Words by Jaffrin Khan 

Feb. 26, 2021

Colonisation sits in my bones; 

As I’m sitting at home and they tell me, 

Unfold my legs and sit with respect,

Because being brown was all about what people saw of me.


‘Our women don’t fold over their legs’ they’d say,

When did we adopt the ideology of the royal family?


Porcelain skin born into power,

Producing prejudice,

Power brings popularity, 

And popularity bought my people. 


When my friend is asked about the lightness in her skin, 

She tells them that she’s mixed with rape,

That her grandmother was a child of rape, 

That her great grandmother produced a child from being raped 

By her slave master. 

Colonisation swims in her blood.


My skin became many things but my own;


I was asked about the brown of skin and why it didn’t blend in,

Into the pinks of my palm,

I wondered why God didn’t blend my borders,

Why was I an unfinished piece? 


I had to decide;

I am not discoloured, 

I am colourful, 

Full of colour.  


My skin would become terrorised,

By the western standards of beauty,

Telling me, what I need to be.


They had me scrubbing a little harder on my face to abolish the pigmentation,

They had me looking a little longer at the lightening products on the shop shelves, 

They had me waking up a little earlier to straighten the culture straight out of my hair.


Glowing up they’d say,


‘Don’t stay out in the sun, 

You’ll get too dark.’


And so I stay out in the sun, 


Till my diamonds form on my face,

Till my complexion glistens gold,

Till my skin bakes my ancestors back to life to have their stories retold. 


Words by Jaffrin Khan