and violate my existence. These same slurs mark my skin, the way the iron branded my ancestors, the way my motherland represents me, and my mother tongue speaks to me.
Your words attack me, they brand me, they imprint on me.