White Lies Natasha Trethewey

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White Lies by Natasha Trethewey is a poem about a girl that struggle to find her identity. Identifying our self in society sometimes can be difficult, but having multiple racial backgrounds can make it twice as difficult. Trethewey was born in 1966 to a white father and a black mother in Mississippi where at the time it was illegal the interracial marriage. Therefore, we can infer she is the girl she refers to in the poem. In the poem, the author talks about her childhood and how difficult was for her growing up being half white half black. The young girl in the poem struggles with her racial identity not knowing what race she belongs to. She struggles not being accepted by the black community because of her light bright skin and not being…show more content…
It already gives a hit to the reader that there a problem coming in the poem. Then she continues with the colors “light-bright, near-white, / high-yellow, and red-boned” (3-4), all this colors are all obviously very light. These bright colors stand in the poem as tones of skin mostly light white skin or light tan skin. The last lines of the first stanza “In a black place, were just white lies ” (5-6). In a black place, she means in the almost all black community she is part of as a light bright skin girl. White lies are also called innocent lies this type of lies are lies that children mostly tell, that harm no on. In her eyes, and the sad reality of the time, acceptance in society was dependent on one’s skin color. If gaining privileges in her community meant lying about her skin color to others, then a small white lie like that couldn’t do much…show more content…
“I could easily tell the white folks/that we lived uptown” (7-8). She has the ability to hide her economic position and feign herself as an upper class white girl. Hiding her real position “not in that pink and green/ shanty-fied shotguns section/along the tracks…” (9-10). She feels embarrass living on the side of town she lives in, that sounds that is mostly a black community and is the slum area of the town. Her second lie describing how she “could act/like homemade dresses/came straight out of the window/of Maison Blanche” (11-14). The dress that maybe her mother or grandmother made for her clearly displays some fine craftsmanship, but it would only be assumed by others that it was from a luxury store if a light bright skin girl wore it. Her final lie in the second stanza “I could even/keep quiet, quiet as kept, /like the time a white girl said/ (squeezing my hand), Now/we have three of us in the class” (15-18). She retains her white identity by remaining silent in the presence of a white girl in her class. The speaker refuses to speak up when the other girl in her class assumes that she is white. She seems to have sympathy for the other girls because most of the time she feels almost alone. She has sacrificed her identity of being half black half white for a false image of herself. She has silenced her black-side and prevented it from
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