Aru Lee: Dark Skin

Aru Lee Guest Blogs for Stirred Poetry

Dark Skin

You know, when I was younger about 6 or 7 I used to think black people were darker because they stayed in the sun too long. And then I was informed, or misinformed more like it, that it was because we were carrying on the work indebted to society for our ancestors sins…

This made me hate my skin colour more.

Before I was even born my skin colour placed my ranking in society as the pavement that you walk on. Though tread carefully, as its the very pavement that has helped support your infrastructure, in which we are the foundation. Architecturally you cannot build a house without a foundation.

Now.. you see in my eyes dark skin people are the foundation of our society,

That without us there would be no house to build.

On that pavement you so carelessly walk on.

Modernisation built with the sweat from our dark skin,

Yet in the 19th and 20th Century where adverts in France were created to show you that you could literally wash away your blackness.


What does it mean to be black?

Associated with the words ugly, impure, primitive.

Because apparently the darker you are the more African you are and in some case, the less educated.

Just looking at me, you know my history.

I don’t even need to speak and you know my story.

That I am a descendant of a culture where we used to be identified by our traditions , and languages.

And now you identify me by the colour of my skin.

Like a black dot on a white piece of paper

I have never been more aware of my existence.

My own presence scares me, to know that in myself I am my own achievement.

Stood right here as a foundation to my own success.

In the words of the late Malcom X- Who taught you to hate yourself?

Through centuries of slave trade, and colonisation, through western consumer culture, through global visual media. I am reminded of the disadvantages of being black. That my dark skin is too dark for your modelling bill boards. But that when i do get to model, i am seen as an exquisite, exotic piece. in which i could not possibly possess the characteristics of beauty. that I should be put on a pedestal to exhibit my unnatural features.

It’s like.. to be black some where along the lines you cant see past the word pretty. That in order for me to progress onto the next level of beauty I need to be light skinned and have European features. Thus creating a culturally destructive system of shadism

What defines beauty?

Who defines beauty?… because of the colour of my skin?

Who sets my status in society?… because of the colour of my skin?

My psychological well-being will not be dependant on your ignorance.

Because to wash away my blackness is to wash away your historyAru Lee

Aru Lee

See their tumblr blog here

My thoughts documented..
I’m a queer POC that documents life through spoken word. I have an open mind and feel there needs to be more visibility amongst LGBTQ POC.. Though before my sexuality and gender, comes my race. Our voice is our strength.


The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Feminist thinking, Guest Poet

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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