In the first stanza of the poem, the poet makes a reference to her skin colour by calling it ‘light-bright’ or ‘near-white’ however she also makes a note by saying that in ‘black place’ these were merely just ‘white lies’. This refers to the fact that she would tell everyone that she was pure white in nature, despite coming from half a black background, just because her skin colour helped her pass of as white, and thus she deems these to be white lies which would not harm anyone and were said just so she would be accepted and not condemned by society because of the racism prevalent at the time. There is imagery present in the words ‘light-bright’, ‘near-white’, ‘high-yellow’, ‘red-boned’, ‘black-place’ and ‘white-lies’. Furthermore, assonance is present in words like light, bright and white.
As the poem proceeds, it becomes clear that as a young girl, the poet was afraid of her background; she did not want people to find out that her mother was black because then she would be a social reject like the other black girls and boys. This was again a proclamation made by society which was transforming young minds onto the path of contamination with regard to racism. In the next stanza, she states that the white lies she could have made could have been with respect to her place of living, her clothes as well as her skin colour. She even felt accepted and part of the cream crowd when a girl once held her hand in class and told her that including her that made three of them that were white.