Logan asked the other teacher, "Can you believe that's his cousin?

Look at how Black she is." At that time, I wasn't able to process this on my own, as I had never been taunted because of my skin color. From that day on, I decided to give her hell, so much hell that I became a constant fixture in the principal's office.

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It was in that moment that I became closer to my people, but also began distancing myself from who I am.

It is (I want to say "was," but alas...) a pain that I've endured since that day.

At much too early of an age, I found myself assessing how I was treated versus my darker-skinned siblings; I started being consumed by how total strangers were treated at the supermarket, church or department stores; I began obsessively looking for dark-skinned people on television (wrote to Black Entertainment Television as a kid because Donnie Simpson was the only "dark-skinned" person on air, and truly thought I was responsible for Bev Smith appearing a few years later with "Our Voices"); and, lastly, I began to shun any semblance of kindness extended to me, because I just knew it was because I'm light-skinned.

I still cringe when I receive compliments about my skin or hair, and still feel very uncomfortable with anyone referring to me as handsome.

" Over and over, I find myself having to defend my answer, with me usually wanting to exclaim: "I'm not choosing to be Black you nitwit, I am Black!

" At the age of five, my family moved into public housing in Fort Pierce, Florida. In addition to the housing being a huge improvement over our previous abode, it gave us an opportunity to mingle with our extended family, who lived across the street, on a daily basis.

Look at how black she is." Those words, delivered by my third-grade teacher jolted me from the idyllic world that children should be afforded, and catapulted me into a world where the issues of racism and colorism would often consume me.

This is the story of how an attack against a "dark girl" left a light-skinned black man emotionally scarred.

That moment in the third-grade launched me into a life-time of pain.