I love seeing the work of many black authors get attention, but equally saddened that black is often perceived as a limited, one-sided perspective. Many of us go looking for the black experience, and it is about time we did. But what is found is the human experience, made more honest by the wisdom of a pain we white people can never fully understand. These voices have the nuance and compassion that is carved from having to reconcile the worst parts of our humanity. That lens of pain yields a wisdom on things like love and parenthood and justice that we – all of us – desperately need.
These voices move me this week.
1. Intimations by Zadie Smith, written and published in the wake of COVID-19 and the impact of losing George Floyd. A powerful juxtaposition of what insidious virus most plagues us, and ponders what America we really want to be.
2. Myrlie Evers on the Mississippi flag removal, and what it was to love and be loved by Medgar Evers. Love is powerful indeed.
3. Breathe by Imani Perry. This is strong motherhood. No sugar coating. No romanticizing. This is real and gritty and intellectual and philosophical.
4. A grateful remembrance of John Lewis by Barack Obama.
5. And the inspiring last words of John Lewis himself, a man whose strength and bravery were stunningly anchored in love. May we honor his legacy and continue the progress he relentlessly sought.