Yup, my site has the hiccoughs again. This time it's my blog. I haven't changed my settings, and yet the blog suddenly won't show. Testtesttest
Like many authors who are people of colour, I have been avoiding describing the various skin tones of people of colour with words such as "chocolate," "cocoa," "cinnamon," "sienna," "sandalwood," "teak." I'm hyper aware that those words have over the centuries been used to exoticize us, to sexualize and colonize our bodies by likening us to the consumables and commodities which fuell(ed) colonialism.
The thing is, I love our skins and our beauty. I love our varieties of shades and tones, the way sunlight glows when it touches us. I find it sensual. I find it, well, tasty. Yet when I reach for imagery to evoke that gorgeousness, I'm stymied because I don't want to replicate one of the many harms that have been done us. I find myself staring at what I'm writing, stuck because I keep rejecting the words that come to me.
I'm tired of it. Yes, those are words for commodities. Well, many of them were our commodities to start with. I'm tired of letting myself be robbed of the joy of the sensuous associations they carry. I'm reclaiming my right to revel in our skins. I'm (re)claiming the chocolate, the cinnabar, the sandalwood. The henna, the mahogany, the brown sugar. The honey, the caramel, the copper.
(The image, by the way, is of an old Barbados penny.)