do the sorrow songs sing true

The one who taught me best; me and my mother, 1980.

“Through all the sorrow of the Sorrow Songs there breathes a hope—a faith in the ultimate justice of things. The minor cadences of despair change often to triumph and calm confidence. Sometimes it is faith in life, sometimes a faith in death, sometimes assurance of boundless justice in some fair world beyond. But whichever it is, the meaning is always clear: that sometime, somewhere, men will judge men by their souls and not by their skins. Is such a hope justified? Do the Sorrow Songs sing true?” —W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folks: Chapter XIV. The Song of Sorrows

I had intended to write this post on inconsequential musings of my life; my little world here in the mountains.  But events beyond the keep of home have arrested me and left me thinking the inconsequential should be written for another time.

I have known racism. If you are person of color, you have known racism. Being spat at as a child for having a white mother. Being called the n-word at the neighbhorhood playground as an adolescent.  Being told I wasn’t Black enough in college. Being refused as a potential tenant for an apartment by a white landlord because of my skin color. I have known racism.

You feel it to the core when confronted with racist acts. Anger. Deep anguish. An emotional aching so visceral your body shakes. But I have not personally known the violence of hate in the way I have seen in the news this week.

Today I’m going to close out the world’s events and shield my young daughters from the violence.  There will be a day when they too are confronted with these images. A day when they question why their Mama is darker skinned than they are—if it matters, why it matters. A day when a friend might ask them, “Is that your mommy?”, and all that implies. But today won’t be that day. Today I’m going to be selfish and retreat to my family. Snuggle, read stories, make s’mores, laugh at dad jokes.

Me and my daughters, 2016.

Yes, I know I am the fortunate one.  I have a husband and daughters to come home to. My heart aches from the images I have seen. I am eager for change. I am disheartened at how much has not changed but I am hopeful for my daughters. Because I am certain we can drive out hate by nurturing our own and showing them that acts of compassion and benevolence are the ways out of ignorance.

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