Freda Washington Imitation of Life

The girl brought in by the slave ship
Moved haltingly down the dock.
A client scans her, hip to hip,
Ogles and does gently rock.

Skin-lightening began right there,
Right in that first client’s eyes.
It encompassed both skin and hair;
They’re both part of what he buys.

The law recently was altered –
Kids now flow from the mother –
And the girl, the one he haltered,
Brought forth a lighter other.

And, so, with the girl from the dock,
Her child’s eyes the light did fil.
Then, as time wore down on the clock
The offspring were lighter still.

The offspring change and brighten out.
The girl from the dock now gone.
As such, they have much more clout,
More brightness to depend upon.

The African American
With more white than he oughta,
Most likely carries that same tan
As did the dock-girl’s daughter.

It’s passed along upon a scale
That pulls the white line tighter.
At times, it lightens up so pale,
That it could not be whiter.

Therefore, fellow Americans,
Don’t always believe your eyes.
If he’s a White American,
He just may be in disguise.

Walter White NAACP leader

Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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