Lately, the U.S. has offered up plenty to be enraged about

Monday was the 4th of July. Independence day. In cities and towns across our country, there were ribbons, parade floats, barbecues, fireworks, and flags proudly displaying red, white, and blue.

Many of us had the day off and chose to spend it traveling (if you weren’t kicked out of a flight). Others simply grilled, cooled, and hung out with family and friends. In my case, despite the endless sunshine, there wasn’t much to put me in a party mood.

There are so many seismic developments happening simultaneously that it’s hard to keep track, but Roe’s loss to Wade feels the heaviest. Literally in my lifetime, the pendulum has swung from me and millions of other girls and women having complete autonomy over our bodies when it comes to pregnancy, to a de facto theocracy, made mostly by men long past the age of procreate and unable to bear a child.

I don’t have space to express how despicable their non-medical and overly judgmental reasons were, but even Nia and Layla disagree: “It’s sad that a woman [Justice Amy Coney Barrett] who has female children herself felt the need to ruin the lives of other women. Women fought for the right to abortion just to have it taken away,” said our youngest. Nia was also on point: “To reverse Roe against Wade is discriminatory, violent and shows this country’s lack of care for women. Men in the Supreme Court or elsewhere shouldn’t have authority over women’s bodies because they don’t have a womb, and that’s going to lead to more court decisions being overturned.

The same court that decided to let states impose women’s right to choose also ruled that states could no longer restrict the right to bear arms, even after a series of mass shootings, essentially saying that guns have more sovereignty and freedoms than women’s bodies.

History should not be denied

We saw another white shooter – accused of killing seven people and injuring dozens more during a 4th of July parade in suburban Illinois – being arrested alive by calm cops even as Jayland Walker , a 25-year-old black man in Ohio, was shot dead by police and suffered at least 60 injuries. It’s yet another reminder, well into the 21st century, of how few real freedoms non-whites seem to possess. As the late author James Baldwin so eloquently said, “To be a Negro in this country and to be comparatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost all the time”, and lately the United States have offered a lot to be. enraged.

Until the midterm elections come around and I can use this anger at the polls, I try to remember that my ancestors lived through far darker and darker times than ours. My parents survived segregation, my grandparents survived Jim Crow laws, and women today aren’t forced into the nearly voiceless existence their grandmothers endured. It reminds me of the incremental progress we enjoy: bank accounts and property in our names, the ability to work, choose our path as single or married, and run for office to implement the changes we want. see. Our children also embody a better future, if we reinforce where they are walking today.

Sometimes, however, this is not enough; so to escape, I dive into the alternative universes that novels create and let the music of my childhood positively color the world in which I live today. Only now, when I hear Donny Hathaway’s velvety croon promise, “Wait and see, one day we’ll all be free,” it takes so much more effort to believe it.

Lorrie Irby Jackson is a columnist at The Briefing. Email him at

Black progress was one step forward, two steps back

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