Let's Talk About Black Joy
Because it exists despite the doom and gloom
A friend said to me the other day: I know people need to know about experiences of racism, but they also need to know about the positivity in the community. And she was right.
For all that Black people suffer with racism and microaggressions, after suffering from enslavement and segregation, there are many moments of joy in a Black person's life. Here are a few of those:
Sometimes it's when you catch the eye of someone who looks like you. There's a world of empathy and understanding in a simple nod. For that brief moment, you see and are seen, and it's a balm to the spirit.
Sometimes it's the triumph of achievement at school or at work, of being the person in your family to excel, knowing that means you can lift others up, just as others have paved the way for you to rise.
Sometimes it's seeing how, through the generations, your family has fought hard won victories to improve your lot. As the descendant of enslaved people, you've more than earned the right to bask in any success you gain.
Sometimes it's the unfettered exhilaration of hanging with family and friends, enjoying music, food, and company where you can be fully yourself, in a way you can't when you're out in the white majority world.
Sometimes it's knowing that the way you move in the world inspires others like you.
Sometimes it's seeing others who don't look like you join in the anti-racism fight, and the knowledge that you're not going it alone.
Sometimes it's the fleeting moments when all's right with the world, and you feel like your full self, when you put the ills behind you and focus on the happiness.
Sure, sometimes being Black can be hard, especially for those existing in minoritized spaces. But sometimes it's joyous, and those kernels of joy let us survive the difficult times.
These are just a few examples, but there are others, and we need to value those moments.
A wise woman said that in a world which tries to make Black people less than they are, experiencing and showing joy is also an act of resistance and rebellion. So let us feel that joy, then return to the fight.
As always, thanks for reading and for supporting this newsletter. I look forward to your comments.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.