Chocolate Face

I don’t think about my skin
Very often, although it is a colour
That has provoked a reaction in others
Both negative and at times

Patronisingly positive
Because my ethnicity might look
Like a really nice sun tan
But it isn’t a really nice sun tan.

Living in a cosmopolitan town or city
I am just another person
Of little interest
Or consequence

A far cry I suppose
From a childhood in which
I was the only brown kid in the school
And the other kids called me ‘Chocolate Face’

I don’t blame them
They were infants
And it was the eighties
When casual racism was acceptable

But to the adults who
I turned to for help
I would just say
The following advice is less than helpful
To an emotional and frightened
Five year old boy

“Call them something back”

“It could be worse – everyone likes chocolate”

“Stop telling tales”

To the kids I would, however, point out
That they got the colour wrong
I’m not the colour of chocolate
If anything I’m more the colour
Of toffee or possibly coffee

It does make me lament the state
Of the Education system
In Thatcher’s Britain
If children back then
Were unable to make
Such obvious distinctions
When it comes to colour

  10 comments for “Chocolate Face

  1. October 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Children need to be taught to love the richness of our hues! Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. October 8, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    “Patronisingly positive” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. October 8, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    I know there is a serious message in your words but I found your last stanza amusing. Pardon my reaction but I can imagine children in the playground:
    “Chocolate”
    “You do not know your colours, I am more like coffee”
    The other child walks off puzzled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 8, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      If I had my time again that is exactly how it would play out…

      Like

  4. October 9, 2015 at 3:49 am

    And by the way, how is your new job reforming the educational coming along? (They are very fortunate to have you.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 9, 2015 at 5:10 am

      The bit where I teach kids is great. The bit where I have to deal with other teachers is less great…

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm

        My husband is there with you. Or as CSLewis so aptly put is in his intro to Screwtape Letters, the door into hell has the sign hanging over it marked “ADMIN” Time for me to get ready for my foray into middle school. God bless your day.

        Like

  5. October 9, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Unfortunately not just in Britain or in Thatcher’s time. I do hope things are better now worldwide. For all kids
    Well done post.

    Like

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