Why My Aunt Was Hiding from the Sun

to discover to never be the Other
when the march against racial injustice
rocked streets in cities big and small
is a privilege

you find yourself between white peerd
carrying the unseen knapsack for years
you learn history painted in colours of whiteness
but the paint is so dry it flakes

we have all known the truth for centuries
hiding silently between the lines of lies
the echoes of my ancestors weeping
my body moulded by their memories

I was born into this light skin
that might have you fooled
yet I carry layers within
a history of oppression
stored in tones of brutality

how could my school ignore the coloniality of families like mine?

at age nine I would ask my mum
why my aunt was hiding from the sun
self-preservation, my mother said
the darker she became
the more shame she would feel
the less Dutch she would look
so the less Dutch she would be

mixed-race me
a mishmash of te Netherlands, Suriname and Indonesia
I fight my country’s historical amnesia
by repainting these hidden colonial complexities

the histories that have been lost
forgotten or deliberaterly overlooked
the past absent from the history books
my family being the restless fruit of such past in the present
to paint these stories in fair colours, I will continue to write
so the Other can be human like you

Dutch Crossing Journal of Low Countries Studies https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03096564.2022.2144608

To cite this article: Sacha Celine Verheij (2022): Why My Aunt Was Hiding from the Sun

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