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Brown Skin, Not Brown Enough

White man likes the way I look
He says something on the lines of exotic-
About Jasmine entrancing the air above me
My hourglass figure, the way I walk, the way I talk
White man “Keep driving”, I say
He says my problem is that-
I am too foreign for my own body, not native enough for this land

But white girls still ask me where I’m REALLY from
He likes the way I wear my skirt
But he says I run my tongue filthy as if to spit at my ethinicty
It is half past 12 and I desperately need a ride back home
White man offers to drive
And softly, tucking my hair behind my ear, he whispers
“You do know what I want, right?”
I say, “I do not”
And suddenly
I feel like one of his white girls-
Too foreign for my own body, not native enough for this land

He leans forward, and slips his hand under my skirt saying
“My boys love Asian girls, luscious hair, tanned Kardashian skin”
And suddenly I want to set fire to every individual hair on my body
Because, fuck you.
My mother questions my culture
She asks me why I am nothing like the girls back at home
Why my hair has sadness seeping through its roots
I try to tell her
That I do not know where home is
That I am too foreign for my own body, not native enough for this land

-Nicole Ruth
Artwork via Tumblr @moosleemargh