Blacksweet: Grappling with skin color in Indonesia

“You are blacksweet!” a teacher says, smiling at me. There isn’t anything denigrating in her tone of voice, but I can’t help but feel confused. It isn’t the first time someone here has said that to me. I look at my brown arms. “Apa artinya ‘blacksweet’? Kulit saya bukan warna hitam.” In rudimentary Indonesian, I…