Chocolate and Vanilla

One day many years ago when I was in class 1, I was sitting in the sandpit with my best friend and she asked me what I tasted like. I did not have the answer so she leant over and licked my face from chin to ear. I licked her face too. We were very disappointed to find out that we did not taste, me, like chocolate and, she, like vanilla. Sadly we tasted like salt and soap and sandpit – exactly the same.

I am now a lot older and have tasted and tried all different types of people and skin tones and feel that not much more can catch me off guard when it comes to humans and how we look, feel, smell and taste. I have always learned the most by being around people watching them and asking questions about things that make us different from each other.

I remember the first time I saw elongated labia. I was shown that this particular pair could be tied around a pencil and twisted into spiral shapes. It was unbelievable but I was seeing it and so it was true and I had learned something new and wonderful. I felt the same  when I saw my first bald,  black vagina, I had only seen white, bald vaginas up until that point ( by bald, I mean shaved. I just like saying bald) . My own vagina was nothing like either of these two vaginas and yet there were more similarities than differences. It taught me yet again, that we were all the same but unique in our designs and  shades.

This brings me to my topic of conversation. I was asked recently by a very good friend of mine what my clitoris looked like. After laughing for a good 30 seconds and seeing her worried face look back at me with embarrassment, I decided to take it upon myself to be the first and possibly only black woman in her life to tell her about my elusive black-person vagina and clitoris. I was honoured. Let me begin by explaining that this friend of mine is highly educated, does not have a racist bone in her body and normally is informed on many far-stretching topics. This is not a dig at her, this is a lesson for others out there like her. This is merely an opportunity for anyone who did not know about the elusive black-person vagina and clitoris to now learn.

What does your vagina look like? There is a clitoris, labia and a soft, fleshy inside,  right? Yes. Well mine, ours, the black vagina looks exactly the same. I was asked if my clitoris was the same colour as my palms or if it was the same colour as my fleshy inside part. You might now understand why I laughed so hard. My friends’ response in her defence was that she knows that the clitoris begins as an internal organ and that we are all internally fleshy and pink and that the pigment is only on the outside. I agreed with her. We are all the same on the inside. I then asked her what colour her clitoris is? She said pink, and I corrected her and said rather that  it is the colour of your skin tone. She agreed and that was the lesson completed.

My clitoris, like your clitoris, is the colour of my skin tone.

The colour of my palms and soles of my feet also came up in  our ‘ black people lesson.’ I don’t think that I would describe the colour as  white or fleshy as she or some might choose to describe them.  They are the same colour as yours, pigmentless. On a white skin it just looks less contrasted because your skin only has a little bit of pigment and so the difference between your skin and  your palms and soles of your feet does not seem as extreme as mine because of my dark skin with more pigment.

She left the conversation feeling a little more knowledgeable and I hope that I might have done the same for some of you. Even though this was a rather strange topic, it seems that it was necessary. I would like to thank my dear white girlfriend for giving me something to giggle about, a topic for conversation and the opportunity to share something sacred with her. She reminded me about how much fun it is being in the world today, being a part of the misunderstandings and confusions and preconceptions. She reminded me how powerful learning is and how important educating yourself is. She took me right back to that day in the sandpit to the moment where I wondered if I tasted like chocolate and if she tasted like vanilla.

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