A Man from Choiseul (To the beautiful woman, who could never see this in herself)
You love because you despise the skin you are in, believing that it marks you as an inferior being. Every morning and night, you prayed to ask God for him (your creole lover) to love you. One can interpret this as a perverse desire because you asked God to make him love you when you did not love yourself. You invested your salvation and self-worth in him loving you. You define yourself as being ugly. Craving ‘the beautiful’, you believe that it is there you will acquire your self-esteem and worth; believing that in swallowing this poison that this would get you closer to heaven. You symbolically invest so much in one of lighter complexion to desire you.
You hoped that you would gain his affection, but all you acquired was his afflictions: disdain and indifference for you and the multitude of other women.
You fed him, catered to all his wimps and vanity. You imbued him with sanctity seeing your salvation as residing in his reciprocity.
Alas, the same way you desired him so did a legion of other women, this pathetic vain man elevated to a status beyond reason, playing treason with your hearts: the Roué decreed. At his whim, they all postulated themselves. Why, because you invested so much of your hopes and desires in the colour of his skin: he being a light skin creole man.
My grandmother did the same. Her ultimate act of benevolence was for her daughters to marry a fair skin creole man. In this respect, she detested my sisters and me. My grandfather forced my mother to marry a dark-skinned man. He went against my grandmother’s wishes which were for her daughters to marry a light-skinned creole. Her own perceived ‘misfortune drove her wishes for her daughters’, she possessed a dark complexion, despite her father being a white Irish man.
My grandfather, the Cad, also played the game. He was also a fair skin creole. I guess my grandmother saw him purely through this prism. Using this perverse asset, he created a cultus built on broken hearts; this cultural conditioning of accentuating the value of a lighter skin complexion afflicted many women. As witnessed by the many spouses, my grandfather spored. He acquired a legion of female followers, all postulating themselves at his altar. He too was a Roué leaving his scent around every tree. He fathered children like the late summer mangoes fallen on the ground after a storm. Like the other men in his family, they acquired quite a reputation for fathering children with multitudes of women. Here again, the dark-skinned women fought each other for his affliction. He saw his daughters as restricting his cravings for adulation. Acquiescing to my grandmother badgering he agreed for their two daughters be sent to England. In London, they lived in one room; however, it inhibited my grandfather’s cravings for ablution: the desire for him to be worshipped and glorified.
The desire and veneration of lighter complexion is, in my opinion, an obtuse perverse paradox, especially if one considers light skin creoles’ historical conception. During the time of physical and mental slavery in the Caribbean, the procreation of mixed-race children came from acts of violence and depravity. Yet, strangely, many black women desired to be with the white man or those of lighter skin complexions. Maybe, they perceived this as a way of loosening the shackles. This desire was most pronounced amongst the creole women. I guess this was a means to maximise theirs and their children chances of survival, for those of lighter skin tone were better able to progress up the social ladder. For example, they were most likely to acquire employment, as housemaids, working in the master’s house.
One could speculate that the eroticisation of the female creole by the white colonialists fostered this rationale. The white colonialists classified the female creoles as a seductress.
I once met a creole academic who belittled my efforts to examine Colourism in the Caribbean. She had founded her career on exploring the eroticism of the female creole. It appears the main thing she critiqued against was being exploited by her. Her colleague chastised me, questioning my abilities and intellectual prowess to question the creoles’ privileged status. How dare I examine their privileged position in the Caribbean. Caught up in the vice between two different groups (the Black Africans and the White Europeans), they doubtless were the victims. It is an argument that has also been forwarded by the poet laureate Derek Walcott.