The hope embodied in our new Black justice

I’m watching the president standing there next to the soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice and I’m overwhelmed with anger. I hate this moment. I hate that he gets to stand there and pull this legacy bullshit. I hate that he’s trying to get us all to forget how much he did for Clarence Thomas and his vote for Scalia that no one talks about. I think of Citizens United and other 5-4 votes that fucked up this country made possible by those two specific pieces of shit. I’m thinking of all those white liberals who can’t wait to point to the soon-to-be justice and claim we’re post-racial again. I hate this moment.

But then my anger fades.

I notice something.  

There’s a glint in her eye, just a little one. If you look close enough at just the right angle you can see it. The untrained could easily dismiss it as just a regular glimmer. But to those of us in the know, it’s more. We’ve seen it before, a kind of gathering. It’s an amassing. All the light that birthed her, the 400 years of sparkle as the new genesis for those who come after. The shining in the eyes of all the little dark skin girls with natural and protective hairstyles will be no less than that of this woman from this moment on.

And if you can see that glint, then you can listen close with just the right kind of ear and detect a sound. It’s the tone of a bell that can’t be unwrung, reverberating the same note inaudible to so many, yet sung in the fields and churches, played on acoustic guitars and upright pianos, given out by boomboxes and headphones, danced to on dirt and grass and concrete for so very much longer than humans have been documenting the auditory.

And if you are able to witness that glint and you can detect that sound, then you will feel a chill. Not the kind that asks for a blanket or a fire—not the kind from which you require protection, but the kind that protects you. The kind that manifests when the entirety of your senses have no other means by which to understand something beyond joy.

And then you’ll smile. It won’t be the public one. It will be the one normally reserved for private moments, the soul baring one. It’ll be the be the uncontainable one, the irrepressible one. The inevitable one on the other side of what seemed to be endless trials of insurmountable obstacles. The irresistible one playing at the corner of her glinting eye in that moment. And even though the present is grueling and the future looks bleak, I know how brutal our history is and that glint and that tone and that chill and that smile have survived it all. And so irrespective of buffoonish leadership, failures of directorates and vicious social structures, I cannot help but look at all that is Ketanji Brown Jackson and feel like we gonna be alright.

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